Otherwise known as my handmade sandals that aren’t terribly comfortable…yet, but they will be, and they are tailor-made for my feet!
I was looking for sandals appropriate for Kaylee and Nausicaa, since I don’t wear flip flop types and I didn’t want to wear actual boots in the Georgia late summer, and I found a couple in TJ Maxx that weren’t awful, but also weren’t perfect for my feet. I’ve got strangely shaped feet…
So I drew around my feet on tracing paper, and then added some clearance around… Too much in fact, so I ended up removing a lot, then I made paper “straps” to test the pattern, and then started winging it. I cut out four heel pieces, and then three soles and two straps for each shoe. I realized then that slide shoes were also not going to work for me. My feet don’t feel secure unless they’re tied or strapped into things, so I also cut some strappings to add to the heel to secure some ties.
So I had bought a pack of Shoe Goo (side note, did you know it came in colors? I missed that fact when I got it from Amazon, and bought black… not a good plan… In hindsight I should have read the description better) and ended up using all 3.7 ounces of it. And all of the leather was from a couple of vegetable tanned leather bellies from Tandy. I had gotten a couple of extra the last time there was an online super sale of 10 dollars a belly. And by last time I mean a few years ago… It’s been awhile since I really worked with leather. This stuff is thick, but perhaps not quite as sturdy as real sole leather, but it’s working out so far!
The heel came first. I glued the 4 pieces together with a (rough to smooth) and (rough to rough) then glued the sandwiches together rough to smooth leaving a smooth end on either side of the uber-sandwich… I used my swivel knife to rough up all smooth surfaces that were being glued with a crosshatch pattern.
For the straps I skived off the excess thickness and glued them in place to the first of the soles. For the hook at the heel, I couldn’t quite skive the leather thin enough, so I cut out a notch in the middle sole, and glued the top to that middle rough to smooth. And for good measure I glued the bottom as well, rough to rough, leaving smooth sides on the top and bottom.
This might be a good time to mention that I was using HUGE binder clips as clamps. Which might not have been ideal, but they worked out pretty nicely!
A couple of hours later I glued the heel sandwiches to the sole sandwiches, but since my binder clips wouldn’t open that far, I got out my old biology and physics textbooks to weight it down (Campbell Biology for the win!), I think with a can of leather conditioner to help “concentrate” the weight in the proper place. I then left the shoes alone for some time to finish drying.
But when I came back, I found the left one was a little too big around the toe strap, so I glued the strap to the top of the sole on the edge to help reduce the length. I had to glue on both sides of the foot to properly balance it, but it’s been working out so far…
I lace them up with some green leather round lacing that was a Tandy clearance buy a few years ago, and actually the same that I use to lace up my TARDIS corset belt. The ties run through slits I cut in the darker strap, then wrap around my ankle and themselves to cradle my foot. I tend to need to tighten them after a couple of minutes of wear, which I attribute to foot wiggling and leather stretching…
Another thing I’ve been doing is wetting the top of the sole lightly in order to bind to my feet a bit during wear, but also so it starts to take the shape of my feet. I know from experience that wearing someone’s well worn Birkenstocks can be uncomfortable because they start to pattern to their primary wearer’s feet, and that’s where I’m hoping to get with these. But maybe not that drastic. I’m definitely interested to see how they wear.
The other thing I’d bought for these were some rubber soles, but I haven’t actually put them on. I’m currently deciding if I really need to, and so far I don’t.
The past couple of weeks has been nuts with costume flurries, but slowly and surely I’ll be posting what I’m working on! DragonCon is in just over two weeks, and I’m not ready yet! Not even close!