Friday, September 20, 2019

Shoe Biz 7: PUMPED!

You really do not need this tutorial. Most of what you need to make a decent--or even a highly creative-- pair of footwear can be found in the previous five posts. But for the sake of consistency, I decided to include this last tutorial on the basic pump. I made LOTS of shoes in preparation... 14 pairs to be exact! And the one thing I learned in the process.. it is VERY difficult to make something so simple. After spending all of the necessary time and effort to get it just right, the end result is always the same...another boring pair of shoes. But who knows... perhaps someone out there has a valid reason for wanting to make this basic style. So for the three of you out there in dolly land, this tutorial is for you.

There are patterns galore on the internet for the classic pump. But after downloading and trying a few, I discovered copying someone else's patterns make little sense if there is no real connection to your own doll's foot. Let me explain.
With the sandals we made a few weeks ago, there were straps to hold the shoe to the doll's foot. We created mules soon after, but there again, we used straps to secure the shoe to the foot--unless of course, you lose the straps and instead, use a bit of double sided tape inside the shoe. With the classic pump, you now have to construct a shoe that hugs the curvature of the heel (blue), the bend of the toes (green) and supports its elevation (red), thus allowing the doll to stand in them.  In the beginning my soles were too wide (another reason for why shoes don't fit) and the back quarter (the part covering the doll's heel), did not fit the foot due to bulk and the fact the angle was wrong. (The back of shoe should be at a 45 degree angle!). So, for this final project, I tried two different ways of constructing the pump as well as a slingback and a two-piece shoe. This does not really give you different styles, but rather, several options for fit.

Construction of the Basic Pump

Simply copying a pattern you find on the internet and putting it on your doll's foot does not work. You really need to create a pattern made specifically to your doll's foot.

1. Begin by covering your doll's foot in paper tape. Draw the lines of the shoe directly on the tape! Be sure to include the bottom edges of the foot and around the toes. Include the center back and center front lines of the foot.
2. Carefully remove the tape and place on a sheet of paper. Try not to stretch the tape as you peel it away from the doll.
3. Using a piece of tracing paper, smooth out the lines. I often fold along the center front lines and redraw to make sure there is some symmetry from left to right.
4. Unless you are happy with a rounded toe, you should elongate your pattern at the toe. Add roughly 1/16-18" (2-3mm).
5. Create your final pattern. Add seam allowance around the bottom edges of the upper as well as at the back of the shoe.
1. Prepare everything you need to construct your shoe. We are creating the basic pump with a seam at the back as shown here.
2. You will need your pattern.
3. Cut out in your chosen material, sew along the back seam, turn right side out and be sure to glue on the interfacing.
4. Curve the upper around a pencil.
5. Cut the notches out along the lower edge of the shoe.
6. Line the inner soles.
7. Cut out mid soles
8. Cut out soles
 1. Turn the foot upside down and place the lined inner sole on the foot. (If need be you can apply a tiny piece of tape to the foot to help keep this in place while you work.)
2. After sewing together the upper, use a bit of rubber cement to the underside of the back seam and flatten. Cut notches out along the bottom edge of the shoe.
3. Using a sharpened pencil, curve the upper.
4. Apply rubber cement to the bottom of the inner sole as well as along the notched edges of your shoe.
5. Stretch the shoe over the foot and press the seam allowance onto the bottom of the inner sole.
6. The rubber cement allows you to play around with the edges as you work. You can always add a bit more should it no longer adhere. But take your time to get a good fit. Tip: Sometimes I use a needle and thread to help me pull both sides together. All of the stitches will be hidden under the middle sole.
7. Pinch the material around the toes as you bend it under a bit. 
8. When its just right, be sure everything is well glued in place. Use a dowel as a rolling pin to press the glued area in place. 
9. Add your strong glue (E6000 is a good choice) to the upper and cover with the middle sole.
10. Press well to be sure everything is covered and adhered.
11. Use your "rolling pin" to press everything together.
12. If there is extra peaking out from the sides, you can trim it away.
13. Now finish it off by adding on your soles and paint!

The challenge of using a pattern with the back seam is dealing with bulk. And if your chosen material is anything but super thin, this area at the back of the foot could look more like a giant boil. I noticed that Integrity Toys sometimes employs another type of pattern for its classic pumps where you do not have to deal with a back seam at all.
This is a "J" shaped pattern that stretches from one side and around the back to the original point. You can leave a gap or join the two edges. The interesting thing here is that you do not have to deal with sewing a back seam and all of the challenges surrounding it. 
The pattern is created on the doll's foot in the same way as the first shoe. The finished pattern resembles the letter J. I created an interfacing which is the same at the outer shoe but without the seam allowance. Be sure to cut it slightly smaller than the outer so that it does not peak out from the edges.
1. For this shoe, you need to line an insole and your main pattern piece which has an interface glued in.
2. Again, it is put together in the same fashion as the first pump. Rubber cement to the bottom of the insole and around the notched edges of my upper.
3. Press in the edges, stretching the shoe so that it fits snugly around the foot. Play with this until you get it just the way you want it. You can always trim away the excess at the inner side point unless you want the two sides to meet.
4. Press firmly into the rubber cemented sole to make sure everything remains together. Finish the shoe as usual.

The Slingback Shoe

There are a good reasons why you don't often see slingback shoes for 1/6 dolls except for the hard plastic shoes Mattel makes for their Model Muse Barbies. It's because they are very hard to make for such minuscule proportions. But here we go...

This pattern has the straps joined at back of the heel.
1. Again, this shoe begins by creating a pattern directly on the doll's foot. I covered the foot with paper tape and drew the lines of a slingback including the back strap that goes around the back.
2-5 Here's the pattern as it evolves from removing the tape and placing on paper to the addition of the seam allowance.
6. Create an interfacing by tracing off the area around the top of the shoe (minus the seam allowance.)
7. Glue the seam allowance (about 1/8" or 3mm) to the upper and complete your shoe.

Only half the shoe will be glued to the inner sole. The back turns into straps that wrap around the back of the doll's heel. The straps have to be quite slim in able for the shoe to really look like a sling back shoe. They will be too tiny at that back point to sew. So, I overlap and glue using a strong glue. 

But as in the case of the classic pump, you can divert the trouble spot to the outer side of the shoe. a point where many human shoes have closures.
The pattern (and the construction) is exactly the same except I have lengthened the one of the straps so that it can wrap around the heel and join the other on one side of the foot. For this shoe I used a very fine, very thin grade of leather.
I made a tiny buckle (the same as when we made belts) which I added to one strap. One strap wraps around that middle prong (you can tape in place while you work then glue at the end when you are happy with the results). The other is threaded in and out of the outer circle. The trick is to play around with the straps until the buckle ends up on the side just under the ankle. Clip away the excess. Glue down the strap holding the middle prong.
Honestly...I spent way too much time for....not a lot of joy! So I was determined to find a shortcut here. So I cut another pair of shoes....this time I cut out a very 1940's "toe hole" at the tip.  

I used the same pattern as I did for the white shoes. But instead of making a little buckle, I used a small eye ring which I slipped onto the strap. The two straps are overlapped on the side and glued together. The excess is removed and the eye ring is slid in place. It all boils down to convenience over...authenticity !?!

Still in my effort to make a more standout pair of pumps, I explored the two piece shoe. That consists of the toe and a back quarter. I've had shoes like this.
1. Paper tape on the back of the doll's foot. The pattern is drawn directly on the tape. 
2. The bottom edges of the foot should be noted as well.
3. Peel the tape off carefully and place on paper.
4. Create your pattern by adding on seam allowance along the bottom.
5. Make a test to make sure this fits. Make any adjustments. 
6. The toe is the same we created for our mules and sliders in the ShoeBiz 4. 

7. Here are all of the elements needed to create this shoe.
8. Turn the edges under. Add glue and cover with the middle sole.
9. The completed shoe is here.

 Personally, I didn't find this shoe all that flattering except as, perhaps, a shoe to be worn under trousers. Moreover, I had a very difficult time getting this shoe to fit the foot snugly. I became so frustrated, I looked for a way to cover all of this up and create something more exciting....which led me to the next one.

This is the exact same shoe, but created using silk for the base and strips of chiffon that wrap around the foot and ankles! I also added platform soles and killer stilettos.
1. Begin by making the 2-piece shoe as shown above.
2. Cut two strips of sheer fabric, roughly 3/4"x11" (3x27cm). Fold each edge towards the center and glue or sew in place.
3. Before added your middle sole, wrap around the shoe, criss-crossing over the foot and wrapping around the ankle.
4. Tie into a bow.
5. Glue the middle soles onto the uppers. Create and add the soles but without the heels.
6. I wanted a small platform shoe. So I began by rolling a small ball of clay.
7. Place on the bottom of your shoe.
8. Press down until you have the volume of platform you want.
9. You want to blend the addition of clay into the sole of the shoe by smoothing it out around the sides.
10. Continue to smooth the class all around the sides and the toe.
11. You will also need to make a smooth transition between the bottom of the shoe and the arch which has a thinner layer of clay. Cut away the excess and continue to smooth until everything is well blended together.
12. Now, determine the size of heel you will need by placing the shoe on a flat surface and measuring. For the size of my new shoe, the heel is about 1/8" taller than normal. Add the heel and complete the shoe.

You can also combine the one piece pump with the 2-piece shoe for a very sophisticated look. Inspired by a Dior shoe that appeared a couple years ago on their Haute Couture catwalk show, I came up with this design. The base of the shoe was cut from vinyl using the pattern for the classic pump with the back seam. Over it, I glued on pieces of thin leather using the technique for the 2-piece shoe, then completed the shoe by adding on the middle and outer soles.

Well folks...that's it for my dolly footwear tutorial series. It has been a great summer. And, this has been the most fun I've had since creating this blog. To make it easy for you to find these tutorials at a later date, I've added a side bar (look under Tutorials--upper right side of this page). I'll be back shortly with a few final thoughts while the girls put together their fashion reports from Fashion Month, now in progress!

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  1. Who would have known that the simplest style would be the hardest to make? I do like the red ones with the whole, they look great. I think that the ones with brighter colors look better because they stand out more.
    Thanks for putting a direct link to this posts, they will be easier to find in the future.

    1. Ha ha ha!!!! That's usually the case. Because when something is simple, it has to be flawless. I kept trying to create that "wow" moment. When I look back at the pumps I made and put them in the context of what they would be worn with they really aren't all that bad. But I think I kept trying to create a "wow" pair of shoes that could stand alone all by itself. The closest I got to that sleek and chic pair were the Dior vinyl shoes with the white toes and heels.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Dlubaniny. This project has been so much fun. Glad you enjoyed these posts.

  3. Bravo!!! These aswell as the others are so good! And you made 14? Wow!!! Awesome work!

    1. Thank you. I didn't initially plan to make so many pairs. But once the shoe making machine started up, it was difficult to turn it off. Now I must think about getting back to clothing.

    2. You have a lot of talent! And looking forward to the fashion posts!

    3. Thank you so much for your kind words. (But you should have seen the first shoes I made!) LOL!

  4. 14 pairs... That is a lot of work! And I agree - sometimes that simple things are the most difficult to make. You did a really great job. Thank you for the whole series!

    1. And thank you, Kamelia, for your kind words and support. It was a lot of work, but I learned so much which made it that much more fun. And then when I saw I could practically recreate something already for sale somewhere at a fraction of the was even sweeter.

  5. Love your shoes! Keep up the creative work :D

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment and your continued support!

  6. Podziwiam za kreatywność i za cierpliwość! Buty są wspaniałe i mają tyle detali! Brawo!

    1. Olla wrote:
      I admire creativity and patience! The shoes are great and have so much detail! Bravo!

      Thank you so much, Olla, for your kind words. This was such a fun project


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