Michael Miller Baby Bootie Contest

Hi friends,

Have you heard about the Michael Miller Baby Bootie Contest? I am planning to enter, but need a little advice.

First, here is the pair of shoes I made tonight - my "prototype," if you will. I was going for kind of a tennis shoes look. I don't know if I quite hit the mark there, but I'm liking the result, and am pleased with myself for coming up with an original pattern.

A couple of things that I like: 1) the fabric (one of my all time favs that I have precious little of remaining), 2) the "tongue" of the shoe/elastic laces. The tongue is only connected at the bottom so the shoe stretches open wide to put it on the baby's foot.

So, what do you think? Anything you would improve on? Do you think the shoes are too plain/ugly/impractical/etc? Should I work on my photography skills and set up a cuter shot?

I can only submit one entry, so it has to be good. Luckily, I have until June 18th to get it right. Help, please!

UPDATE: Wow! Thank you so much for all of your comments and great suggestions. I've read through all of them (a couple of times) and am excited to implement some of your ideas into my next pair. I'm out of elastic though, so while I wait for my order to arrive, I'll be posting some other crafts.

Thanks again! I really appreciate your thoughtful answers.

48 comments:

nicole said...

too cute... they definitely portray the feel it sounds like you were going for.

i don't have any suggestions for improvement on the design, but i agree that taking a better shot might be a good idea. Or use one of these in a program like picnik (www.picnik.com) to edit/spruce up the photo a little.

very impressive and good luck!!

wendy said...

Personally, I love 'em. Love the fabric, the tounge-action, and how easy they look to put on baby's feet. I'm having my 5th and finally getting into posh diaper bags and things like booties, and I would totally buy these. :)

Tevita and Liz said...

these are fabulous jill,
i'm an avid reader of your blog and these shoes are why!

maybe a classic white trim around the seam btwn the sole and the shoe. also, perhaps a different color fabric for the sole.

otherwise, fingers crossed that you win!

Angie said...

Very cute! I'd love to see a pair done with a darker fabric to make the laces stand out more. Maybe just a spruced up photo will do that for your current pair of shoes.

Jackie said...

i am thinking along the same lines as angie. my first thought was to make the laces stand out more since those are a nice feature to your design. maybe a solid color for the shoe (a denim blue?) and add a design element with this fabric to accent (because it is adorable!). i would also vote for a better presentation! love your site and your ideas! good luck :)

Denise said...

Just some food for thought...as a Mom, i found red to be a great, fun, yet unique color for baby goods. It would make the laces stand out nicely. I would love to see a small scale pattern (not a solid). Also as far as photographing them, you could try a Macro Box (google this for inexpensive design options) or photograph your bootie outside. Fantastic job on the design. I hope you win!

Jill said...

thanks everyone for your suggestions!

I was originally planning to include a white trim but all the layers of fabric were making the seam bulky. I'll rework the pattern a bit and see if I can get it to work for the next go round - and maybe with a darker fabric. I'll dig through my stash to see what I have. I'm thinking a dark fabric with white (or cute patterned) trim and a light colored sole. Maybe I'll even quilt the sole to give it some texture.

I'll definately try to take some better photos. I have zero natural light in my apartment in the daytime, let alone when I am crafting at midnight. Maybe I'll take my shoes to central park this weekend and see if I can get them in better light/more interesting surroundings. Or maybe I'll borrow a cute baby to model them. :)

Thanks, nicole, for the link to the photo editing site. There are some great features! Snazzier photos are on their way.

lisa said...

I think they are really cute! The only thing that I might add is doing a colored elastic . . . I'm not sure if it comes in anything besides black and white, but it's a thought. I think your shots work well at showing the different angles of the shoe, but a different background might work better. Here is something that you could sale on Etsy?

Red Dawg said...

You may want to add a loop on the back. Sometimes I have difficulty pulling the heel up smooth over my son's socks and feet. His feet are a little chunky.

Just Us Two said...

I saw this contest on someone eles blog and immediately thought of you. I was going to send you the link and WHA LA...you already knew about it. I think they're really cute. Love the fabric! The photograph needs to be brighter and show the vivid color. Maybe add a button or something to make it stand out...I don't know. I really like them as they are, but since this is a contest...I'm thinking you need another color to make them pop. I hope you win...these are already a winner in my book.

Good Luck!

Cassie said...

i think they are really cute. i would definitely work on your photo - stage it with appropriate baby stuff and work on the part where the sole meets the "upper" part - so it looks more even.
love the polka dots!!

Ewokgirl said...

I really like your design. The elastice "laces" and the white trim at the back really give them an edge.

I do agree, though, with the others that for the contest photo, you might want to go with a darker fabric that really makes the elastic stand out. It's such a fun element that I think really makes the shoe, so you want it to be noticed.

I'm in awe of your creativity and talent.

VRHrider said...

Cute, cute, CUTE!!! I love the fabric--can you find gold elastic to match?

I'd recommend putting them on a backdrop of black fabric to make them really stand out.

You don't know me, but I found your blog by accident and browse it often--keep up the terrific work! I also LOVE your tours of the city blog! Keep that up too--I've never been to NY but you make me feel as though I've seen a little slice. Thanks!
Karen

The Henrich Family said...

LOVE them Jill. Great fabric. I think the shoes are perfectly wonderful. Good luck with your contest!

Larraine said...

Very cute! Looking foward to seeing what you submit for the contest.
I've been your blog(s) and wondered if you were expecting a wee one. :) Blue or pink?
Speaking of pink, did you finish that pretty quilt yet? Would love to see it.
Good luck!

~ HowdyTracy said...

Hi Jill Loved reading everyone's comments! My suggestion is to make your next pair smaller - for a smaller size foot - I think it will make them look cuter - wee little shoes, for a wee little baby. (You know! The shoe stores always set out the size 5 on the display!) Be sure to show us your next pair! Tracy

Steph said...

That pattern and color would look FANTASTIC photographed on some green grass in a park. Make it on a cloudy day, if at all possible. The diffused lighting reduces shadows and makes the colors more vibrant. If not, in some shade from a tree (or in the early morning sunlight) is almost as good. Whatever you do, try to avoid using the flash.

A shot of these being modeled by an actual baby (cropped off at about shin level) might turn it up a notch, but it might also be harder to get a controlled shot.

Anyhow, best of luck. I've always been obsessed with your booties.

Heh.

That sounded kind of funny...

Steph said...

By the way, I just checked out some of the current entries in the contest. Some of them are clever but nearly all of them are COMPLETELY impractical. And, as a mother of two kids under the age of three, I'm more than qualified to say that.

You cannot have baby shoes without some sort of elastic to keep them on. Fancy bows and/or buttons are cute but totally useless (and buttons pose choking hazards).

Your designs are simple, adorable, and OH SO practical. These shoes actually belong ON my kids instead of some high shelf in their bedrooms as a decoration.

So go get 'em, Tiger. You've got this one in the bag.

The Vetters in Manhattan said...

I would try to take a better picture. I think that the flash is washing out the colors a little. Cute shoes!

SquirrelGurl said...

I've been a reader for a while... but I just had to comment this time.

I LOVE these shoes!!! You'd have my vote in the contest!

I'll second everyone's comments about the photography... choose a simple background. Photograph in natural light and play with their organization in the photo. Arranging the shoes in different ways can make a world of difference!

Good Luck!

Allison said...

The booties are very cute! Love the fabric and the elastic laces (nicely done). My only question would be how well they will stay on baby's foot as babies like to kick off shoes and socks...have you tested them? The elastic you used should help with that.

Maybe photograph them on a stack of your baby bibs or a baby blankie - something in a nice contrasting color (like bright purple or blue) to show off the yellow and white. Very sweet product and I hope you win the contest!!

Allison said...

I just read through everyone's comments - what a great resource for ideas! I loved the red idea. What about a round red button right under the section with the laces (toward the toe), a red loop on the back, and a tiny red straight or zig-zag /\/\/\/\ stitching on the outer edges of the elastic bands - just for deco. I like the elastics in white but a red edging would make them pop. Of course all this will double the time it takes to make these shoes! :)

I also love the idea of same fabric but with black elastic, and a red button and loop (for city babies). Maybe the red button could be your signature, no matter what fabric?

Good luck whatever you decide. You're a star!

The Mrs. said...

I love reading your blog and seeing what craftiness you are up to today! I am a mommy of 2 little girls and I would definitely put them in these! My only suggestion is for the actual design. Babies have very fat feet, not long feet so make sure that there is enough room for all the chub! A lot of shoes I try on my 8 month old would be perfect except I can't fit her fat little feet in them, although they fit length wise.
Other than that and a better pic, maybe something outdoors, good luck!!!

Amy said...

love them! I think you could make some money making these! How do you win... do we get to vote or they just decide? I love the fabric and think you totally pulled of the tennis shoe look! Good luck!

AOBrien said...

I think the design is great but the fabric choice hides some of the design idea. Maybe if you chose fabrics that looked more like a tennis shoe the design element would be stronger.. here it's somewhat buried in the fabric ( not that it isn't amazing fabric.

WendyLou said...

Cute!! Cute!! Cute!! I printed out the tutorial you linked to the first time you posted about baby shoes ... just haven't been brave enough to try it ... yet. As for the pic, maybe try stuffing the shoes with tissue to simulate a little foot inside??

Betsy said...

jill, you are right on the money. these are the sweetest combo of function meets fashion for wee ones i have ever seen. i think the yellow is perfect, since it is considered gender neutral. nice work.

ahmad wiyono said...

Great blog! Keep up the good work

Hobbs Family said...

Love them all the way. Agree with the red button idea. I would pay money for sure.

Amy Jo said...

Love them! I think they are great as they are, but they would also be fun with a cute coordinating fabric on the inside.
I would set up a better photo for the contest without the sewing machine in the background :) I would set them up in front of a sunny window (not direct sun) for nice light (no flash!) maybe on a neatly stacked pile of folded white cloth diapers. That's my idea for ya :) You'll have to post your final results, good luck!

Kiasa said...

Fantastic booties! I loved Steph's suggestions with the photography; she's totally right about how to set up a good "scene". Stephanie D. (you know...) takes some fantastic photos and I'm sure would love to help out. All the suggestions are great and I'm sure your busy improving your practically perfect design. I'm so super excited for you!

G. said...

they are adorable. I'm thinking...buttons. Maybe on the elastic...I don't know, I'm slightly obsessed with buttond but, they may look really cute on this shoe. I love the fabric as well. :) Good luck on the contest.

Amber P. said...

Adorable shoes and great suggestions. My one thought about this style of shoes is the seam in the inside of the shoe. I'm wondering if a surger would fix the "unfinished" look they tend to have.

The other features of the shoes are so sweet. Of course, as everyone has said the elastic is too cute, but I also really like the sides of the shoe and how you folded over the back of the shoe to shoe the inside fabric. Fun!

And one last thought, while buttons are a fun and dynamic accent, for these shoes I think they might detract from the elastic ties which is already unique feature and I would hate to see it overshadowed. I think it would be wise to try it with and without.

And you've received some great advice on the photography so I'll just agree and leave it at that!

Good luck in the contest.

Erin said...

I don't see the buttons working for this idea. What if you used the cute polka dots as the inner lining or the soul and as the trim? I think that would make the pattern less overwhelming and with a solid color, could really get it to pop? I love the polka dots but I think it may be a bit much if you are going for WOW.

I hope you win!

Amanda said...

So I didn't read all of everyone else's comments (cause there are so many) so I'm sorry if I am repeating something but I LOVE these shoes!! One thing I might change is a fun color on the bottom like lime green or teal or aqua. I'm with you I LOVE this fabric! And I also think that quilting the bottom would be really cute.

As far as the photography goes...I've found that the best light is the soft window light, and try different angles, I think when the light is coming from the back it can often look really cool. Plus a plain background would help (some fabric would work great) I also like the outside idea, but it would probably be best in the shade.

wow...I totally didn't mean to write that much!

Alicia said...

Jill - I LOVE the pattern, as a mom, I actually think it's genius. I love the idea of a dark pattern with light trim because I think the contrast will be cute and bring out your pattern more. I also think quilting the soles is a great idea. You're amazing!! If you ever decide to make and sell those, I would love to be the first in line.

Hope all is great! Sure miss you guys!
Leesh

seemommysew said...

very cute!...and we're playing tag :)

Julie said...

Way cute! I would put them on my baby. The only change I would suggest, and I would love them even more, is to make a portion of the shoe a solid that goes with the print.

Good luck!

TheDillon6 said...

Oh-sew-Cute! I didn't see anyone suggest this yet (and perhaps it's against the rules), but maybe take a picture of them on an actual-real-life baby's feet..in some nice, dark green grass at the Park. And when you're done, send them to me. ;)

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

i have no ideas for the shoes, but i can tell you they sure are cute!

tammytulips said...

I think they are adorable. As for the photo shot of them, you should try building a photo box or light tent.

http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/how-to-make-a-inexpensive-light-tent/

Keep up the great work on your blog, I read it all the time.

Valerie said...

I just love these. I did the burp cloths and they were so fun! I will put you as one of my favorite on my blog roll.

Kindness2 said...

they are really adorable! gd job! yep u shld take a nicer picture.maybe the backdrop can be a baby's room, soft toys etc.the white elastic in front looks a bit weird.

Stampin' Cindy said...

Just wanted to tell you how great these (and everything else you make) is!! I am truly green with envy!! I can only aspire to be as creative and crafty as your self!! Kudos for finding the time to get it all done!!

Oh and lastly, absolutely love the polka dots you have as your background. Did you create this.. or did you find some awesome template somewhere? Any tips for something that pretty I can steal? Thanks!

Saying It Simply said...

First time to your blog, but those shoes are great! I think they are very practical and above all, CUTE! Amazing.

Likes Chocolate said...

I am not sure what you are using for the bottom, but I think a leather bottom of some kind would be nice. Fabric is nice, but I would only buy these for a newborn to 5-6 month old. I mom of three boys and even if they were girls they would be dirty super fast. Good luck!!!

perilloparodies said...

SO!!! How did the final results turn out? How did the contest go? Hope you are okay.

Stephanie Sabbe said...

Where are your final shoes? I found the link on your website and made some of my own to submit...but I've been checking back to see your final product (which I'm sure will be way cuter) How do you do your lining? I did a different style shoe, but looking at yours...your lining looks way better than mine. Thanks! p.s. If you run out of time you should post these, I think they are very cute