Peep Toes and Eye Heels

In these dark days of Winter, boredom has driven me to craft:

A year or two ago I had a dream about a high-heeled shoe with an eye on the heel, much like the re-creation above. The heel itself was a unicorn horn. I sketched it upon awakening, and while I no longer remember the dream, I remember the drawing. I recently obtained polymer clay, a glue gun, and plastic eyes, to make these:

I didn’t make the shoes themselves; they are dance shoes I bought used for $5 at the local theater’s annual sale a few years ago. The eyes are plastic, which complicated things; the Fimo clay I shaped around them needs to be baked in an oven to harden, but the plastic would melt, so I had to make aluminum foil dummies. Also, they are life-size, which I think is too small. So I ordered some robust oven-safe 20mm glass irises, which finally arrived today, allowing me to make these:

I bought these shoes online, the red ones new, the brown ones used, both made of plastic and very cheap. I’m still developing my eye-making technique, getting closer to what I want. And when I reach my goal, I’ll…what? Look into mass production? I sure don’t want to spend my days hand-making Fimo shoe eyes, but injection-molded ones might be cool. Then people could hot-glue them to their own shoes, and my work would be done.

 

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Hand Sewing a Mask

Yes, you can sew a mask with no iron, no pins, and no sewing machine. Just a needle and thread, scissors, mask kit, and a lot of time. My trial run (photographed below) took a couple hours, giving me plenty of time to catch up on podcasts. I could probably learn to do it faster, but one was enough for me.

To hand sew, more or less follow the instructions here, but knot your thread every time, and avoid any extra stitching. Remember that screen printing stretches and distorts the fabric a little, so the pieces won’t line up perfectly. The important bit is to get those center seams properly aligned. Don’t worry about the rest being wonky, it will all come out OK. I used a simple running stitch:

Notice that I still sewed a little bit inside the print area. It looks better when it’s turned inside-out, trust me.

When I sewed the two faces together, I started at the center seam, which allowed me to skip the pins. Hand sewing is slow and meditative, and allows you to gradually align the fabric as you go, instead of pinning everything before. But you can still use pins if you prefer.

I also skipped the iron, and just finger-pressed. Of course you can still use an iron if you want.

You can skip the top stitching, although my Momz says that without it, the masks sort of puff up in the laundry and have to be re-ironed. I whip-stitched mine after turning it inside out:

Above, you can see the running-stitched nose wire channel.

The result is a perfectly good, very time-consuming mask, and that surprising sense of satisfaction that comes from making something entirely by hand.

 

 

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Chad Gadya embroidermation progress

embroidermation

A wee taste of the progress Theo and I are making on our “Chad Gadya” embroidermation project.

goat

Frames of the animation are stitched in groups of 6, arranged in a circle on matzo covers. We currently have 516 frames on 86 matzo covers, which I painstakingly finished by hand with multiple fabric layers and labels and everything.

Matzo covers

We hired Theo’s daughter, Emma, to help. Here she is ironing away while I adjust a lining.

NinaEmmaMatzoCovers

Here I am topstitching one of the 86 covers on a treadle sewing machine.

NinaHemsCover

We have a lot of additional photography, stitchcoding and stitching to do, but we are making progress. When the film is done the matzo covers will be for sale.

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