Sunday, May 24, 2009

Swarovski Stilettos - Part 1

Why I think I need yet another pair of shoes goodness knows, actually after my gold dress pair pinching me at a show last week and not being able (for love, money or 27 shoe shops later) to find a suitable gold toned replacement that go with some of my favourite dresses.

I decided I needed a glam rhinestone pair.
So for my sins, finding a suitable sturdy plain pair that fit well and are comfortable, I decided to cover them in Swarovski Crystal Rhinestones to add a bit of glam.

I have done a pair before in the past, but only the heels and the toes ,which turned out really well but found that the toe crease tends to pop them off.

So this time went for a shoe that gave me a little bit of toe cleavage instead and hoping, fingers crossed, I wont have to carry around a little packet with extra rhinestones and glue to stick on errant ones that pop off.

As a friend was asking how it was done awhile back, thought I would blog it for her here.

Start off with a plain pair of firm shoes, leather based best but a firm pair of fabric shoes can work too or strappy sandals work well if your only doing the heel.

Takes around 300 x4.5mm stones to do two heels and 100 x 3mm + 100 x 2.8mm to finish them off. Time wise can take anything from 2-6hour depending on the pair of heels and size of stones,JUST to do the heel.
Too small a stone and you will be there all night.zzzzzz

For shoes as they would be to faffy to do with hot fix,I glue them on by hand and it's also cheaper than hot fix stones.

Stoning a high heel- roughly for a size 4:
Flat back stones*: 1500x4.5mm +250 x 3mm +100 x 2.8mm for one shoe

*Non hot fix Swarovski Crystals (colour LT Colo Topaz)used here from theCreative Bead CraftShop in Beak street London,UK.

Or I order on line from Crystal BeadsThey are cheaper,have a better colour and size range.But there are many other places on line that sell them too.

Glue:You need a glue that dries clear and wont melt the stones if your using plastic ones rather than glass. I use Appli Glue it is water based perminant washable glue that the bead shop sells, but I might use a stronger glue on the stones that get the most wear on the shoe if I need to, eg toe and inside shoe faces that can rub against each other but its far more tricksy to use. There is also Gem Tack but as yet I havent had the chance to use any so not sure how it fairs on shoes.

Cocktail sticks:Can chop the ends off for a blunt tool.

White tack:For the ends of the cocktail sticks.

Pins:Thin long dress making pins will do nicely.

Cotton thread: to help as a guide line.

For spraying: Hobby can of spray paint/Duct or Gaffa tape/Box to spray in or newspaper/Tinfoil/Mask

Swarovski Stilettos - Part 2

Spray painting the shoes:
If the shoe is not already the colour of the rhinestones you want to use, you may have to spray them with a hobby spray paint as a base colour (I tend to use a Plastic-Kote project paint from the paint isle in B&Q) that will work on the fabric of the shoe.

If they need soleing for grip whilst wear, best to take them to the cobbler first if they are new before stoning them as its hard for them to do it after and might ruin all your hard work.

If you wear insoles* to cushion your feet and the shoes are new, best to put them on now and walk around all evening in them, as there is nothing worse than finding out later that they hurt like hell and all your work is to waste.

*Oooh top tip form my gran, you might want to cutout where your toes go in your insoles, especially in heels, so they don’t cram your toes and will give them a bit of space over the insole lip to wriggle in the end, so you don’t get the dreaded toe cramp at the end of the evening.

I want to use these gold shoes I am doing here for photo work, as well as wear, so I am spraying the base to match, other wise I would mask off the base as well as the heel for normal use.

Masking off:
Before you start you will need to mask off the areas you don’t want painted with tape and give it a few coats so the colour is even.
Spraying in strokes and building up is better than spraying in one spot as the paint can run.

You can use masking tape, but it can tend to let the paint run if your a bit heavy handed with the spray can, the tape gets too damp and curls up at the edges letting in any further coats added and a furry smudged paint edge.

A plastic coated sticky tape (I tend to use duct tape rather than electrical tape as it tends to work better) can mask off the inside of the shoe up to the inside seam to stop paint being on the inside of the shoe and then flaking off on your stockings when wearing them later.
Painting the base can be tricksy to get the shoe to stand upright to be sprayed, if you stuff the shoe after its masked up, with scrunched up Tin Foil, it will mould to shoe/ ground and help the shoe stand while upside down ready to be sprayed.

When all coats completely dry take off the tape.

Swarovski Stilettos - Part 3

Start stoning:
Prepare your work area, lay the flat back stones out face up on a plate rather than on the table.

I use a cocktail stick with a small piece of white tack wrapped around the end to lift the stones and have a few ready for later, as the glue after a while will make it less tacky.

I also have a few cosmetic cotton buds (the pointy end ones or trim a normal one to a small point) ready to mop up any excess glue that leeks from under the stone.

Then get comfortable, as sticking these little suckers on takes hours, It takes me around ten hours to do one shoe!


I tend to start on the heel first at the base and work around and up the heel from the inside to the outer edge as I get further up.

The small gaps at the edge can be filled with smaller flat backed stones to make it look neater.

I tend to do a few lines of stones on one shoe and then do a few lines on the other, just so they match in the end.

I found after doing one complete shoe for hours, its harder to remember where you started the first time with the other shoe and more difficult to get them to look even.

Swarovski Stilettos - Part 4

If I am stoning the whole shoe,I start next on the toe after I have done the heel.

To get a straight line of stones to start with I put two pins parallel, in the middle at the top and bottom of the seam edge of the shoe and then tie a piece of cotton around them, so I get two parallel lines as a guide to start sticking the stones in-between.

I don’t tend to use tape as it can either take off the paint on the shoe or leave a residue.

I find cotton thread easier to use as a guide but a masking tape or electrical tape can be used, just best to test first.

I stick a stone at the top first and work my way down to the toe and then do the other shoe.

From there I work from the top of the toe outward each side of the first parallel line, going around each shoe.

Glueing lines of stones on one shoe then the other in turns, gives time for the glue to dry in each line.

When you then get to do the next line it is dry and wont slide out of place and go wonky when pushing the next line of stones in place next to it.

All you need do is finish of the edges with the smaller stones to fill the gaps.

Leave to dry and lightly buff to bring out the shine when you have finished.
*I havent finished this pair yet as the shop had run out of stones and being a blinking bank holiday weekend. I will have to wait a week for them so I can finish.

Also this "How To" is listed On Instructables, one of my fave sites HERE

Retro Swimsuits

After losing my favourite red vintage swimsuit (not pictured) it was the spit of the cola girl one, and was stolen from my luggage from Sydney back to the UK two years ago in transit, along with a few pair of knickers!

I have been looking for ages for some good retro/vintage skirted swimsuits with no luck. So I was happy to find one spotty one that was close on Oli on line, of all places!

You would think what with so called Retro/Vintage making a comeback and the flattering shape for all sizes that would smooth over hips and flirt high thigh. Someone would be doing more of them? After a disappointing new swimwear range from Agent Provocateur , A trawl through charity shops, TK max, Vintage couture shops in London and online, I haven’t turned up a good one yet.

A few every now and then appear on EBay,(just got out bid on one mores the shame) but not seen hide nor hair of one in my favourite signature colour green as yet.

If they where good enough for Rita Hayworth(pictured) that’s good enough for me.

There might be only one thing for it and get one custom made!

The Pin up shoot- For 21st Century Pinups!

Pic from 21st Century

It took ages and when I say ages, I mean at least 12 hours of pouting, lashes, feathers and hot lights with 5 crates of outfits and not forgetting the shoes, and all this for a few promotional photos for postcard fliers for the online Magazine 21st Century Pin-Ups.Net it is a global e-zine for us gals, for all things in the Burlesque and Pin up world.

Not that I haven’t done shoots for people in the past that have taken just as long, but this one was tiring. Well worth the effort of everyone though and a big "Thank You" out to Vanessa Reece who did makeup and direction.

I love the way they came out (Have cheekly used the pin-up one for my blog photo as I like it so much, even managed to turn it green)

Holli-mae the Editor wanted a retro pin up look for her site/brand and after alot of dressing up and down, we finally got there, alot of red bull later and finishing at 2am !
The final winner for the Pin-up side of the post card flier, that worked was the red and white poka dot halter dress (after tucking in the halter)
I got it from Vivian’s of Holloway in Camden.
A very strange shop indeed(although wisper in the wind they are moveing), poked away along under some railway arches, on a mezzanine over a motor bike repair shop.How fab dresses and bikes to purve at!

All the dresses on the rails are bagged up ready to go out as it is mainly a whole sale business but you can go try things on in a curtained off communal back storage area.
At least there was a big mirror and the ladies there are really nice and helpful.
Unfortunately I couldn’t spend much time in there, parking meter and all that. So in the end didn’t stay and try on much more than I needed.Wich was a shame as I could have rail riffled for ages.

I was looking for a skirt too, even though they do tops, they don’t seem to do just skirts which you could mix and match, which is a shame other wise I probably have bought one or two for the summer.
 The Burly side of 21st Century PinUps.Net
The Final shot used for the Burlesque image on the reverse of the post card flier, was a net dress I had sewn on glass crystals that had come from a beaded curtain, to cover risky areas.

It has been lurking in my wardrobe for years and never really gets worn, as so many of the crystals have fallen off it now, that its far too risky to wear out without being arrested I am sure!

A Diamante tiara turned upside down to use as a choker and a Mask I bought in Venice used just for its feather headdress, put on back to front. A bit of powder, a glove and a necklace in my wig and all was set!

Think it turned out fairly well considering it was all black on a black background too!

All in all turned out well though despite all the misshaps (burned my arm on a hot light Ouch!)21:CP Pen

21:CP got the shots they needed for fliers and other little things like pens, which they use the laughing pin up shot/graphic,the one at the end we did just for a laugh.

It turned out so good that the pens are much sort after, so I hear. They are faily cute I must admit, will have to nick a few myself!

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London, United Kingdom
Lover of most things vintage and retro

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