Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ruby Slippers Version III (Character Shoes) - Completed

In a lot of ways, this pair was more of a learning process than the first two I made.  The changes I made to the bows were a revelation that saved me a lot of heartache this time around and will in the future too.  The alternate sequin layout was almost my undoing, but I learned in what circumstances it's the right choice (it would be perfect for display, but not so much for wearing).  I was also harshly reminded of some things I already know: Don't leave things until the last minute.  Sometimes there is no good choice, but make a choice anyway or risk falling behind.  Saving a whopping $0.30 per yard doesn't mean much in the end if the cheaper materials almost ruin the project (my particular favorite lesson this time), so don't buy things sight unseen or reputation unknown from an unfamiliar seller, and always test materials thoroughly before starting the project itself, and leave plenty of time and money to get replacement parts if it comes down to it.  And and and.

Going into pair number two of this commission, I'll definitely be keeping this pair in mind.  I'm doing an exact duplicate on the process (and hopefully results) of the bows save for maybe how they were attached since I feel like I rushed that step this time.  Despite the added non-reimbursable cost to myself, my pride and sanity demand that I use better sequins on the next pair so I'm inevitably going to break down and buy a reel of good Wrights sequins. 

They look better in the photos than in person, though being a theatre production this isn't as much of a problem as it would be in some cases (the things theatre seamstresses, myself included, sometimes get away with makes the film costumer in me cringe and jealous at the same time).  And I still want to try the new sequin layout again, probably on my eventual display pair so I can use craft glue to get cleaner results without worrying about how the attachment will hold up to walking or dancing.

The absolutely best thing to come from this project was the feedback from the actress's mother: 
"The shoes arrived today!!!!  Yeah!  They are beautiful...  I think [my daughter] performed last night better than ever before - I think it is the shoes! ;-)" 
That kind of reaction just makes everything worthwhile.

Because this was a long-distance commission, I took a lot more photos of the construction process than I normally would so the actress playing Dorothy and the actress's family could see how things were coming along.  I've actually really enjoyed having the extra photos of more stages in the process, so I might get into the habit of taking more photos even on my own projects.

The whole kit and caboodle.
Just before being wrapped up and sent off.
Before and after.
The actress wearing the shoes for the first time the day they arrived.

*All photos are property of their respective owners.


  1. Hi there! I will be playing Dorothy in our upcoming production of the Wizard of Oz in Plainview, MN. I'm wondering how much you charge to make these shoes & how long they take to make? I'm very interested in having a great pair of ruby slippers to wear for the performance. Please email me at as I am in LOVE with your version of the ruby slippers!

    1. Thank you so much! I've just sent you an e-mail.

  2. Hi! I'm directing The Wizard of Oz in April 2015, and I'm looking for a good pair of ruby slipper character shows. Are you still accepting commissions for them? If so, could you email me information on the cost and time needed to complete the project at We are a high school theatre department located in Ohio. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the inquiry! I've just sent you an e-mail.