Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Make it Better: Adding Buttons to Cheap Shoes DIY

Shoes from Kate Spade
Adorning an inexpensive pair of flats makes them look a bit more expensive.

There are a million different items one can add to her shoes, but choosing something to add that looks expensive is the best bet, as the adornment will catch the eye. I've tried versions of this with fabric, ribbon, and beads, but none of those options have ended up adding an expensive look to the shoe -- in most cases, they ended up making the shoes look cheaper. I would love to add vintage shoe clips, but all the pairs I've found at the flea market have been pretty pricey, and while I love the idea of adding a pair of clip-on earrings, I'm afraid of the clip hurting my toes, or the earring falling off, or having to disassemble a pretty earring to attach it to the shoe.

When I stopped into a button store in the Fashion District to replace a missing button on my pea-coat a few months ago, I was quite taken with some of the beautiful buttons they sell. Some are so pretty that they deserve to be showcased as more than an utilitarian object. I considered a few ways I could make use of the buttons, but after picking up a pair of ballet flats for $12, I realized the buttons were perfect for improving these shoes.

Supplies needed:
-A needle and strong thread. The kind I used is too thick to go through the sewing machine, and can only be used for hand-sewing.
-Something to punch holes. I used a hammer and an awl, but if one does not have an awl, a large nail should work.
-Something to protect the inside of the shoe when the holes are punched. I used a sandpaper block, but many objects will do -- it just needs to be something small enough to fit in the shoe.
-Two buttons. Look for more decorative buttons with holes that are hidden at the back. Also, bigger sizes look better as they are more in proportion to the shoe. Mine are glass buttons from M&J Trimmings, and cost $8 each.

With the sandpaper block inserted into the toe of the shoe, I punched two holes at the center, close to the opening. Placing the holes close to the opening will make the button lay part on the shoe with a bit of the edge hanging over the foot. If my button were bigger, as in the top photo, I would have placed it at the center of the toe section on the shoe, but since it is a little smaller, this placement is a little more grown-up than if placed in the middle.

I finished by sewing the buttons on in the same way I would sew them to a coat -- circling the thread around the stitches at the base of the button a couple times after every couple full stitches. This steadies the button to prevent it from flopping around as one walks.

Now the shoes feel a bit dressed up, and the glass buttons make them look a bit more expensive than they did before. With the right color combinations, one could easily imitate the lovely Kate Spade shoes, and save herself hundreds of dollars.

Total cost: $28

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea of changing my shoes and making them more elegant. Now I can use all of those beautiful buttons and/or earrings that I love but have lost their mates. Thank you for this suggestion. It is a very updated 1950's look.



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