At some point I managed to damage the heel on one of my Victorian boots. Cracked the front section of the heel clean off!

Now I’m sure I could take my boots to the local shoe repair man and have them fixed up in a jiffy, but why let someone else do something when I can try to fix it myself? (Please note, there is some sarcasm pointed at myself here – there is nothing wrong with paying the professionals to do what they do and if I wore these boots every day, I would. This is a temporary fix that I acknowledge may not even last an evening.).

This is where poly-clay comes in. Work it into shape, bake it in your oven and, in this case, apply the piece with sturdy glue.


After baking the piece (10 minutes for each 1/4″ of clay at 275 degrees – don’t over bake!) it’s is ready to be applied. I’m going to attach it with Gorilla Glue, which has epoxy-like qualities. Considering the boot material I *should* be able to pry it off without absolutely destroying the heel when it’s time to take it to a real cobbler.

I’ll let you know how this works out for me.


Getting the hair right is an important part of costuming and can make or break the look, particularly a period look. I’m a bit lazy by nature and love short-cuts that work. Besides, Zalphod* I’m not and, even with my current arrangement of arms, I do find working above my own head difficult. Luckily for us lazy-bones, many practical tutorials can be found in various places on the interwebs and particularly on YouTube.

Here is a quick Gibson Girl Tuck found via the blog Significant Randomness.


* If you didn’t get this reference that is me you hear sighing and see pointing you to your closest book vendor. I suggest you have someone read it out loud to you for full comedic effect.

I was over on Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing today and noticed a recent post about production line sewing and the joys of the rotary cutter and pattern weights. Excellent pieces of advise all (and a great blog)! I honestly had a hate/hate/love-the-results relationship with sewing until I discovered pattern weights and the idea of cutting everything at once.

When you have a tried and true pattern and the need for quantity and quality, shifting your entire process to working in multiples is a great way to improve efficiency and keep your brain sane.  Disorganization can turn the love of sewing  into the task of sewing, but if you prioritize your projects and take a step by step approach, your project can go back to feeling much more manageable and enjoyable.

There are times when even the pattern weights and a few well placed pins just don’t do the job of keeping that naughty fabric in shape and in place. For those tear-your-hair-out moments I highly suggest temporary spray adhesive. I was only half  joking when I once suggested that someone should make such a product and downright giddy when I discovered that someone had! There are several manufacturers, but the one that was recommended to me, which I find exactly as advertised is 505 Spray and Fix adhesive. There is very little smell (though do use it with adequate ventilation) and it holds well without staining fabric. (Note: I have only used it on natural fabrics). I’ve even go so far as  to spray adhesive my muslin pattern to the two fashion fabric pieces, cut them, then rip off the pattern, spray the pieces to their inter lining and sew them up. I do not use this method when attaching fronts to backs and there can be a sticky residue on the front, but that doesn’t seem to last. It doesn’t gum up needles, but it does gum up your machine foot (easily cleaned).

What tricks or tools have been your sewing life-savers?