Project journal time! Need some inspiration? Walk with me through my process of decorating classic heels.
I found this pair of Etienne Aigner classic pumps for 25 cents. They fit me and were in great condition, and for that price, what's to lose?
But after I had them for a while, I decided they were just a tad too sleek and modern for my style.
However, since I had only paid a quarter for them, I was tempted by that nice smooth toe to do something with them to make them more my style.
Incidentally, I also like ruffles on shoes but don't have any that style. So I did a little shopping and bought a few trims to experiment with.
Here's what I used to decorate them:
stretchy 1 in. sequin trim
2 kinds of ribbon
needle and thread
also bandaids (not shown)
The ribbon I matched to the shoe color and bought a wide organza ribbon and a narrower satin ribbon to add depth.
I had been intending to use just the ribbon, but when I saw this stretchy sequin trim at Walmart on sale, I snapped it up.
To experiment, I ruffled a little bit of the ribbon to see how it would look as just the ruffle. I liked it, but thought it didn't look like it had enough trim and would look just like...well...a ribbon on a shoe.
So I tried the sequin trim next, using pieces of tape to keep it in place while I decided how I liked it. Round?
Doing it in a V shape looked really cute!
Then with the ruffle on top?
I like that!
So the next step was to cut the sequin trim and glue each end just inside the shoe under the toe...
...stretching down the center to make the V shape and glueing it in place with a dot of hot glue.
To make the ruffle, I held the 2 ribbons together and rolled up the end.
Then secured it with a few stitches...
...and started weaving the needle through the center of the 2 layers of ribbon.
After a bit, pull the thread through and pull tight - and there's a ruffle!
I kept ruffling and holding it up to the shoe until it was as long as I wanted.
Then I cut the ribbon, leaving a 2 in. end, which I rolled up as at the beginning and stitched together.
The complete ruffle:
The next step was to arrange it how I wanted on the shoe, and glue it in place.
That's more my style! I love feminine shoes.
Here's the difference:
Of course then I repeated the process for the other shoe.
One word of experience, however! I found that it is painful to try to put a foot in a shoe with sequins on the inside. Painful. But there is a remedy - and that is nice thick bandaids. I put bandaids on the inside top of my shoe over each end of the sequin trim, and that took care of the pain although it's still slightly bulky. But next time I'll use braid or lace or something soft!
Overall, I was very pleased with the result. The sequins add some glitz, fitting right against the shoe toe, and the ruffle blends right in.
And for 25 cents + a little, who can complain? Creativity sparks under those conditions. :-)
I love hats with lots of style, especially tilt hats from the 1930s and '40s. Unfortunately, most times they are the most expensive to buy because the seller, even if he or she doesn't know what they are worth, think that they look like they should be expensive! And it's true. The amazing creativity of hats from that era always has fascinated me, and the endless varieties of shape, style, and embellishments make hat collecting a never ending pursuit.
But it's so much fun to make your own!
So this month, I'll show you how to turn a plain, 100% wool beret (the type that can be bought cheaply, compared to fancy vintage ones) into an elegant tilt hat just the type worn in the 1930s and '40s - perfect for costumes - with plenty of personality. And of course, if you make it, you get to decide how it will look and be trimmed.
Tilt hats were always worn on the top of the head, usually - hence the name - tilted to one side. It could be tilted a little or as far down as one eyebrow. They could be wide brimmed or small, made of most hat materials. The hat's shape lent itself to this and usually featured a small lap of the hat's fabric under the brim or edge of the back. In the 1930s, since it had just evolved from the very close fitting 1920s flapper hats, small tilt hats were very popular, often worn well pulled down, and could be plainer for travel wear or very elaborate. When you make your own, the style and trimming is up to you.
To make your own, you will need:
1 plain 100% wool beret
something for a hat form (I covered a tin container with foam and bubble wrap, but a styrofoam life-size head would work too since you can stick pins in it and it will give a better idea of how the finished hat will look on a real head)
long, sturdy pins
vintage flowers, veils, ribbons, etc, for trimming
Reshaping the Beret
We're starting with experimenting with different styles, so we won't wet the hat yet.
Here's a "before" photo of the plain beret:
The most important part of making a round hat into a tilt hat is making the back higher than the front. Since all tilt hats had a lap or tongue of hat fabric out the back, we will try to do the same by refolding the hat.
Here's its original shape:
And this is how the brim looks underneath:
What you'll want to do is find the back of the hat, usually indicated by the brim lining overlapping, and refold it just at the back so that it has as much extra as possible. In this case I could only get it an inch wider because of the sweatband coming into view.
This will make the back taller than the front, which is what you want.
Pin it on the hat form as you are holding it.
Now you can start experimenting with the front. There are quite a few ways to do it, and here are a few.
View 1. Mark the center front. Crease the hat on either side of the center on the brim, which will fold the tip of the hat down to make a point, kind of like a newsboy hat.
View 2. Make an assymetrical hat by folding down one side of the front several times, and as that will pull on the rest of the hat, shape it in creases. I used a pin to keep it in shape.
View 3. Make it sailor style by bending down the center and making a point in the front.
There are of course other ways to fold and pin it. If you try pinning it with safety pins, you can even try it on and decide what looks best and is most becoming.
I went with view 2, or as closely as I could replicate it.
To set it, wet the beret completely and thoroughly. With your hat form on a towel, reshape it and pin it as you go. As you set it now, it will dry, so smooth out any lumps or dents you don't want.
Put a fan on it and let it completely dry, which may take as long as overnight. Then unpin it. Here's mine:
Now the fun part begins! I first experimented with a large gauze ribbon flower on a bow.
It worked, but didn't look quite Period.
So my next try was with a vintage veil that had a large, flat flower in the center of it, and added a small bundle of iridescent feathers.
The feathers added a touch of color and the way they curved along the brim emphasized the front point.
I decided to keep it like this, but fastened the veil and feathers on with safety pins on the inside of the hat, which means I can unpin it any time I want to redo the hat's trimmings. Much easier than gluing or sewing!
So that's how to add a great, classy costume piece to your 1930s or '40s collection, without breaking the bank! It's no ordinary beret now. :-)
Till next month,
~Kristen - Verity Vintage Studio
Look for my new tutorials posted sometime during the first full week of every month. Hairstyles, crafts, repurposing, vintage themed, etc.