In These Shoes? I don’t think so…

I once met a man with a sense of adventure

He was dressed to thrill wherever he went

He said “Let’s make love on a mountain top

Under the stars on a big hard rock”

I said “In these shoes?

I don’t think so”

-In These Shoes, Kirsty MacColl

Since ladies entered the ‘butt-kicking ring’ they’ve had some pretty interesting attire, I will grant you that. In an attempt to keep a heroine feminine and often ‘sexy’, costume designers and comic book artists alike have made some pretty impractical choices. There is one staple of these outrageous duds however that I will always defend: The heel.

I am absolutely sick of hearing the criticism, “You can’t do that in heels!”

To these people I say THIS!

Why am I so adamant that this view is wrong? Well let me explain. If you’re saying “running, jumping, climbing trees, putting on make-up while you’re up there” (Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill) isn’t possible in heels, you are probably suffering from one of the following: A) You don’t know how to move in heels, B) You’re buying the wrong heels.

If you don’t know how to move in heels, it’s all a matter of practice. Practice, practice, practice. Remember that it’s toe-to-heel, not heel-to-toe like how you would walk normally. It’s a completely gear shift when it comes to the locomotion of movement, so it’s okay if you haven’t quite perfected it yet. Most weight should be distributed to the balls of your feet. If you can feel your heel shake when you walk–you need to shift your weight distribution. If you have access to a full length mirror, as silly as it sounds, walking in front of it to keep an eye on your ankles is pretty helpful! Something to remember is when running you are usually completely on the balls of your feet anyway!

As for finding the right heels? I grew up with the philosophy of never buying a pair of shoes I can’t run in. So here are things I’ve learned to consider:

1. Height – This is pretty much a no-brainer. Heels come in all different heights and you should NEVER buy a pair that’s taller than what you’re comfortable with. Work your way up to those 6-inchers. Stand on the balls of your feet. It’s usually wise to stick to a shoe that doesn’t raise your foot higher than that–otherwise you’ll be thrown off balance. If you’re looking for more height but less strain on your arch, try looking into something with a bit of a platform to it. An extra inch without pitching your center of gravity quite as forward.

Go-Go Boots tend to be a good example of this rule. Heel height varies but even the lower of the spectrum engages the calf in a way that gives it that great shape you get with heels.

2. Width – Walking around on a pin-point is not only difficult, it’s uncomfortable–plus you run that fantastic risk of breaking the heel itself or worse, your ankle. So it’s always a good plan to consider the width of the heel. The more surface area of the shoe, the more balanced you’re likely to feel.
In this respect wedge heels are a rather handy weapon to have. You have height and elegance but still relatively the same surface area connecting to the ground as you would with a normal shoe.
Width is also important because it will add to the stability of the heel. When purchasing a pair of heels, always grip the heel and make sure it’s attached firmly to the shoe regardless of how thick it is.

3. Tread – Shoes need traction–and I don’t just mean those little rubber pads you can buy separately and stick on the bottom of your dress shoes, I mean actual treads. More and more I’ve been seeing women’s shoes that actually have traction and thus eliminate that worry of slipping on carpet and falling on your rear–or face, if you’re like me and prone to the least graceful of pratfalls. If you can’t visually tell if a shoe has good tread–and sometimes you can’t–put them on and try to slide your feet in them. If they don’t move easily–or at all–then they make a good grip with the floor–which means they won’t slide from beneath you when you’re taking down that gang of Two-Face’s Goons.

4. Security – By security, of course, I mean “How does this shoe secure to your feet?” Straps, laces, doesn’t matter–however it latches on, it needs to do so as firmly as possible. A shoe that slips off your heel or has an ankle strap with too much give means you run the risk of your foot contorting inside the shoe, or the shoe getting out of alignment with the bottom of your foot–which means injury, injury, injury! So be sure when you try them on to raise your foot and give them a shake. How much does the shoe move around? This is usually easiest to tell when sitting down.

5. Comfort – Of course this is a factor. Just because it’s a nice shoe doesn’t mean it should be uncomfortable! Will you be wearing socks/tights/nylons with it? Is it comfortable with that kind of attire–is it comfortable barefoot. Don’t ignore little pinches! Yes, all shoes need to be broken in a little but those little pinches won’t go away with time! You should never sacrifice your poor tootsies just because you think a shoe is pretty. We’ve all done it–let’s put a stop to it.

The key really just to make sure you try on the shoes before buying them–which yes, we all do–but when you try them on–actually try them! Can you jump? Do you feel like you’re going to slip? How do you have to adjust to stand comfortably? They’re simple enough rules but people tend to forget them. But if you keep them in mind and remember they aren’t just for looks, soon you too will have a shoe collection that one of our masked mademoiselles would envy!

Then I met an Englishman
“Oh” he said
“Won’t you walk up and down my spine,
It makes me feel strangely alive.”
I said “In these shoes?
I doubt you’d survive.”

-In These Shoes, Kirsty MacColl

Photo on 2011-04-30 at 01.31

Gluing Latex

Hello all,

A while ago I had posted up a little bit about how I wanted to start making latex costumes. Well, I have gotten in all the materials and have been trying to practice and master my craft. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how to actually glue seams on a latex accessory or costume to get the best results.

There are two different kinds of glues used when making latex outfits. A water based or solvent based adhesive. For a more stretchy or for gluing on details that won’t get too much stress I would go for the water based, also known as Liquid Latex. For a stronger, watertight bond I would go with the solvent based, which you can tell when you read a rubber cement that has a material called Hepatane in it. Both are good to use but it just depends on what you are using them for.
I use a solvent based adhesive called Best Test, which you can order online if you can’t find in your local art store, or if you are not in the states you can find a rubber cement called Bostik, which is very strong and durable.

The trick to gluing a seam is prep. Clean both sides of the seam with a solvent, like Heptane or Bestine, and let it dry. Then spread the glue on the seam so that it is evenly spread (sometimes using a credit card can be effective is making sure there are no spots that are not covered by the glue). Wait about 5 min for the glue to dry and get sticky and then slowly attach the two sides together. Once they are attached pinch along the seam to make sure it is evenly distributed or you can even use a wooden roller to get a cleaner look. Make sure you clean the seam with the solvent to get any extra glue and just wait for it to dry. It is best if you wait 24 hours to really let the glue adhere to itself.

Now you have a really strong seam that should last.

For more information on gluing or making latex costumes be sure to check out my blog, which is solely dedicated to me sharing my info I find.

Thanks for reading and happy diy-ing
Jess DP

Latex Glove

Latex Costuming

In the mainstream media today we are seeing more and more alternative clothing popping up and I think that is awesome because for designers and cosplay enthusiasts we are getting more credibility to our interest in costumes.  It was shown recently that spandex, PVC, latex, and other materials are showing up more and more.  For me especially I was excited because I have always been interested in latex clothing.  It wasn’t until I got to actually wear my first outfit for a costume party that I realized that I may be able to make some more simple stuff myself.  This was when the idea struck me!  Since I will be attending SDCC this year and I am not swimming in money, then maybe I could attempt to try and make my own costume out of latex.

This whole endeavor took about 2 weeks to get together.  Plenty of research about what to get and where to get it.  It was very exhausting.  Then came the waiting for my packages of latex sheeting, rubber cement glue, thinner and clothing patterns to arrive in the mail.  It literally took me about an hour to make my first piece as a trial to see how this whole process will be in the future.

For the crafty people out there I would like to break it down for you.  This is not as easy as it looks and I did loads of planning to get me on the right track but it is not impossible to get these materials and make some cool stuff yourself.

This is what it took for me..

  • Latex sheeting was ordered from a place called MJTrends
  • Best Time Rubber Cement/Bestine Thinner from Pearl Paint – used to glue the seams and thin the glue for thinner latex and for cleaning
  • Mineral Spirits from Home Depot – used for cleaning seams
  • Rotary Knife/Cutting board/Scissors/Rulers from Walmart – used to make clean cuts
  • Patterns from Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store

You simply pick out a pattern. Trace it onto your sheet of latex and then cut it out.  Figure out where the seams will be glued and clean them with either the thinner or mineral spirit.  Take a paint brush or q-tip and spread a thin layer on your seam on both sides that will be coming together.  Wait 5 min and then attach them together.  Make sure to apply pressure to the seam or even use a small seam roller to make sure the glue bonds to itself.  It works best if you let the seam sit overnight and then Presto!

In my case the glove was then shined with some lube, which also allows for it to stretch without breaking, and I fit it over my hand to give you the picture you see below.

So for my first attempt was making a fingerless glove, called a gaunlet.

I did get a chance with some of the extra pieces to make a little bow on the bottom to give it a little bit of flare.

I feel really confident to give this a serious try.  My goal is to have a costume made for Comic-Con and hopefully with great success.

For my next trick I am going to try and make a slightly more complicated piece and I will be sure, now that I know more of what I am doing, to put up pictures step by step of what I did and why.
Until next time.. This is Jess D.



Geek Nouveau: Mighty Fine Tees and the Women of X-Men

I am obsessed with Art Nouveau, always have been, to the point of having my tattoo done to look like Tiffany stained glass, and I’ve been known to spend hours staring at galleries of Alphonse Mucha’s work. The vivid but subtle use of color, the serene fluidity of form and shapes.

I’m also a huge fan of  Marvel’s X-Men, especially the women of the X-Men ‘verse. Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Emma Frost, Jubilee, X-23. . . the list goes on, because I like women who are complicated, who aren’t always nice, and who can embrace their own power, even if it’s not always easy to do so.

To my delight, Mighty Fine Tees has taken Megan Lara’s lushly gorgeous illustrations of the iconic Phoenix and Mystique, and made Nouveau-style tees that are nothing more or less than wearable art. Before revealing the next illustration in the Women of X-Men series, there is a contest, with the grand prize of all three shirts, and runners-up getting their choice of one shirt (Phoenix, Mystique, or ???.)

Being a girl who geeks out over many things that may not be considered especially geeky, I always love it when worlds collide, and my interests become a mash-up that is so much more than the sum of its parts. With the recent surge of high-quality, Nouveau-style illustrations of geek subjects, I can only hope that we’ll continue to see an appreciation for Art Nouveau and Geek Nouveau. These tees are worthy of the SQUEE OF DOOM™  (audible only to dogs and bats, and known to shatter glass.)

Darth Jenn

Happy Halloween!


Nerdy Pet Costumes, Anyone?

We’ve seen many a princess puppy or pirate cat prance around on Halloween.  These pale in comparison to the amount of awesome and geeky that went into this simple, yet brilliant costume.

Esther from Villain School Dropout has been known to occasionally dress her little buddy, Brian, in some fun doggy attire. This time, however, she’s taken a Happy Dwarf doll, cut off its cheeks:

And combined it with a piece of fabric cut from a brown dress to make Brian into a tiny little Ewok:

Our hats are off to you, Esther. Just brilliant.

Do you dress your pets for Halloween? Post your pics!

♥ JackieBee


Hey guys, sorry for my absence.  I promise to get back into the regular DiY posts here very soon. If you have any requests/suggestions, please let me know!

For now, let’s look at some very simple, but vibrant Halloween makeup:

This is the kind of easy process anyone can do, and anyone can customize. I went with a pink and black theme, specifically, to go with my hair there. If you’re lost on a Halloween costume.. this is always fun and simple.

♥ jackiebee

Unzipped makeup

In the spirit of Halloween I thought I would share this awesome tutorial… It is about the unzipped look from Mac a few years ago. Enjoy!

Jess D. (1/2 of Hooked On Veg)

Come on a Veg-tastic Voyage with us!


Random Thought of the Day…!

•  ‧ ☆ ☼   •

I’m gonna be a serial killer for Halloween! Now if I can just think of a Halloween costume……….


NYCC – Day 3 in Photos

Day 3 for me was mostly wandering the center and checking out the cool costumes people were wearing. I did go to one panel though, for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

Autograph Alley. This was the line to get James Marsters’ autograph.

Dungeons & Dragons. There were several campaigns being played throughout the weekend, plus a few tables dedicated to teaching beginners the basics of the game.

Team Rocket

The X-Men. Nice Gambit.

Tomb Raider

Phoenix was what first caught my attention here, but I liked all of their costumes.

Batman & Robin. I thought it was cute that the kid was Batman, even though Robin was the kid in the comics.

Walking Dead panel

First we got some background information from the producer, director, and writer.

Then the cast joined us for insight on their characters.

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