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Why is it so hard to find knee high boots that fit!?
Am I alone in despairing the lack of options that fit in knee high boots? As a woman of average size (Australian size 14-16) I expect some options in knee high boots. However the vast majority of knee high boots are designed to fit a more slender calf. There are custom shoemakers out there that offer different calf widths and on occasion there is a mainstream brand offering with a larger calf width… but as a bargain hunter… I am not satisfied with this!
Earlier this year I found a pair of leather knee high boots on sale online for $80! The style looked like a larger calf and also included were elastic gussets so I took a risk and ordered them. Weeks later when they arrived I couldn’t get the darn zip above my ankle!!!!!!!! While I could have returned them I was not ready to accept defeat. I had the crazy thought that with a few simple alterations I could make them fit.
Mission for fit: Make the boots wider…
The promised elastic gussets for a comfortable fit were not very stretchy so did not do much to increase the width. What I needed was a bit more leather around the calf. I didn’t have any leather lying around but I did have a synthetic tie-belt I was willing to sacrifice. The belt was already tapered which suited my needs so I cut the belt in two and then cut into the boots.
Yes I took a pair of scissors to these brand new boots in a risky attempt to make them fit.
I was making this up as a went along but I was not to be denied knee high boots! The elastic gussets were the perfect place to make the cut. They were placed towards the back and inside of the calf and not easily seen.
Making a long cut on each boot I then pinned the belt in the gap to increase the calf width. Since the belt already had side seams I didn’t have to worry about trying to fashion a neat edge myself. Then I equipped my sewing machine with leather needle and upholstery thread and got sewing.
Sewing the boots…
Ok… maneuvering a pair of boots on a sewing machine is not so easy. With a slow pace and careful handling I managed it. At the top I folded the belt over to neaten off the edge and sewed around the belt insert. It was tricky towards the ankle of the boot where there was less room to move.
Change the colour to match the boots…
The belt was a metallic bronze colour while the boots where a grey/brown leather. I didn’t want to draw attention to the alteration so I had some painting to do!
These were a casual style boot and I wanted to keep them looking casual and edgy. For this reason I didn’t paint them over in one colour as this would look too neat and tidy. Instead I chose to apply several colours with a cosmetic sponge in layers. I used a bit of metallic silver first then used layers of brown, black, and beige.
I finished them off with some decorative paintwork on the straps for added interest.
So did they fit?
Absolutely! Once the paint was dry I nervously tried on the boots and it was a great feeling to zip them all the way up. They even have enough room to tuck in a pair of straight leg jeans (that is the big calf version of a skinny jean!)
The moral of this story …
Don’t accept that your only options are what the stores are willing to offer you.
If there is a style or colour you want you can have it.
If you have an idea for a creative solution to a shoe problem I would love to hear from you.
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