Or, Kitty’s continuing shoe adventures, TARDIS edition, Part 1 of 3
I mean to recount the process step-by-step, so this entry will be broken up into three parts, so as to avoid having a novel-length blog. But eventually (maybe by the end of Part 2?), we’re going to get to this, which is the painted, but not yet assembled, top of my future TARDIS ankle boots. And of course, the finished boot, assuming I haven’t lost a finger and given up by then.
First, I started with boots rather than my latest Kitty Paws, because it makes a larger canvas for painting. This is one of the ideas I tried out on my search for workable designs, and it has a nice flat expanse across the top of the foot, which can accommodate an entire TARDIS, along with a few galaxies.
Next, the leather. I chose this lovely soft black hide with quite a bit of texture. This texture made it harder to paint crisp lines, but camouflaged mistakes. As anyone who’s met me knows, I am not a creature of patience or precision, so it was a trade-off I’m willing to make.
Next, we needed some kind of midsole. This black substance is a flexible but insanely hard-wearing mystery material I can sew through and cut with industrial-strength shears, to which the actual sole of the shoe can later be attached.
I glued the midsoles, now cut to shape, to the shoe sole pieces. You’d think the midsoles would be a tracing of my feet, but nothing in shoemaking is ever that simple. One of the most annoying things I have learned as I stumbled along is that your shoes are in fact not the same shape as your feet. The sole is NOT the outline of your feet, the finished shoe does NOT measure the same around as your feet, but it’s all related mathematically through some kind of arcane mystery you have to solve as you go.
Anyhow. The glue went on both the midsoles and the shoe’s sole pieces. Getting the glue inside the lines is a fiddly, persnickety job. But thou must stay within the lines, or thou shalt be cast into the seventh level of Shoe Hell.
If you’re wondering, the glue is contact cement, which forms a madly strong bond if you use it correctly. You apply it to both surfaces you want to stick together, then let them dry until barely tacky BEFORE shoving them together. And you had best get it right the first time, because contested divorces are easier than prying them apart once they touch.
Oh, and contact cement fumes are nasty. Felix built a glue table with a suction system that vents out a window, so we can glue indoors when the Great Canadian Outdoors would freeze the glue (and also fingers, which would make it difficult to stay within the lines).
Next, I stitched the midsole onto the shoe sole piece, despite the aforementioned strength of the contact cement, because overkill is a thing we do around here. I wanted to be able to run on gravel in these without worrying if the soles might come off.
By the way, in case you were thinking it, do NOT NOT NOT attempt to sew through midsoling without an industrial sewing machine, and you should wear safety goggles, because a shattered needle fragment in the eye is a realistic option here.
Then, after tracing and cutting out all the other pieces of the boot, I had to individually mark, then hand-punch, figuratively quintillions (and literally hundreds) of stitching holes. This is a task only for those with strong wrists and a masochistic desire for a repetitive strain injury. I wish I could think of a better way, but no luck so far. And remember, each of those holes represent hand stitches later down the process.
After all that, it’s time to paint! Well, almost. Next time, we learn that even painting when it comes to leather isn’t as simple as all that.