I got the creative, money-saving idea to make my next costume for the Austin Writers Roulette “Walk in Another’s Shoes” event. At the time, I hadn’t received my federal refund to rent or buy used outlandish shoes. So, I brainstormed wrapping my boots in decorated cloth.
Foolish me actually thought the decorating would take more time. I envisioned hand-sewing the cut ends of the cloth while watching TV. I even contacted a friend who loves crafting. She put me ahead of the game by sewing most of the hems on the two wraps and 12 ties, which really deluded me into thinking I’d have the entire costume sewn up, so to speak, in a matter of hours.
I feared making buttonholes by hand; so I put off the task for a week. Since I’d planned to attend a creative meetup where a costume designer would be present, I figured I’d get her opinion. In the meantime, I consulted one of my sisters who used to be an avid seamstress about making buttonholes by hand. Since she lives in another state, she talked me through the whole technique and answered my naive questions. During this conversation, I began to have an inkling of what I’d gotten myself into.
A few days later, the costume designer schooled me on a couple of things. First of all, the “wraparound boot skirts” were officially called “gaiters.” Gaiters are defined as protective gear worn over the shins. Since my creative endeavor was in no danger of being protective, I felt that my poetic name for them was better.
Secondly, the costume designer suggested the time-saving tip of removing two of the six ties on each wrap in order to sew them closer to where they could tie for a snugger fit. That way, I could avoid the whole handmade buttonhole business!
Somehow, I became illogical after completing this first hurdle. I honestly thought I could decorate the gaiters in less time than I’d made them. I even researched how to attach the feathers, which was a a good thing since none of the research showed anyone using a hot glue gun…my original thought. In the end, I used a combination of heavy-duty double-sided tape, used to hang stuff on the walls, and HAND-SEWING!
Fortunately, the AISD superintendent called a snow day, which meant my evening Adult Basic Education class was canceled. I spent over 5 hours arranging those feathers, taping them down, then reinforcing the entire shebang by hand-stitching the taped feathers to the cloth.
Oh. My. God. From threading the needle to driving that needle through layers of material with a thimbled finger, never has sewing been such a torturous endeavor!Granted, it was all worth the effort. After all, I’d spent less than $10 on materials, but that’s not counting my time. As usual.
My wraparound boot skirts were a big hit that transcended species. An adorable English bulldog puppy named Lily could barely contain her enthusiasm. In my yoga class, the instructors often talk about “English bulldog determination.” I got to experience first-hand, thanks to my footwear costume.