red velvet… shoes!

Have I mentioned (recently) my addiction to velvet?

I bought some shoes at the thrift store a while back with the intention of remaking them into 18th century-style shoes.  They’re not perfect, but they had a decent heel shape and were my size.  Last night I finally got around to tackling that small-but-n0t-so-small project.

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Here’s the before – not too shabby, actually.  They almost worked as they were.  I had an idea of removing and saving the lace appliqués because they were fairly nice, but they were glued on pretty solidly and I had to hack them off.

First step was to remove the heel cap and the under part of the shoe.

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I was a little too enthusiastic and I tore one of them (oops!)  Not unsalvageable, though.


The underside of the shoe with its skin removed.

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I traced a rough pattern out of some muslin and then cut it out of my red velvet.  My original plan was to redo the shoes in a more neutral color – I was thinking a white brocade or something pretty similar to how they started out – and that way I could simply switch out the ribbon to make them match any outfit.  I found to my dismay that I didn’t have anything in my stash that would suit… but I did still have most of the red velvet dress I previously cut up for my Dark Odette costume, and once it caught my eye, it refused to let go.

I used some scraps of denim as well to reinforce the tongue and the side tabs.



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And… covered!  To be honest, up close, they’re not as pretty as I’d like.  The perils of using hot glue.  Instead of covering the heels with fabric (I couldn’t figure out how to remove the heel and it was past midnight so I didn’t want to risk making a bunch of noise) I painted them with black fabric paint, which unfortunately gives them a plasticky look close up.  But from a distance it doesn’t look horrible.

I used a buttload of glue to get the bottom shoe piece reattached, and spent a good hour fighting with the heel caps to get them back on.  I imagine the process would have been a lot better with the aid of a hammer.


Here they are plain as they come, before grommeting.  They’re not actually as big and bulky as they look, they just make my ankles look tremendously skinny.

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Turned out I had left my grommet tool at my mum’s, so I had to stop over there today to get the grommets put in.  Ta-da!  I tied them with some white ribbon and I love the color combo, but I love even more the idea that I can use any color ribbon I want to tie them to whatever outfit I’m wearing!  And let’s be honest – red velvet shoes are so fabulous that it doesn’t even matter if they don’t match my dress, right?


My goal for tomorrow is to get the hat to match my blue round gown done.  The trim on that dress is still in progress.  I may have the whole outfit finished this week. 😀


Three Musketeers: pictures (yes, finally!)

what a few weeks it’s been!! the show ended today (or rather, yesterday) and was a huge success!! everyone wore their costumes beautifully and they looked so good on stage. so, as I promised some long while ago, I have some pictures. they’re fairly crummy in quality, because I did them at the last minute as we were putting everything away, and of course because I took pictures at the end of the show, they’re all showing some wear and tear. but these were my favorites.




this was the “peacock” ball gown, one of my particular favorites. it consists of a pleated skirt (purple,) and the blue bodice with attached over skirt, and is made from a slubby sort of synthetic shantung. the last picture shows the back, which was grommetted for spiral lacing, and then, like everything else, laced incorrectly (I gave up after a few costumes and just went with standard spaced grommets after that.) the skirt ended up being about three inches too short for the actress, so someone added a ruffle at the hem, with some trim tacked on to hide the join – I wasn’t particularly happy with that. but the whole thing looked great on stage.


the king’s masquerade outfit. I made it gold to match the mask he was supposed to wear, which was a lion, but he ended up with something else. but I love this costume. you can’t see it very well in the pictures, but the fabric is a satiny cream color with the pattern in white and gold metallic (from a section in the store called “church fabric”.) the pattern I used for this one was Simplicity 4059, which I used, with some modifications, for most of the mens costumes that we had to make for this show. the pantaloons I made up myself, and are extremely not historically accurate, but dang did they look good!

of course, the king had to have matching shoes for his outfit. the director wanted it to be “outlandish and ridiculous”, so I came up with these. personally, I think they were the best part of the show. the king got asked about them by every single audience. lace, tassels, feathers, bows!


the king’s “everyday” outfit, complete with matching shoes. he was such a good sport; he never complained even though I put him in tights and high heels.


this was the queen’s bodice, which looks terrible on a hanger but really looked good on her. the matching skirt is simply a green pleated skirt. the stomacher, which you can’t see very well, is trimmed with gold, and the lace on the cuffs we actually kited from a gorgeous vintage wedding gown in the back room.


this was the queen’s masquerade outfit. her character was a white eagle, so I made the gown silver and white to match, and it’s also the same pattern as the king’s, so they’re kind of obviously a couple. the skirt is simply pleated with a silver panel in the front. the bodice is the same style as her other outfit, with the addition of two hanging panels over the back of the arms that served as “wings”. you can see this kind of in the last picture. also, in the background, you can see our “Cardinal’s guards” capes – we made seven of these, and five of the blue Musketeer ones.

I can’t decide between this gown and the king’s gold outfit which was my absolute favorite… I think I might have to go with the king’s, just because the shoes make it so complete. but all these costumes were fabulous! I’m extremely grateful I got to work on this show, even if I had to go without food, sleep, or rest for the last four weeks.

I’m trying to get my hands on some of the official pictures from the photo shoot, so I may have something to post when that comes out. these costumes look so much better on people than they do on hangers. plus, this is only a fraction of the ones I myself made, including the ones I’ve already posted! there were close to fifty costumes in this whole show! granted, they’re not all as extravagant as these, but I worked hard on them all. but now that it’s over, maybe I can get back to some of my own projects… we’ll see!