Saturday, January 2, 2016

Minifee Shoes--First Attempt!

I’ve been bitten by another craft bug! Ever since I began collecting BJDs, I’ve been experimenting in all the creating fields so I can customize my dolls more (and save a ton of money!) I’ve never had much success making clothing items but I’ve always been fascinated by doll shoes.

There aren’t that many from-scratch shoemakers anymore and it seems like a bit of a lost art. Because everything in the miniature world is handmade, it offers an opportunity to learn how shoes are stitched, how soles were molded and poured.

Because I’ve worked with polymer clay for so long, I decided to try sculpting a full pair of shoes. For this first pair, I used Minifee Moe line feet. I wrapped each foot in cling wrap and molded the clay directly onto the foot. I formed the outer soles separately and attached them at the end of the process.

This was really more of a test to see if the clay would take a good shape, warp when baking, and look any good once finished. I didn’t smooth or sand the cured clay, which is why you can see all the fingerprints and jagged grooves. This pair was made using Sculpey III since I was out of my good clay, and Sculpey III doesn’t sand well. It tends to chip and crack apart.

The clay shoes turned out better than I expected. There’s no shrinkage with polymer clay so it’s a perfect fit. They are pretty hefty but I sculpted the shoes on the thicker side. I think I might sculpt a few different sizes and designs of soles and make a mold so that I can reproduce them uniformly for more pairs.

The next challenge I tackled was leather flats for Minifee Active line feet. I’ve attempted fabric flats a few times before but never had much luck because I couldn’t hem the fabric close enough to keep it from fraying. I think I’ve figured it out now, after what I did today, so I’ll be giving those a shot in the future.

Anyway, leather doesn’t fray so as long as the cuts are clean, there’s no need to hem anything. I used the masking tape method to make myself a pattern for the shoe. The inner soles are thin cardboard wrapped in some sort of sheer fabric remnant that I dug up out of my fabric box. Most of the shoe is glued together, with a tiny bit of hand stitching in the back.

I’m very happy with the way these turned out as well. There are a few adjustments that need to be made such as a wider strip for the sides so the cuts aren’t visible at the bottom of the shoe. They fit great and are holding together just fine.

These shoes are far from pretty but I’ve learned so much from this trial and I can’t wait to work on the next pairs.

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