In my perennial frugalista state, my motto is "make do and refashion." As a good citizen, it's been long-established as my duty not to throw something away as soon as the novelty wears off but to try to see an avenue of refashioning - a sort of reincarnation, if you like - of the garment, shoe or accessory in question. However, couple that attitude with the imperative voice inside me, which says: "I came, I coveted, I copied it" and you have a bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe, all of which I see with a sentimental, almost motherly sense of attachment that outright forbids me from letting go... and I still want more! Well, naturally. Would I be writing this blog if I didn't?
Moving onto the point of this entry, this time around it was the ardent crimson, rich velvet and fiery black snakeskin of Topshop's Arson Flame ankle boots. For these criminally seductive boots in their original retail form, the damage is £95. Mine? About £14. As ever, it's a question of using your frugal means as your inspiration rather than your limitation... Rather like Salvatore Ferragamo did when he designed these fabulous kid leather wedges:
The year? Around 1944 - when war was upon us and leather was one among many things that was rationed to the hilt. The solution - go easy on straps and go hard (or go home) on statement sculptural soles of cork. Well, obviously. Shoe trivia over, let us cut to the chase...
You will needPointed ankle boots (Mine cost £3 from a charity shop) I'd recommend something firm and normal shaped - chelsea boots are ideal as those are easy to cover
0.3m of crimson velvet (mine cost about £4.80 from John Lewis)
About half a square metre of black patent faux snakeskin (cut from a £6 handbag I picked up in a charity shop)
Craft Mount (Meet your new crafting best friend if you haven't already)
Metallic gel pen
Patternmaster or graded setsquare
Total CostAbout £14 for the raw materials (if you're lucky with charity shops)
TimeAbout 4-5 hours.
How it's done
Pin your pattern paper to your shoes to determine what your velvet pattern pieces need to look like in order to cover your shoes. I like to do it one side at a time but you may want to make a 3rd piece for the front if your boots are awkwardly shaped or you want to closely copy the front panel on the original.
Before cutting, use your gel pen and patternmaster/ graded setsquare to trace out your pieces with a 1cm seam allowance, except along the bottom edges or side edges if there's a zip you have to work around (like there was on mine) so you might want to make a not of them when you're tracing. Cut them out. N.B. Don't worry, we're not sewing, the seam allowance is just to ensure that there's total coverage with a little overlapping.
Craft mount your velvet to your shoes. Spray your craft mount generously onto the wrong side of your velvet. What I absolutely love about craft mount is that you can reposition it if you need to - before it dries, obviously - so you don't have to get your placement absolutely perfect first time. You might find yourself needing to cut away some excess fabric with your seam allowance, just make sure you don't cut away too much!
It's time to create some flame shapes with your black faux snakeskin! Place your pattern paper over your toes, like before, only rather than tracing all the way around the edges, just trace along the bottom and cut that out. Fold your paper in half along the centre and, referring to the original, trace out your flame design. Repeat this process with the backs of the heels. My pattern pieces looked like this:
Trace your heel and toe pattern pieces twice onto your faux snakeskin using your gel pen and cut them out. I found that scissors were best for the edges but my scalpel was better for the cut out detailing.
Stick your faux snakeskin in place.
Cut out four tiny symmetrical slivers or faux snakeskin and cover them with gold foil using your craft mount. Stick them in place.