18 May 2014

How to Make A Custom Sized Shoe Pattern: Part 2

This tutorial is part two on how to make a custom fit shoe pattern. For part one, click HERE. For this next part, we are going to measure the front of your foot. This is to account for the fact that toes have depth as well as width and length. The problem I have had in the past is not accounting for the depth and having a painful "breaking in" process while my toes are pinched before the fabric has the opportunity to break in and stretch to accommodate this. I think this area is called the "toe box." To account for this in your pattern, make a few lines on both you pattern and your foot as seen below. You can place your foot over the sole tracing to make sure the marks are in the same spot.

Now, using the string, measure the distance from the center tick line to the pinky toe edge of your foot, making sure to allow the string to curve around the end of your toes.

Copy this mark onto the pattern.

Repeat for all 5 marks along the toe line. The end result will look something like this:
Now draw an approximate line connecting these marks. If one is further out than another, use the further out one to make sure there is plenty of room for your toes!

Next, draw a line that is tangential to the back of your heel, and perpendicular to the lines extended back.

Measure your heel like shown below:

Mark the spot starting from the outside of the pattern to the inside on both sides, there should be a small gap in the middle.

Now the basic piece is complete. If you want, you can add a simple circle/oval freehand from each of these marks around the ankle mark/area to make a pattern that should completely cover your foot. This would not result in a wearable shoe exactly, but will make an excellent base pattern for altering to make other styles of shoes. To make a simple ballet flat style, you can follow the final instructions I will post tomorrow.

16 May 2014

How to Make A Custom Sized Shoe Pattern

Yes, I am still looking for a good way to make the proper sized shoe for the proper sized foot! Here is a technique I tried that seemed to work out well so far (about half way through the first pair using this pattern).

For this tutorial, you will need:

  • heavy cardboard*
  • razor blade to cut out pattern
  • marker or pen
  • pencil
  • string that does not stretch
*you can really use cardstock or paper for a less durable pattern, I went all out and opted for the heavy stuff!

The first thing you will want to do is to trace your foot out onto the cardboard. Make it the size you will want for the soles of your shoes. For mine, the last few pairs have been awkwardly wide around the arch of my foot so I allowed my tracing to go under my foot arch somewhat. I also made sure there was plenty of room for my toes. I hate when shoes pinch my toes! They look a little goofy.Once you get it how you like it, you can cut it out.

Trace this pattern on another part of the cardboard, leaving several extra inches on all sides. Draw a line through the center of the sole like in the picture below.

Then draw a corresponding line down your foot using a washable marker.

Next, draw a couple of fairly even lines along the line you have just made on your sole pattern, like this: 

Then, using the string as your guide,make tick marks along the string at the marks you just made.

Transfer these to your foot.

Then, holding the string across your foot in the other direction, line it up with one of the tick marks you made on your foot. Mark on the string the center line, and where the string hits the ground on both sides.
Transfer this mark to the corresponding tick mark. You will notice that the marks are slightly out to the sides of the original sole pattern. This is to account for the curve of the foot on top!

 Using this technique, make a line for each tick mark. Once this is done you can start to see the approximate sides of the pattern.

I think I will stop for now and continue with a part 2 tomorrow. Good luck, and happy shoemaking!

Important!!: This pattern does not allow for seam allowance! Make sure to allow at least 1/4 inches when you cut out your fabric etc.

13 May 2014

How to Draw a Garden Gnome

Hey! Its gardening season! Here is how you can draw a fairly easy, and pretty darn cute garden gnome! Cut out, glue to a popsicle stick, and put into a potted plant!

Note: Please do the first 19 steps with a pencil, and try not to draw too hard, because on step 21, you will be erasing all your pencil marks!

For this tutorial, you will need: 

  • pencil
  • black pen
  • eraser
  • colored markers to make pretty!

Good luck! Show me any pictures you make, and ask me any questions you may have, I want your garden decoration to be super awesome!!! (lady gnome next week!)


Good luck!!

07 May 2014

Basic Shoe Making Termiology

Here's a quick list of words I am using to make shoes. Basic terminology, I'll try not to make anything too technical!

Uppers: The top portion of the shoe
  • Vamp: The part covering the bridge of your foot
  • Quarters: The part that goes around the heel and the inside and outside of your foot. 

Liner: The interior fabric of the upper, often made out of the same material as the insole

Sole: The bottom portion of the shoe
  • Outsole: refers specifically to the stuff touching the ground, can be rubber or leather etc.
  • Insole: the part of the sole touching your foot.

Right sides together: This is actually a sewing term, I'm not sure if it is used in shoemaking or not. It means that the sides of the fabric that you want to be seen at the end of the project are facing each other, probably to be flipped to the outside after sewing the pieces together.

Whip Stitch: Another sewing term, meaning a stitch that goes around the outside of the seam and goes through the fabric on the same side each time

Top Stitch: A straight stitch that is sewn on the top outside of the fabric, for decorative purposes and to add structural integrity

06 May 2014

How to Draw a Chicken

Hope everyone's week is going well! I myself have had a pretty terrible one! Transitions are always hard, but they are the worst when friends move away and leave for good. You know they will always be your friends, but things will forever be different.

I have lived most of my life with friends coming and going, probably moreso than most, but it never really gets easier. Certainly not for the introvert who is shy and has a hard time  connecting with people quickly.

But life will go on, and things will get better. They always do. And it is helpful to know that the ones leaving go on to chase their dreams and go on grand adventures.

How about a chicken tutorial to lighten the mood? I think this one is confused about all the forgotten Easter eggs!

03 May 2014

5 Crazy Things You can Grow Inside your Apartment

I've got 5 crazy things you can grow with minimal effort and cost inside your own house!

1. Green Onions

How would you like to buy green onions once or twice a year? Keep those ends from the grocery store!  As long as there is an inch or 2 from the roots, place them in water and they'll grow for several months after you buy them. Add a little soil after the roots start growing, and they'll last even longer! (more info)

2. Kale

Didn't make it all the way through your kale in one sitting? Keep the leftovers! Ideally you ate the big leaves and left the babies in the middle. Simply place the end in some dirt and it will continue to grow. Ours is probably about 3 months old. Imagine that!

3. Pineapple! 

Keep the top leafy part of your pineapple. Peel off a few of the lowest leaves where the edible part of the pineapple started to creat a good solid stump for a base and place it in some dirt. If you are careful to water it once a week or so (when the soil at top is dry) you can keep it for over a year like ours! (more info)

4. Moss Terrarium


You can use an old fish tank, a gigantic pickle jar, or, if you're real fancy, an expensive looking glass terrarium from the store (they have them at Target, Hobby Lobby, and Earl May).

Lay down some stones (like the leftover ones from the fish tank) and then a little dirt or peat moss, and add any moss you find on your next hike through the woods. I suggest getting several different kinds if you can. You can also add larger stones for the moss to grow on, or a fun loving plastic dino to mix things up!

 I also added a stray weed from my compost bin (tomato?). Make sure to cover the top and you'll almost never have to water! (more info)

5. Red Wriggler Worms

Yup, I said worms. Super duper efficient composting worms. These little guys like to work in packs, so they are perfectly content to stay inside a large rubbermaid under the sink until you are ready to feed them some fresh fruit and veggie parts. If you take care of them and keep them from getting too damp, no one but you will never even know they are there! I bought mine from THIS website and it was so worth it! They even have some good tutorials on how to get started.

yup, you're also looking at an apple core, egg shells, newspaper, and pumpkin seeds

So there you go! 5 easy things to add excitement to apartment life!

01 May 2014

Blue Lace Ballet Flats: Finishing

Ach! I have let this month get away from me! With two weekend visits home, and my schedule including about 3 nights a week of closing, all my usual times for blogging have been lost! Anyhow, I was able to finish my blue ballet flats, and now I finally have a chance to finish the directions for anyone else stuck halfway through their super cute new shoes!

The first thing we are going to do is to fix those fit issues! We will fix gaping, if any, at the heel. With the shoe on your foot, make sure the heel is square in the back of the shoe. To help with this, place some pins temporarily around the toe of the shoe.

(Remember, your pattern should just have the lace pinned in at this point. Once we fix the heel, for can top stitch it down. But you will just have to rip it out again if you do it earlier like I did.)

Next, grab the back of the heel and pin down so it is snug, but not tight, against the heel. Pin and mark where the pins are. Then you can take out the pins to the toe and the heel, and flip up so that it is inside out. Pin, and then stitch along this line, as seen below. Then you can flip back to the pretty sides, and place on your foot, checking if it needs to be taken in/let out.

Now sew that lace down!

When you flip the shoe inside out, the lace will still look all awkward and too big at this point. Trim this, leaving a small amount of seam allowance, maybe 1/8-1/4 inch.

We can then stitch the remaining lace down using a whip stitch. Be careful when doing this to only go through the lace and the upper lining, not the blue upper, so that the stitches do not appear on the outside of the shoe. Tie a knot to secure.

Next, we will fix the toe box shape. The pattern was basically symmetrical on both sides, which it GREAT, except that my big toe is determined to be the longest toe, which meant that he needs a bit more room than the rest of the little guys. Since I made a size up from my normal shoe size, I had plenty of room to work with! Make with your heel is square in the back of the shoe, and simple pin around where you want the actual end to be. The picture below will help explain what I mean! Stitch along this line and then try the shoe on again, checking if it needs to be taken in or out. The shoe should be snug, but not tight.

Next, we will get out our old trusty contact cement to finish her off! First glue the seams to the bottom of the insole.

Once that is dry, apply a thick layer of contact cement to both your soling material, and to the insole section of the shoe.Once the glue is tacky, carefully align the heel and toe portions together, and gently place the pieces together. If it is not aligned PERFECTLY, take them apart, and reapply. If the glue gets too dry and is no longer sticky enough, you can reapply and wait for it to get sticky again. When th two are aligned, reach inside the shoe and smooth out any wrinkles in the insole material. After everything is aligned properly and smoothed out, take about 10-15 minutes pressing the shoe together in various spots to ensure that the glue is staying stuck down.

Note: I used THIS STUFF for the soles on these shoes. cut them out to the size indicated for the insole lining section of the pattern. We can trim off any extra later, so be generous rather than super when you cut them out. (Like an 1/8 inch or so, nothing too extreme is necessary)

Now, for the hard part, waiting for the shoes to dry for you to wear them! Ideally, 3 days will make sure the shoes are really set up and dry, but after 24 hours you can take them out on short trips to try them out, as long as it isn't super wet out :)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, please leave any questions you have in the comments below! I appreciate any feedback and would like to help you with all your shoe making questions!

 Happy shoemaking!

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