Saturday, July 21, 2018

Salvaged Sandals

 One of the worst things about having dogs is having them eat your shoes. My boyfriend has lost countless pairs of sandals to the ravages of hungry/bored dogs, mainly because he has a bad habit of leaving them lying out in the living room. My own shoe collection has been less afflicted because I'm generally more organized...but I am not immune either. My first and much loved pair of leather Rainbow flip flops lost their straps to the late clothes-munching Bubalou, and just recently, one day I returned to my office to find our newish puppy Kodiak (who gets to stay at work with us until he's old enough to be left home alone) gnawing on one of my sandals, which I had left on the floor next to my bike after changing into my work shoes (now I put my shoes in a safer place on top of the bike!).

This circumstance was both fortunate and unfortunate. Unfortunate because it shouldn't have happened at all, but fortunate because it happened to this particular pair of sandals. Usually I bike to work in my rather expensive (replacement) pair of Rainbow flip flops, but this day, thanks to a foot injury, I had been wearing different shoes. These particular sandals were cheaper (just 10 dollars from and thus less of a loss should they prove irreparable, but, most fortunately, unlike the Rainbows, they were not irreparable!

The straps of these sandals were made from fabric with a faux-leather backing, and all the damaged parts were ones that could be replaced without having to disassemble the sole. So repairing the sandals was simply a matter of finding matching strips of black fabric and sewing them back together!

For the fabric, I chose a length of black grosgrain ribbon I had in my stash. It was a little narrower and thinner than the original straps, but from eye level, the differences weren't really noticeable.

I cut off all the damaged straps where they joined the plastic triangles, and used a seam ripper to separate them where they were sewn to the intact straps.
Then I fitted the ribbon into its appropriate places and held the ends with straight pins. I tried the sandal on this way (very carefully!) to ensure that the lengths were appropriate.
The trickiest part of this repair was the spot under the ankle, where three straps crossed each other. I pinned the straps in place and then took the whole precarious arrangement to my sewing machine.
Trying to sew through three thick layers of fabric, all while maneuvering around several plastic pieces and a rigid shoe sole isn't easy. I started by removing the supplies case from the front of the machine to get more space to work, and replacing my needle with the heaviest gauge I could find. I took the actual sewing slowly and carefully, hand-cranking the machine so I wouldn't break my needle or allow any slippage.

Once that part was done, I sewed the remaining straps to their respective pieces of hardware with double rows of straight stitches.

There was one triangle that I just couldn't wrangle under the sewing machine. I hand-sewed the strap to that one.

I had been dreading this repair, but suddenly I was done, and I had completed it all one evening (a rare occurrence for me and my sewing projects)! Sure, the sandals are a little mismatched now, but they were always my "sensible sandals," not my "sexy sandals," so I don't mind if they aren't a vision of perfection. As long as they still achieve their objective—covering my feet while I walk around!

Normally, I'd consider these shoes a bit too sporty for work, but I needed an excuse to take them out in public, so I decided they were good enough for a Casual Friday.

The black straps seemed to be calling out for more black stripes, so I obliged with the black and white tube dress, which I actually wore as a dress this time, in spite of my misgivings about the style.

To ensure it didn't fall down throughout the day, I held it to my bra with a pair of safety pins, and topped it with a long-line black vest, which served to cover my bra straps and diminish the apparent width of my hips. Black and white worn this way is almost punchy enough to be forgiven for having no color...but just almost! I had to add a little something in the form of my yellow butterfly jewelry set.

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