(Or, the Evolution of Kitty Paws, Part 1)
As someone who’s made her own clothes since dinosaurs walked the earth, I take certain things for granted. Deep, capacious pockets in skirts, pants that never ride up, perfect-fitting underwear, a corset in Ravenclaw colours – I can have whatever I want.
Until it comes to shoes.
Why are shoes so hard? By which, of course, I mean practical, comfortable, pretty shoes that cuddle your feet and make you feel like you’re walking on marshmallows. Aaaaaaand — here’s the hard part — that you can wear to a variety of occasions.
I do NOT mean those ethereally beautiful, utterly insane designer thingies that look more like jewels than shoes, because a broken ankle often offends. I also don’t mean hiking boots or running shoes. I adore those cushiony-soled trainers as much as anyone, but even I would not wear them with a nice summer dress. Or with my Steampunk dominatrix outfit, or to a funeral.
Then there’s the one-size-fits-none syndrome you’ve all encountered when buying clothes. Feet, like bosoms and hips, some in different shapes as well as sizes. Apparently, according to shoe manufacturers, no one else in the whole of space and time has feet like mine, because I have to buy shoes three sizes too long to squeeze my paddle-like paws into the toe box. This is patently bonkers, as when I started actually measuring lots of people’s feet, I found mine are statistically LESS wide than average.
So we have embarked on a multi-year crusade to make sane, sensible shoes that are also at least somewhat attractive. It really has been years. And it’s REALLY not like making clothes.
Felix has taken up the proper kind of shoemaking, with lasts and scary hardware and four kinds of hammers. It involves a lot of maths and gluing and pounding in dozens of tiny deadly-looking nails before yanking them all out again. This, I found, is not for the Kitty. I don’t do maths and hammers have an unholy attraction to my thumb.
But he does makes gorgeous shoes and boots. Here are some of his recent efforts:
They’re lovely, and shockingly comfy, and I plan on offering all kinds of indecent inducements to get him to make me a knee-high black steampunk number next.
But I also want the other kind of shoes. You know – soft, dreamy, lightweight shoes I can wear to pop out to the shops, to a summer wedding, or to go dancing in a Jane Austen costume ball and never once need to think about my feet. I want shoes that feel like I’m barefoot.
These shoes don’t exist, at least not for my feet, so I’m in the process of creating them. One of my new year’s resolutions (other than eating more fish and petting more dogs) was to try to get over my fear of technology enough to blog semi-regularly, so here it is: Entry the First. I hope this project will get somewhere quickly enough that I can have some prototypes to test at CCEE in April.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting more entries on the upcoming iterations of the Kitty Paws project. Right now, here’s where I’m at after a few months of experimentation:
(1) An early attempt based on a moccasin concept. Comfy, but looks like bedroom slippers. I’ll probably use them as bedroom slippers.
(2) Tried making them pointier-toed in an effort to make them look more delicate. They now look like more delicate bedroom slippers.
(3) Yet another try, making the toes even pointier and reducing the underwrap portion in an effort to refine the look a bit. I actually kind of like these and may develop them further later for walking shoe type-thing. In the meantime, my bedroom slipper collection is growing.
(4) Attempted to change directions in the hopes that a boot style might work better. Once again, these are exceedingly comfortable, far more so than anything I’ve ever bought. But they’re booties. Once again, I may develop these into something later.
(5) Maybe my standards are falling, but this one is starting to feel like I’m getting somewhere. There are definitely bumpy bits, but I may run with this and see where I can go with it. Also, I’m not used to this much hand sewing (with an actual needle and thread!) and I’m starting to get blisters.
Wish me luck, and I hope to return soon with wearable Kitty Paws.