31 January 2014

A Pair of Fixer-Uppers

This is a pair of leather shoes I've had in the bottom of a closet for nearly a year, not being worn.  I purchased them at Gulf Wars two years ago (on clearance for $20, no less!  The whole line was marked down because the factory apparently got the sizing wrong:  these are supposedly a men's size 9;  I wear a women's 8.5 and they fit me perfectly).  Last Gulf Wars I took a rather spectacular fall, and in the process some of the stitching along the bottom burst.  

I tried to find a leather worker who could fix them for me, but the ones I know have been extremely busy, and so the shoes sat in my closet.  Finally, sick of wearing my uncomfortable backup pair, I figured, the holes are already in the leather - how hard could it be to do it myself?


upholstery needle FTW

As it turns out, it wasn't remotely difficult. I didn't have any cord made for stitching leather, so I used a heavy upholstery thread, four strands together for strength.

It only took about ten minutes; but when I was done, I decided to really spiff these shoes up:

I traced my feet (feet turkeys!) and made a pair of insole pads out of some craft felt I had in my stash, to help with the comfort of walking, since I killed my last pair of gel insoles.

I ran a doubled length of brown, twisted embroidery floss over all of the decorative edge-stitching that was already on the shoes, on either side of it.  

I cleaned, polished, and oiled the leather as well, to condition and soften it, and to fix up the places where the dye had worn away from the leather from wear.  

The things you see in the above picture inside the heels are pieces of a plastic Ikea placemat (I got a pack of four in the as-is section for 50c a few months ago, and have been using them for all sorts of little things like this).  After reconditioning the leather, I wanted to make sure they'd cure into the correct shape again, so I stuffed the toes with paper towels and slipped these plastic pieces into the heels to keep them upright. 

All done!  The whole process took about an hour and a half. 

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