Tuesday 26 January 2010

Your Loyal and Faithful Serpent

Fashion takes a walk on the Wylde side…

Image: net-a-porter

Christmas is coming, some geese are getting fat - even if noone’s wallet is - and the festive rituals are in full swing. To be fair, they have been for a month, already, so nothing hot off the press there, as such. In my opinion, it’s a mixed blessing. The freezing outside weather conditions add to the sense of coziness indoors and, with my home town being in the heart of historic England, the atmospheric darkness turns the scenery into an otherworldly fairyland bathed in incandescent flecks of light. I don’t mind that it’s the festival of mindless consumerism, for most of us, or that it entails weeks of trawling the manic shops to buy people things they don’t need (That said, for a real Nightmare Before Christmas, beyond anything Jack Skellington and pals could have dreamt up, look no further than the bedlam of Oxford Street!) However, when it comes to Christmas music - I’m talking music of the post-modern, non-religious persuasion, here - I remain of the bah humbug school of thought. Completely.

I have to say, this nation’s a funny lot when it comes to odd yearly traditions. “Awww, it’s so Christmassy…” they coo over the same novelty Christmas records, that were far from bearable to begin with, played year in and year out, ” it really gets you in the festive mood!” I’m still congratulating myself on getting this far and being able to avoid hearing Slade’s “Merry Christmas” so far this year, and all the other trite and embarrassing songs of the season (”Fairytale of New York” excepted) I mean, every time I’ve had to hear these bouts of jangling noise pollution, and the equally naff justification thereof, I’m moved to ask, “well, what about getting up and coming home from school/uni/work in pitch darkness and plying yourself with vitamin C lest you come down with virulent influenza - is that festive and Christmassy, too?” A silly question, some may think. Well, I tend to keep an open mind before writing any question off as such, with the possible exception of “what’s the national religion of Antarctica?” Egyptian writer, Naguib Mahfouz even said “you can tell whether a man is clever by his answers, you can tell whether a man is wise by his questions”…so there!

I was always one to laugh in the face of conformity, when it came to things I didn’t see the point of. I’m going to take a similar angle of self-indulgence for this entry. My blog has, thus far, been predominantly mainstream and trend-led , but rather than covering what’s hot right now, I chose to copy something just ’cause I love it, and, I would say that it’s quite the perfect gift, but, be warned, there’s a serious risk of it turning out so fabulous, you’ll want to keep it for yourself! Hanging onto all that remains of the tough chic trend of this past year, I give you…. Thomas Wylde’s serpent boots - a Chic Cheat tribute:

Image: net-a-porter



Ummmm… hard to gauge, this one, because, it’s all basically straightforward apart from putting the zip in, which comes fairly easily to me, but may be hard for the inexperienced.


The beadwork, itself, took about 10 hours per boot, and you’d need a couple of extra hours to put the zips in, and the buckles if you want to.

Total Cost

About £42 without the buckles - still, not bad for knee-highs and…

Save It!

…it’s for less than a sixtieth (!) of the price tag for the originals, which will set you back £2,460!

You will need

Knee-high black boots. Primark do a pair I’d recommend for £18.60 (prod. no 7005616)

750 gold 5mm ovular beads (Item ref 80-518-01 Cat ref. 114N)
200 oxidised silver 5mm beads (item ref 80-517-04 Cat ref. 114M)
Both from The Bead Shop, 21A Tower Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9NS, tel: 02072400931 , order online from www.beadworks.co.uk tel: 02085533240 - TOTAL SHOULD COME TO £17.22

About 40 silver 2mm beads, which should set you back £1-£1.50

2 black zips, 30cm in length, priced £2.19 from Athena Crafts, http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Athena-Crafts ,      0871 288 5779

Computer with printer

Sewing machine with zipper foot and leather needle (available at all good haberdashers)

Contact/ all purpose adhesive



Metallic gel pen


Needle and black thread

Black kilt straps (optional)

Make-up removal wipes (believe it or not!)

Let’s Rock!

If your boots are too wide, you may want to pin them together at the back so that they fit more tightly. Mark the points out with your gel pen.

Slash your boots down the back with your scalpel, down to about 11cm from the heel (and no further down, unless you fancy breaking your sewing machine by trying to sew over the hard spine of the boot!)

Cut a diagonal line 1cm long from either side of the line, so that you can fold the leather back on itself where your demarcations from your gel pen are.

Pin it in place and pin the zip to it. Glue the zip in place at the bottom and sew in the rest of the zip with the zip open.

Remove pins. If your zip is too long and you need to cut it, make sure you bend it, fold it over and glue it in place at the top of your boots.

Print out 2 copies of the shape, above, so that it covers the length of an A4 - or, you can sketch out your own design, if you like. Cut out the serpent shapes with your scalpel and pin them to the front of your boots about 2cm from the top.

Draw around them with your gel pen. Take the paper stencils off.

Stitch your silver beads sparingly in a dotted line around the edge of the snake’s head. Then stitch on your gold beads in a dotted line around the outside and in “scale” patterns like the ones on the original. You might want to print out an image of the TW boots to get some inspiration and authenticity.

Sew your oxidised silver beads on, dot them around sparingly so that they don’t clash with the gold and so as to give the boots a quirky, individual twist.

Finally, if you want to add your kilt straps, pin them so that the buckle crosses the zip, 11cm down from and parallel to the top of the boots. Sew in place with a regular sewing machine foot.

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