Pantone spring 2013 colors Big initial MNo one is entirely sure who decides this stuff, but the Pantone company has announced the new colors for spring, and I thought you’d like to see them. Pantone specializes in systems for standardizing colors and color names, which enable everyone from designers to manufacturers to retailers to customers to be sure they are talking about the same color when they talk about, for example, emerald green.

Pantone-color-of-the-year-2013-emerald Emerald is, in fact, the “color of the year” for 2013, a decision made by the same team of anonymous arbiters that decides on the colors for spring and fall. These 10 people meet in an all-white room in an unnamed European capital twice a year to look at colors and decide what they like best for the coming season(s).

Now, I think the emerald in the photo above looks like emerald green, but I don’t really think the color swatch does. Ditto some of the colors in the top image, taken from the Pantone site. Oh well, just think of me as your faithful reporter. Mine is not to reason why….

Applying Suede Dye

We just received this question in response to our blog on dying suede:

QUESTION: Thank you for this information! I am really excited to dye my light gray suede boots and see how they turn out! I only wanted to ask, is there a special brush you recommend for dying good quality suede boots? I am a bit afraid that it would come out blotchy. –Margaret

Angelus_suede_dyeANSWER: The Angelus suede dye we recommend comes with a little woolen dauber in the small bottle. If you buy a larger bottle (which I recommend — suede really sucks up dye), you can order the daubers separately.

These work better than a brush in my experience because they hold lots of dye. Also, your dye job will look blotchy after one coat, maybe even after two (depending on how dark you are going to dye your light gray boots). But after the third coat, your boots should dry looking nice and even.

Once the suede dye dries, you brush up the nap on the suede with a soft brush — nail brush or toothbrush will do — and you’ll be amazed at how great the suede looks.

Paint That Won’t Stick

QUESTION: Do you know of any way to get a solid coat of Lumiere to stick better to shoe leather? in particular, I’m hoping for a way that will keep the paint from breaking apart and peeling at the shoe’s crease points.

I’ve done a couple of pairs of oxfords in solid gold and solid silver, and they looked fantastic at first, but then the crease points started peeling after a couple hours of wear. Do you think it would help to heat-set it?  Maybe with a hair dryer or something? Ronnie


Sponged dansko clog -006

These clogs were so old, the leather had gotten really dry, and when I painted them, the paint cracked across the toe!

ANSWER: Lumiere usually sticks to leather just fine, even at the crease points, but there are a few things that could be causing your problem..


  • Not prepping the leather sufficiently beforehand by rubbing with either alcohol (for leather) or 100% acetone (for manmade leather).
  • Painting on very old, dry leather.
  • Painting on very, very soft leather, like the kind used for kid gloves. I think this kind of leather is just too pliable for the paint to stick really well.
  • Not letting the paint cure for 3 days before wearing the shoes. This is the amount of time the manufacturer recommends, though I sometimes ignore that myself.

That said, the manufacturer does say that if you are using Lumiere on fabric, it should be heat set, so that might help. A hot hair dryer would work — for fabric they say to dry press for 30 seconds at whatever temperature the fabric needs, so the paint CAN handle high temperatures, such as you’d use to press linen. I have done this myself, paint-side up, and no harm comes to the iron. Obviously you can’t use an iron on your shoes, I’m just saying you won’t wreck the paint by getting it hot.

Before you start repairing your paint job, lightly sand down the cracked paint, and wipe away the paint dust with rubbing alcohol before you reapply the paint.

Let me know if anything I have mentioned might have caused the problem, and I want to hear how your “repairs” turn out.  The more we can teach each other what works and what doesn’t, the more fabulous shoes we will create!

Tips on Doing Cowboy Boots

 QUESTION: I just stumbled upon your blog on painting Western boots, “Go West Young Woman.”  I am intrigued, to say the least!  I am going to attempt this myself, but before I do I wanted to ask you if you had any tips or recommendations on the actual painting?  Such as, did you use painters tape to create crisp lines, or did you paint freehand?

I can’t thank you enough for sharing this idea!  My boot collection is about to become very colorful. Yay! Lisa

Before and after cowboy bootsANSWER: You are going to have so much fun painting your boots! I did my boots freehand, though it might be good to use painter’s tape to mask off the sole at least. (My colleague Destiny masks off lots of areas before painting so it’s really a matter of taste.)

My own strategy was to paint from light to dark. In other words, I applied the lightest color of paint first and didn’t worry about staying exactly within the stitching lines of the boot. This is because as you apply successively darker colors of paint, they will cover any “mistakes” made with the lighter color of paint.

Depending on the original color of your boots and the colors and brand of paint you choose, you will need two to three coats of paint. I did my boots in front of my computer playing DVDs of old TV shows, and the time passed fairly quickly.

There’s a little more information in our book about painting cowboy. Good luck — feel free to send me before-and-after photos for our blog!

 Good News

The next issue of Altered Couture will feature three pairs of our shoes, and the issue after that will include three more pairs and a handbag. Destiny and I are definitely on a roll!

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