Saturday, October 16, 2010

My try at DIY

My birthday was in August (a beautiful month), and I was given a pair of red TOMS just like I've always wanted.  They were even the right size, or, they were the size I thought I needed after trying on a pair in a boutique in South Carolina.  Well, I put my new shoes on, and I oohed and aahed over their simple comfort, but then I noticed that the right shoe felt at least a half size bigger.  Mom and I figured that it had been stretched out due to people trying it on in the store so much.  I went back to the store to see if I could exchange my shoes for a pair that fit well on both feet, but the store's policy doesn't allow returns or exchanges.  The girl at the register suggested I try back when the owner would be in, but I'd already been scheming of how to fix these shoes myself...

You see, when I'd tried my shoes on for the first time, my jeans got stuck between my heel and the back of the shoe.  In that situation, my shoes felt perfect.  So, what if I could put some extra fabric there at the heel to take up the extra space and make the shoes fit?  What if I used an old pair of jeans?

One day when none of my family was home, I took out the shoes and a pair of jeans.

What to do when your TOMS are too big : Lindsay Eryn

Here's how I started out.  I drew along the edge of the lip of the shoe's heel with a Sharpie so I'd know where to cut the jean.  I knew that this was going to be quite an altering surgery, but I wanted the jean to be as invisible as possible.

What to do when your TOMS are too big : Lindsay Eryn

I cut along the line I drew and placed in the shoe and tried it on (I tested and adjusted many times through the process).  It still felt pretty loose.  I found that I would need 3 or more scraps of jean for the shoe to fit snugly.  I thought that using the folded part at the hem of the jean would create more of a lip to keep my heel from sliding, so I cut that off to use, too.

Fixing my TOMS

By this time, my work space (the kitchen table) was a mess, but the weather was lovely and the door was open, so it was ok.

What to do when your TOMS are too big : Lindsay Eryn

What was not ok was trying to sew these 3-4 pieces of thick fabric together with my unskilled hand and a sharp threaded needle.  After only a few tries, I knew that this was not going to work.  My mind had strayed to Dad's old sewing machine a few times when I had been plotting this plan, but I didn't think I'd have to use it.  Experience proved differently.

The only times I've used a sewing machine was when Mrs. Gina, a friend of my parents', kept my sister and I for a couple days.  She was trying to teach us how to sew.  We made pillow cases and a plush nativity scene "all by ourselves."  I've also seen my dad sew a few odds and ends (fixing holes, piecing together large pieces of camouflage cloth, and the like), so I sort of knew how to use this bulky machine I was lugging up from the basement.  I sort of did not know what I was doing wrong when I was trying to get this loop of thread to connect with this part of the machinery, and, gah, I've been messing with this for an hour already?

Trying to use a sewing machine : Lindsay Eryn

Yes, it was a whole hour.  I had gone back down to the basement to look for the instruction manual, but I didn't find it.  Thank goodness for the internet: I found the manual online.  It's descriptions and pictures and FAQs still weren't helping, though, and I started to get worried when I read other sewing sites giving advice about taking the machine to a specialist and getting the bobbin put back in time.  I really did not want to tell my parents I broke our sewing machine.

I decided to just go for it, just put the cloth in and step on the pedal to see what happened, well, it worked.  I made a nasty web of the thread by not keeping the cloth moving consistently, but it worked!

Trying to use a sewing machine : Lindsay Eryn

I don't know how to sew.  This is really a crappy job, but, this was going on the inside of my shoe where no one would see it, so that doesn't matter.  I didn't plan this whole thing out as well as I could have, but the end result wasn't too bad. 

Tailoring my TOMS : Lindsay Eryn

I had a big mess to clean up, but I was proud of myself for besting that beast of a sewing machine, for figuring out how to fix a problem, and for being resourceful.  I have since attached velcro to the shoe and the jean fabric so that it stays put with no problem.  This solution has worked out pretty fine for me so far, but I think I added one too many layers of cloth to my left shoe and one too few to my right.  I could always take velcro off and the seams apart to fix it, but, I worked so hard to get them the way they are, I think they'll stay this way forever.

My dog was thoroughly not entertained through this whole ordeal.

My beautiful dog Riley

And, just for free, this is a picture of the serenity that my revamped room offered in the almost-evening of a perfect summer day.

My bedroom : Lindsay Eryn

{Images by me}


  1. Ha, good job :)
    Those sewing machines can be tricky. Especially threading them.

  2. Haha! Way to photo-document the process. My sewing machine and I are battling it out now, but I will win.


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