(Image: Time Warner / Warner Bros.)

I must admit, here and now, these shoes are proving more challenging than I ever expected, and I never thought they would be easy! It seems the pattern I established with the left shoe, has repeated itself with the right. I have removed and resewn all the work found there as well. Let me try and explain some of the process I’ve gone through.

Replica Slippers

Beginning on the shoes, I used painter’s tape to mark out the first line of sequins. The tape actually doesn’t stick to the georgette much at all, so it doesn’t leave any sticky residue, although it does have a tendency to take off some of the red paint on the soles, so I will have to touch them up once the sequining is complete. Once I establish the first line of sequins, I follow that line as a guide for each subsequent row, maintaining the angle (as best I can) around the shoe. While, in theory, this would be fairly straightforward, it’s really not, as the shoe, obviously is not a flat surface. This is one area where creating a proper overlay, as was originally done, would have it’s advantages, as straight lines are much more easily established, and maintained, on flat surfaces (of course) than on the shoe itself. So, I have to constantly check that the angle the design wants to take, due to the shape of the shoe, is authentic with that found on the original shoes. That is where the extremely high-resolution photos of the Smithsonian shoes have been so helpful, as I can see exactly what the design should look like, and make sure I am maintaining the same design.

Left Smithsonian Shoe (Image: The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes)

Yet, knowing all of that, I can only guesstimate the first line of sequining, and on the second shoe, I seem to have guessed incorrectly. (If only I’d known at the time!) Working forward from my initial line, upon reaching the toe I found my lines were going across the toe in a slight curve, rather than cutting across it in the angle of the original. So, the work had to be removed and redone to give the design the proper angle, and therefore authenticity. This cycle of trial, error, and repair is probably why I’ve received comments from people who suspect the project is not advancing. It is, but perfection takes time!

To establish the proper line on the shoes (for those who might use the same method to create the slippers, or even for those who would like to glue their sequins), I’ve found it’s best to start this line along the side of the shoe just behind the toe (about at the front of the opening for the foot), as this seems to allow a consistant angle along the toe, and establish the proper angle for the side of the shoe. However, as I’ve worked back toward the heel, I find the shape of the shoe tends to lead to a slight rounding of the design, making maintaining the angle of the design difficult. This same slight rounding of the design is evident on the Smithsonian shoe, so, clearly, it was something the beading women at MGM also encountered when initially creating the shoes.

Replica Ruby Slippers

As of now, I have the left shoe well underway, roughly, 75% sequined. I am also approaching the finish of the right toe. From there, I will work back on both shoes, until I reach where the upper meets the heel. I then plan on sequining the lower heels, before I sequin the upper above, to allow the sequins on the upper to slightly overhang and cover the top threads on the lower heel. But that is a few weeks away yet! For those that are curious, my rate of sewing is about five to eight rows every day, and each shoe has, approximately, a hundred rows, so they take a lot of time!

Later, we will tackle the bows! Who else is excited?! Those have already been a barrel of fun I look forward to sharing, believe me!

(NOTE: Much of the technique described above would later prove faulty, and has since been revised, as the shoes were later entirely stripped and resequined. This post, and others like it, remain to accurately reflect my full experience of replicating the slippers.)

(Image: Time Warner / Warner Bros.)