My DIY project 2 - Decorating footwear with handmade flowers

Umayya Theba
05 Apr , 2020

Why are so many women self-conscious when it comes to feet? Mine look nothing like traumatised geisha feet nor do they feature bruised ballerina toes, but the ten digits on my lower extremities are long and skinny, and while they appear just fine fully exposed in flats like flip-flops, they tend to take on a more crooked spread the minute I step into pretty high-heeled sandals. I know - TMI! :) 

Perhaps it's just my imagination, but to be frank, these trivial physical traits detract from the beauty of fabulous footwear itself, and I personally, lose the confidence to step out in public with my toes on full display for all to see, judge and form opinions on. I am, after-all, guilty of doing the same...

Sandals with handmade flowers

The day before the official nationwide lockdown began, a pair of simple leather sandals were delivered to my door, and when I tried them on for size, I was relieved that they fit perfectly. My toes were definitely not hanging over the edge, but unlike my preferred conservative and peep-toe styles, the single strap on these high-heeled sandals were perhaps too far back - or maybe too thin - for my feet in particular, and it simply looked off-putting.

Sandals with handmade flowers

My toes were way too exposed and since this classic pair just didn't suit me, I either had to schedule the return as soon as possible before couriers halted transportation of non-essential goods, or I had to give the shoes away to someone whose feet looked a lot prettier in them. I was just about to send pics out to my nearest and dearest when I had a lightbulb moment: modifying these sandals to hide my toes would be a challenging and creative DIY project.  

Sandals with handmade flowers

My inspiration was drawn from the fond memories of a Made-in-Italy sandal that I practically lived in back in 2009-2011. It accompanied me through many travels around the world, and while it was functional and comfy, it was every bit as glamorous and unique as my fashion sense, thanks to a large bloom crafted from soft gold leather and a diamante centre, which sat atop the strap and hid my toes perfectly.


To get started, here's what you'll need:

  • A simple, classic pair of sandals.
  • Faux leather that either complements or contrasts the shoe (1/4 metre). You can even upcycle an old faux-leather top or trouser for this purpose.
  • Two identical rhinestones set inside metals prongs
  • Glue that's suitable for leather
  • Thread and sewing needle
  • A pair of scissors
  • Prestik
  • Four clothing pegs

To create the handmade flowers:

1. Cut square pieces of leather. You'll need four different sizes, but only two squares in each size. In other words, each foot will have four squares of different sizes. 

2. Fold each square in half, then fold in half again, and cut out a single petal shape being careful not to cut through the adjoining corner. Open them up and you will have eight four-petalled flowers (four per foot).

3. Layer the cut-out pieces to create multi-layer 3D flowers, and then use the cotton thread and needle to bind them by stitching through the middle. Remember to keep symmetry in mind.

Watch this video for demonstration on flower-making

4. Now use the cotton and thread to secure a rhinestone/crystal to the centre of each flower. Sew through the leather and again, be mindful of symmetry.

5. Use the Prestik to place the flowers on your sandals, and lay the left and right shoes side by side. Play around with position to achieve good balance and symmetry. Take a photo for reference.

6. Use the glue to secure the flowers in place. I didn't detach the flowers completely when doing this step. Instead, I lifted the Prestik on one side, added glue under the flower centre, and pressed everything down again.

7. When I was certain that the centre of each flower was stuck in place, I then replaced the Prestik under the side petals with glue and used pegs to hold them down. Remember to apply the glue more centrally and not under the edges of the petals because these need to stand up a bit instead of being flattened.

Sandals with handmade flowers

Yup, the final is result is dramatic and quite eccentric - I must admit - and the edges could have been cleaner, but would I actually wear them? Hell, YES!!! As soon as the lockdown is over, and if the weather permits, I'll give them outings to restaurants, the movies, office meetings, and just about every other place that will need our full support financially, to get businesses back on their feet. 




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