Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ruby Slippers Prototype - Completed

And the final result:
Photo by MSN
Photo by Brent Allen Thale at
Photo by Chuck Cook.
These were all taken at SDCC 2012.  The first photo is by me, the others are by various photographers we met throughout the day who were nice enough to give us a link to view the photos online or send us the photos after.  (I'm planning to do a proper photo session of the second version pair sometime in the fairly-near future, which will not only yield better and more photos overall, but finished photos of the higher quality pair.)

As for some retrospect on the process itself, I'm glad I waited until I had a long span of interrupted time to do it, because the sequin-gluing alone probably took about 10 hours or so (or about that many episodes of Firefly) including a few breaks.  That part isn't really a start-and-stop project that can be done between other chores or amidst a busy schedule, at least not for me.  It seemed better to just be able to sit down and do it straight through, stopping for a break only after completing a side or a whole shoe.  It gets a little tedious - even with background music or movie - and a little hard on the back and hands towards the end, but I think consistent results make up for it.  The painting and bow-making was more easily a start-and-stop process, so was spread out over bits of free time during a few weeks.

For what I got in the end, I think the shoes ended up being pretty nicely cost effective.  I still have some sequins left over.  Not enough for another pair of shoes, but still a good amount to trim something with in the future.  From the original bead orders I did, the two orders of 50 rose montees was just enough for one pair of shoes, but I had enough bugle beads and rectangle faux gems for both the prototype and second version of the shoes (so four bows in total) and I still have some left over.  The final cost for the prototypes was about $23.  That doesn't include the supplies like the glue gun and acrylic sealer that I also use for other projects, but it does include the extra beads I used on the second pair.  So really, taking into account that the cost of the bugle beads and gems covered 2+ pairs, the real cost is lower.  Not bad at all for the final result and my first attempt at it, I think (especially considering that most ruby slippers run from the $20-30 commercial shoes that are only recognizable by being red and sparkly, to the $50-100 custom creations of varying quality and accuracy). 

The only bad thing was the fit.  Very unexpectedly, they were horribly uncomfortable to wear around during the day.  So much so that at one point I finally gave up and walked around in socks, just carrying the shoes in hand and enduring the good-natured teasing of the other Con attendees.  They fit well to begin with and were comfortable wearing around the house, but I bought the socks I wore with the costume only a few days before the convention and didn't really test the shoes with the socks before costume day.  The socks ended up being surprisingly thick, which made the balls of my feet feel great but made the toe area too cramped inside the shoe.  So I haven't decided yet what to do about that: try different socks or find better quality shoes to begin with.  That's definitely something I'll consider whenever I (inevitably) get around to making another pair.  I may also make a higher quality non-wearable replica pair for display using vintage shoes and authentic materials.

I might be making a few pairs of these to sell at some point - though with the improved techniques learned on this pair and applied to the second version - and if that happens, I'll post further information on that later.

*All photos are property of their respective owners.
*My use and opinion of the products listed is by personal choice and availability.  I am not paid to use or endorse them.

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