We’re only doing single shoes for the moment, no pairs yet (that’s for next year!), and this is my second shoe ever! The first one was this ugly burgundy ballet flat (which I will cherish for the rest of my life because, you know, first shoe ever and all that) that I didn’t really get to design: I only followed the instructions of the teacher, not really understanding what was going on and being kind of amazed when I got what looked like a shoe in the end.
This time we had to design the shoe (it had to be a court shoe) ourselves, based on a black and white animal. I chose the magpie, as you can guess, if not from the shoe itself, at least from the title of this article. And look, my shoe even looks like my final drawing! I only omitted the jewel because, can you believe it, I completely forgot about it! The jewel was there because magpies are alledgedly jewellery thieves.
There were a few preliminary drawings before the final one (these are pages from my sketchbook by the way, not Photoshop collages – but I did edit the contrast after scanning them):
We were advised to first draw what came to our mind in order to get some ideas, so I drew a few models without thinking about it too much, just to see how the magpie could translate as a shoe.
Then I tried to be a little more precise, which is when I got the idea of the black feathers on a white background. I quite liked the design of the shoe at the top, but not its shape. I wanted something that would reflect my style a little more, with a feminine and retro touch.
I was happy with these two drawings, but the teacher found that the top of the shoe was too high. I did not agree at first, but when I drew my design on the shoe last I chose, which allowed me to see how it would look on a foot, I could see how wrong I was! So I made the final drawings, which you saw above, where I lowered the top of the shoe and gave the shoe a more delicate heel.
Putting this shoe together was a lot of work. I’m kind of sad I didn’t think to document the different steps, but I will try to do that for a future (pair of) shoe(s). It’s not perfect by any means, and I’m (really!) not fishing for compliments, but I don’t want to focus on the negative details, which are not that obvious when you don’t look at the shoe from too close and are quite normal for a second shoe ever! I just wanted to point out that I’m not under the delusion that my shoe is perfect nor hiding its (many) defects to pretend that they don’t exist.
The shoe is made from black and white leather, the inside is lined with thinner black leather. The heel is also covered by leather, the same I used for the lining if I remember correctly, because the other one was too thick, but you really can’t tell the difference. The sole is a thick brown leather, which I had to paint black.
The shoe is a size too small for me, so I couldn’t really try it (though I did manage to squeeze my foot into it – not a pretty sight!). The first ballet flat I made was a size too big, so I made sure to chose a last in my size for my third shoe (which I won’t finish before next (school) year, it’s on pause during summer vacation).
I’ll leave you with some detail shots of the shoe. You can see the sole above and the heel and topstitching below. Once again, let me remind you that I spared you from more unsightly close-ups!
Have a nice weekend! I think I’ll spend mine admiring my shoe! 😀