Monday, November 6, 2017

A magical transformation

Not too many years ago (perhaps 2?) I acquired this pair of purple boots used on eBay. Although I've worn them a handful of times, I don't think they ever made it into my blog, and now they're too old!

Much like my off-white slouch boots, the plastic coating had begun peeling off the fabric uppers, leaving these boots too ratty to wear in public any more. Also much like my off-white slouch boots, I decided to excise the worst of the damage and turn them from boots into shoes.

As before, I started by cutting off most of the shaft, leaving about a half-inch to fold down for a smooth edge.

These boots had a black fabric liner. I cut that a little shorter so I could fold the outer material over the top of it.

Unlike the last boots I used this technique on, these ones were in much worse shape. The purple coating kept peeling off as I worked, prompting me to remove as much of it as I could, just to expedite the inevitable.

Then I folded the remaining portion of the boot shafts down inside the shoes, gluing with E6000 and holding in place with binder clips.

After a 24-hour glue-setting period, I turned my attentions to the noticeably pale inner edges of the shoes. They stood out too much and needed to be a more similar color to the outsides. For this, I used some of the purple hair dye I still haven't quite used up since I first used it in 2014.

I brushed it on with a paintbrush, and was actually astonished by how closely it matched the color of the shoes!

Seeing as it was dye, and its sole purpose is to colorize whatever it touches, I thought I should do something to keep it from rubbing off onto my foot or socks. So I sealed the dyed areas with a coat of polyurethane varnish.

For my next trick, I had to figure out a way to make the buckle actually functional. When the shoes had been boots, the buckle was just a decoration, attached with a permanent metal brad. I thought about this for a while; I considered snaps, hooks and eyes, and elasticized loops before finally settling on Velcro. It might not be glamorous, but it would be quick!

The next day was Halloween, and the shoes' big debut!

But, as you may recall if you read my Halloween post, the old boots didn't just get a second life as a different kind of footwear; I used the rest of them to make a mini hat!

The hat was the harder part of this process. Sizing down boots into shoes is child's play; but creating a whole different garment out of the scraps is practically sorcery!

This is how the boot shafts looked when I started.
Using good old mathematics (I lied about the sorcery), I decided on an appropriately sized triangle that would form one half of the cone for a witch's hat.

I cut out two triangles, put them together with right sides facing, held them together with binder clips (I didn't want to use pins for fear of putting permanent holes in the vinyl) and sewed them,  up the sides along the marked lines.

This did produce a cone, albeit one with a strangely shaped bottom edge!

I trimmed the bottom edge so that it was a smooth curve all around.

At this point, I decided I would add the embellishment to the cone before attaching it to the brim. I thought this would make it easier to handle so I could position it accurately and glue it firmly. In retrospect, this was a bad idea, as you'll see in a minute. But at the time, I went blithely ahead, using a black grosgrain ribbon and a decorative buckle I'd salvaged from a shirt sleeve, which I attached to the bottom edge of the cone with hot glue.

To make the brim, I simply cut a circular shape out of the remaining boot shaft. To get the shape, I used a jar of very appropriately pumpkin-shaped candy!
It was much too floppy to hold its shape, so I found some sturdy art paper that just happened to be a similar shade of purple, which I cut out and glued to its bottom surface. 
I also colored around its outside edge with more purple dye.

I then hot-glued the pointed part to the brim. This is where I regretted already attaching the hat band and buckle. There were a number of gaps between the brim and crown, which I could have hidden with an artfully placed hat band, but it was too late for that now!

I was out of plain metal headbands for crafting, so rather than permanently ruin one of my existing headbands, I set out to make the witch's hat detachable.

I started with two loops of rubber bands on the underside of the hat. I could slide a headband into these, and they would hold it in place...that is, until they kept breaking and slipping out of their glue patches. I later replaced the rubber bands with carefully sized loops of ribbon, which worked much better.

For now, the hat was finished, and this was the way I wore it for Halloween.

However, I later cut a circle out of the center of the brim, so that it could rest more snugly over my head. This means that if I ever wear it again, I'll have to redo the ribbon strips, because they ended up getting removed in this process.

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