December 26th, 2012 by Monica Murgia
DIY Shoe Repair
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” That pesky English proverb has a great deal of truth to it. I faced my own sort of dilemma this week. My Ugg boots, which I have had for many years, developed a hole. Say what you will about Ugg boots. But these boots have served me very well. I mostly wear them around the house as slippers. In the winter months, they are especially treasured. (Particularly when I lose heat and electricity for several days. Extreme weather often attacks my house!)
So here was my dilemma: I loved my boots, and had no money for a new pair or an expensive repair. The boots weren’t in such terrible shape. They have lots of signs of wear, but could easily last a few more winters. So I decided to fix them myself. Now, just a warning. I am not a designer. I cannot operate a sewing machine to save my life. While I can hand stitch, my skills are not noteworthy. I have never repaired a shoe before. But I am a very determined person. Once I’ve decided to do something, there is no stopping me. So I set out to repair my shoes. So first, I stitched the hole with a needle and thread.
This solved the problem of the fleece escaping from the interior of the shoe. It also prevented the hole from getting bigger. But it looked so, well . . . SAD. I cleaned the surface with some suede cleaner, but knew that the boots needed more. I figured it would be easy enough to reinforce the toe. If I just bought an old pair of leather shoes and cut them to pieces, the work would practically finish itself.
GHTime Code(s): nc nc
Enter these green suede flats. I found them at a local thrift store for $4.94. They had never been worn. Either way, it didn’t matter. I was only interested in getting the raw materials for the cheapest price.
Ok, now what? My plan was to cut the suede out and simply put the toe cap over my pair of boots. So I got out my scissors. I cut along a seam that was at the back heel, and carefully cut the leather free from the sole of the shoe.
After cutting, I was left with suede, and the small seam was still attached to the sole. See the photo below:
It turns out the toe cap was the wrong shape to cover my boots. But the sides of the suede piece were definitely interesting. I played around and positioned the suede piece over the shoe several times until I figured out how to make my own toe cap. I marked the suede with a ballpoint pen before cutting it any more. (I told you, I am in no way a professional shoe repairer.)
I cut out the shape. Much to my delight, it fit correctly!
So, I was ready to sew the suede onto my boot. Another problem presented itself. Sewing leather and suede usually requires a special needle. My boots were not an issue, since the suede was thin from wear. But the green suede from the new shoes was really thick. All this, and my leather needle was no where to be found. I also couldn’t secure the piece in place with straight pins. The pins kept bending and wouldn’t puncture through all the layers of fleece and suede. So I got really professional, and pulled out the super glue. . . .
Thankfully, it worked. It was a bit tricky to line up the suede with wet super glue. But all went well. I repeated the same process for the other boot. Voilà!
I still plan on stitching the suede down once I find my leather needle. However, the glue keeps all the pieces securely in place without the need of specialty pins and other devices that aren’t in my budget. And just to spruce things up a bit more, I cut the seams off of the heel and glued them to the outside of the boots. Here is a side view:
Looks like I finished my shoe repair at just the right time. It just started snowing.