Replica Slippers

As can be seen above, at present there is little to report on the progress of my replica slippers. Some time ago I restarted the left shoe, and I’m now closing in on completing the second toe (finally). Let’s just hope this time, I’m satisfied.

All that being said, I was recently asked by a slipper friend to provide a more detailed guide of my sequining process, so I thought it best to share it here.

On the photo to the left, you’ll notice, for every line of sequins I sew, I place a line of blue painter’s tape, to ensure the lines are perfectly straight. (I usually thin the tape moreso than in the photo to allow it to follow the curves of the shoe more easily.) In laying down the tape, I always make sure the measurement between the center of the last line of sequins, and the edge of the tape (which will effectively become the measurement from the center of one sequin to the middle of that next to it once they are sewn into position) is always, consistently, 4.5 mm. Sometimes it is a hair less, but never more. This provides an ever-so-slight overlap of the sequins, which follows the authentic pattern found on the original shoes, particularly the Smithsonian left shoe, and the Witch’s shoes. It’s most important that this measurement is consistent along the length of the tape, so the resulting line of sequins is always parallel. Anything over 4.5mm, and there will be gaps between sequins, particularly up near the shoe opening.

As I thread each individual sequin, I make sure that its bottom edge rests just along the top edge of the threading hole of the sequin below it.

Once in position, I mark just above the sequin with a Sharpie. (I use red, just in case it might get on the shoe.)

I then pull the threaded sequin away from the shoe, and sew RIGHT next to the marked line. This ensures that the sequin ends up in exactly the right place. I then pull the thread through, making sure the sequin is in the right position, as they have a tendency to want to lay in the opposite direction.

Then repeat this process 4,599 times, or so! While different authentic shoes seem to have different sequining patterns, – the right Smithsonian shoe and Bauman pairs are notably more jumbled than others, with the sequins overlapping much more so, vertically, than on other pairs- this sequining pattern above most closely matches the pattern found on the left Smithsonian shoe, along with large areas of the Witch’s shoes.

The same process, as applied on the toe.

This technique works well up the sides of the shoes. Both the heels and toes, are slightly more difficult. For the toe, the tape must be cut as slender as possible (about 2mm, or smaller), and applied to allow the sequins to follow the authentic design. The same technique can be used on the heels as well. Be careful that the tape does not touch the previously sewn sequins; it will stick to them very firmly, and may pull the strands loose when the tape is removed.

Hopefully others find this guide, short as it is, helpful!

Image: Time Warner / Warner Bros.