A Few Hints to Help Choose the Right Pair of High Heeled Shoes

High Heeled Shoes Gigi HadidThere are a world of assorted types of high heeled shoes, including pumps, platforms, sandals, wedges and high heeled boots for ladies…there is also the increasing trend for men to now wear heels, this indicates just how many styles today’s shoe fashion embraces. Heels don’t have to be too high to be in fashion and acceptable …so here are a few ideas for choosing the right pair of high heeled shoes:

Choose the right heel and shoe shape for your legs…. If legs are too thick, heels with a pointed toe may seem much smaller and may make feet look out of proportion with the rest of the body. Find a heel that makes the legs look in proportion with the shoes. Many people make their legs appear leaner by choosing a wider design in heeled shoes. Heels that are too sturdy may make your legs look sturdy also.

What shoes are suitable for an outfit?

Color, dress length and style are critical to shoe choice, as an example, if very high heels such as stiletto are worn with a mini skirt there is real danger of the wrong message being given out. A pair of heels will enhance the look of long skirts on a shorter person but take note of the height of the heel as the dress or skirt must not appear too long or too short. A full length dress does not require elaborate shoes because they will not be visible. Mid height heels may be more suitable for knee length outfits.

Be careful of wearing highly decorative shoes with a longer dress particularly as they may conflict with the dress details. Extravagant shoes achieve better results with shorter dresses. Simple classic heels are more suited to longer elaborate dresses. Avoid black shoes with pastel outfits unless bags and belts are coordinated. If wearing jeans, the shape of the bottom of the jean leg can also determine the type of heels that should be worn. Platform heels can be great with jeans and if the jeans are longer the impression is that you are taller which can be a bonus!

Safety…. With high heels and stilettos, beware of strappy shoes. They can look super sexy but ankles can be twisted easily. Take care that straps are firmly attached and the heel chosen is well balanced. Maybe choose a wedge heel. An additional idea would be to roughen the bottoms of new heels which can avert a nasty accident on the dance floor.

Flexibility…. Wedge heeled shoes can provide greater flexibility and can give all the ‘leg slimming’ and ‘extra height’ benefits of a heel that’s not so high. They are great with mid and mini skirts and are great for wearing to the office. heeled boots can also be very flexible and can be worn with almost all outfits. They are great with skirts and suitable for office wear.

Comfort…. High heels don’t have to mean ‘super high heels’ or stilettos which can be very painful if not selected properly, and they are also not geared for walking too far in. If heels do need to go hand in hand with comfort, which is a sensible option..then a lower heel or a kitten heel should be selected. Maybe choose a style with squared-off toes or open toes and shorter, chunkier heels instead of stilettos or maybe, again, the all round wedge heel which slopes the foot gently and supports the whole of the foot area. Wedge heels are good for the office because they can be worn for longer periods of time without too much strain on the foot. maybe shop later in the day as feet swell as the day goes on. Also break them in in advance if one intends to wear them to a special function. Ultimately, the heel height one chooses should be determined by how many aches and pains one can allow oneself.

Sex appeal….Sandals with heels and boots with heels are very, very, sexy, and very versatile as well. In addition to enhancing ones femininity, sandals fastened at the ankle, or higher up the leg, will draw attention to legs as well as feet. Most sandals, including flip flops, some of which do fall under the category of high heeled shoes, have small, delicate heels, called kitten heels, which gives them a look that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on what one prefers.

Jewelry Care and Cleaning Guide: How To Care and Protect Your Jewelry

Celebrating a Special Occasion with Jewelry!

Jewelry Care means being careful, how you store and and clean it!

How to care and protect Jewelry?

If your jewelry has value to you, it is valuable enough for you to want to take care of it. Jewelry Care means being careful you do no lose it as well as being careful how you store and clean it.

When you buy jewelry, any jewelry, from the most expensive fine jewelry to inexpensive costume jewelry, you buy it because it is beautiful. The gleam of the metal and the shine or luster and fire of the gems appeal to your aesthetic sense of beauty, based on what you can afford. The better the jewelry, the longer you want to wear it, perhaps even for rest of your life, and the longer you want it to have that like new glow, although some metals and finishes attain a warm patina with wear. What you don’t want, however, is scratched or gouged settings and dull gems. Accidents can happen, but all too often the jewelry is damaged by carelessness or not taking the few moments necessary to tend to the jewelry.

In most cases, being careful is the only care jewelry needs. Some types of jewelry, nevertheless, need special care because the gems may be soft, absorbent, or fragile.

Keep in mind that the harder the gem and the higher it is on the Mohs scale of hardness, the more durable it generally is. At time, a hard gem with high or distinct cleavage is apt to be fragile and may break or cleave if it is struck at the right angle. Hardness therefore is not synonymous with toughness. A tough gem may be soft enough to be more easily scratched but it is less apt to break or shatter. These characteristics have pertinence in wearing, cleaning, and storing jewelry, and in remodeling.

Metals have similar characteristic. The purer the silver and gold, the more easily it can be damaged. Also, you must consider the combination of metal in settings with gem or gems. What may be perfectly good to clean a metal, such as sterling silver, may not be the best for the gems. You have to consider the jewelry as a whole, not as simply metal or gems.

These point are tied in with the third point: the care you take with your jewelry to protect it from loss, both when you are wearing it and when you put it away for safekeeping. All the care in cleaning and storing will not matter if you lose the jewelry. The care you should take in this sense involves the precautions you would take to make sure you do not lose something you like and enjoy. That common sense, and it is common sense whether or not the jewelry is insured, and whether or not it is valuable. The precautions you should take with any jewelry that you like and that means anything to you, in fact, are simple common sense.

– Protection of jewelry

First of all, think about what you do when wearing jewelry. Rings are good example of how common sense can prevent loss.

More Rings are probably lost through carelessness than any other type of jewelry, because they are more apt to be taken off when being worn than pins or necklaces, bracelets or even earrings. So, Precaution Number One, if you wear rings, is to wear them at all times, or be careful with them as you are with your money and credit cards.

Men and women, incidentally, tend to regard rings differently.

– Storing and cleaning jewelry

When you take jewelry off, all jewelry and not only rings, what do you do with it? First, you should have a good and safe place for it. Second, that place should keep the jewelry safe not only from loss but also from damage.

The worst place you can put it is in a jewelry box already filled with other jewelry all jumbled together, where it can become scratched or more seriously hurt. The best place you can put jewelry is in individual leather or cloth cases or bags that will protect each piece from being damaged by other pieces of jewelry. If you do not have separate boxes from the jeweler for each piece of jewelry, at least put each piece in an individual case of some kind and do not drop it casually into a jewelry box.

In most cases, a plastic bag is a good substitute for leather or cloth. Plastic, however, should never be used with pearls, opals, and ivory, which need air to retain their beauty. Plastic, nevertheless, does have an advantage for other jewelry in that you can easily see the piece of jewelry that is in the bag. This method, incidentally, is also good for costume jewelry, which can be scratched as easily, if not more so, than precious jewelry.

Cleaning is also important in retaining and restoring the beauty and luster of jewelry with and without gems. Even gold can discolor from soaps and perspiration. Silver can be especially prone to tarnish, although almost all American sterling silver jewelry is coated with rhodium, an element of platinum, to prevent tarnishing. Any other silver that is worn all the time rarely needs polishing either, since wear retards tarnish. It still may need cleaning, though.

In fact, any metal may need cleaning now and then to remove dirt, soil, or soap film, as may gems. There are, in general, four methods of cleaning jewelry. Although all are safe for cleaning precious metal and diamonds, all are not interchangeable and safe for all kinds of jewelry. These are the methods most commonly suggested and used, but be sure to read further for the exceptions and for the precautions you should take with specific metals and gems.

-Detergents Bath. Mix a mild detergent and warm water in a small bowl or cup. Immerse the jewelry, brushing the pieces with an eyebrow brush. Rinse the jewelry under warm running water, being sure to put the jewelry into a tea strainer or cheesecloth for safety’s sake. Pat dry with lintels cloth. Do not use for soft gems or foe any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Cold water soak. In a cup or bowl, combine half cold water and half household ammonia. Put the jewelry in and soak for 30 minutes. Do not leave it overnight or for a long period of time. After 30 minutes, remove the jewelry and gently clean the front and back of the setting, if necessary, with an eyebrow brush before swishing the jewelry in the solution again and draining it dry on tissue. Do not use soft gems or any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Quick dip. Commercial jewelry cleaners generally employ the quick dip method. Since cleaners vary, you should read instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Do not use cleaners on nay jewelry not specifically mentioned unless you check with a jeweler first.

– Ultrasonic cleaners. You will find several of these small machines on the market. In general, the principle is that of using high frequency turbulence to clean jewelry soaking in a metal cup of water and detergent. Again, be sure to read and follow the directions with the utmost care and do not use the machine on any jewelry not specifically mentioned. Not all jeweler, feel these machine are safe even for diamonds. Before buying one, therefore, be sure to check with your jeweler and get his advice.

These then are the common methods in general. Specific metals, and gems, require specific care. The methods described below are safe for the specific metals and won’t harm most gems. Keep in mind, though, that some gems need special care. Whenever you have any doubt about cleaning jewelry, be sure to consult your jeweler.

1) Copper

Copper will tarnish like silver in presence of moisture and sulfur. In most cases, however, a lacquer is baked on to prevent the jewelry from tarnishing. To clean copper, use any commercial cleaner that specifies it safe for copper. Do not use ammonia, which can erode copper.

2) Gold

The lower the number of karats, the more gold will discolor due to the higher percentage of base metals in the alloy. Mild soap, water and ammonia will remove the discoloration with ease.
One theory goes that you can prevent gold from leaving black mark on the skin by spraying the gold with hair spray. All you actually doing is adding a substance that can add to the tarnish. Keeping gold clean is the best way to avoid skin discoloration. In any case do not use hair spray on any gold with gems.

Gold-filled. Remember, the character of gold filled jewelry is the same as the karat gold that makes up 1/20 of the total weight, except that the jewelry will not last as long as the same jewelry in solid karat gold. Gold-filled jewelry can be cleaned the same way as karat gold, with mild soap, and a drop of ammonia.

Rolled gold plate. Rolled gold plate may contain less gold than rolled gold, but it should be cleaned the same way as gold-filled and karat gold jewelry.

Gold electroplate. Although the layer of gold deposited by electroplating may be 7 to 100 millionths of an inch thick, good gold electroplate can wear as well as rolled gold. It should be wiped clean regularly with a damp, soft cloth, and a mild soap and water solution may be used to remove any makeup. Do not use a treated cloth to clean gold electroplate.
Gold-washed or gold-flashed. Jewelry finished in this manner contains very little gold. The surface layer, in fact, is so thin that it may be negligible and wear off after a few times of being worn. Any cleaning, and particularly any rubbing, any remove the finish entirely.

3) Silver

Any commercial silver cleaner or silver cloth will touch up and clean silver jewelry. Soap, water, and a drop of ammonia will also clean silver that is very lightly tarnished or may just need cleaning to remove makeup and perspiration.

Silver-filled. Clean silver-filled jewelry in the same way as sterling. The older the jewelry, however, the more permanent the patina will be. Such a patina cannot be removed.

Silver plate (or silver electroplate). Silver plate, unlike gold, can last for years and can be cleaned in the same way as sterling silver. It can be re-plated, if necessary, although re-plating is more common in silver tableware than in jewelry.

4) Combination metals

Metals, including precious metals, are sometimes combined with other metals and with enamel. Be very careful in cleaning the metal that you don’t clean off the inlay or enamel. The same caution holds true for vermeil, which is sterling silver with karat gold electroplate. If you must rub, rub very gently with soft cloth.

5) Gems

Some gems need special care. That care includes both cleaning and storing gems. Be particularly careful with:

Amber. Amber is the softest of all gems and will be scratched by all other gems. Be careful in wearing it and always store it by itself. It darkens gradually with age and exposures to light and should be kept in a cloth or leather bag case.

Never use a rough clothe or clothe that may have dirt, dust, or grit on it to clean amber because of its softness. Never use acid to clean amber or wear amber when working with acids since acid will decompose amber. Alcohol and other solvents do not normally affect amber, however, unless it is exposed to them for a long period of time. For this reason, be careful not to leave amber in any cleaning solution, except very briefly. Hair spray and perfume can also affect amber.

Coral. Coral is relatively tough. Be careful with twig coral in both storing and wearing, since the thinner the twigs the more easily the coral can break. Remember, coral is not a mineral and its luster may be spoiled by preparations used to clean other jewelry.

Diamonds. Diamonds should be kept apart from other gems to avoid scratching the other gems. This rule holds true for both storage and cleaning. One expert suggests boiling diamonds for 10 minutes in soap, water, and ammonia to clean them.

Ivory. Wash ivory carefully in soapy water, drying it with a damp cloth. Never soak ivory in soap and water, however, since soaking can cause it to crack or break. If you are cleaning ivory beads, do not get the string wet because the string will stay wet and can affect the beads. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid.

Ivory darken with age. It can be bleached by sunlight or peroxide. If peroxide is used, do not soak the ivory in it, and avoid wetting any string with which ivory beads are strung with the peroxide.
Keep in mind that ivory is permeable and relatively soft, factors tending to make it contract or shrink in cold and expand in heat. The combination of temperatures, along with soaking and drying out, can lead to the cracking of the ivory. Wiping it carefully with a soft, damp cloth, therefore, is probably the best method of cleaning ivory.

Jet. Jet, although tough, is soft and should never be kept with other jewelry that can scratch it. Scratching diminishes its polish and lessens its value to collectors.

Lapis Lazulli. Despite its softness, Lapis Lazulli wears well and is popular for men’s jewelry and especially men’s rings. Even though it may scratch, the scratches are not difficult for a good jeweler to polish out.

Malachite. Malachite is soft and is not tough like jet. It breaks easily and should be worn with care. It also scratches easily, losing its polish. Be careful wearing it next to your skin, which can turn malachite dark or black.

Moonstone. Moonstone’s softness means that it needs care. Moonstones should be kept by themselves and cleaned carefully with only a very soft cloth and soap and water.

Opals. All kinds of opals are fragile and require care, the most care of any other gem. The polished stones are usually thin and may crack or craze. One cause may be extremely cold weather, indirect sunlight, in hot dishwater, or when handling frozen foods. Cold weather may also cause opals to shrink, which means they can fall out of the setting. Because of their softness, they are easily scratched and may absorb dirt or grit, another reason for avoiding dishwater and being careful in cleaning them.
Opals contain water, sometimes as much as 10%. Thus, they may dry out. For this reason, some experts suggest leaving them in water, in a mixture of water and glycerin, or in mineral oil to keep them from drying out and losing their fire, whenever they are not being worn. Use only a mild soap solution and a soft cloth to clean them. Never put opals in plastic bags, commercial jewelry cleaner, or acid.

Pearls. Both Oriental and cultured pearls are genuine pearls and need a certain amount of special care. Cosmetics (including hair spray), dust, dirt, and particularly perspiration can affects pearls. They should be wiped carefully only with a soft clothe after wearing and kept in satin-lined box, never in a plastic bag. Because their softness, cars should be taken not to scratch them. Pearls need to be worn and allowed to breathe. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid to clean them.

Peridot. Peridot scratches easily and tends to lose its polish. It should be stored and worn carefully but no special cleaning is necessary.

Topaz. Topaz should be kept in dark, literally. The gems tend to fade or pale in light, and some yellow-brown topazes on display in museums have turned clear after several years. Remember, too, it cleaves easily. It does not require special cleaning methods.

Turquoise. Since turquoise is very porous, it will absorb all sorts of impurities, especially if it is exposed to dirt and grease, such as in working in the yard or in washing dishes.

Turquoise tends to change color with age. It may lighten, darken, or streak. According to an old wives’ tale, burying turquoise in dirt restore the color, but the advice does not say for how long or what amount of dirt might be absorbed. You are probably better off learning to appreciate the change in color.

Never expose turquoise to ammonia, which will spoil the surface by pitting or spotting. Jewelry cleaner and acid will also injure or destroy turquoise.

To sum up, one of best methods of cleaning jewelry is simply to use mild soap, water and a drop of ammonia, even though ammonia should not be used with certain gems. Commercial jewelry cleaners are also available at fine jewelers, and these are safe, too, for most, but not all, jewelry. Be surer to read the directions on any commercial cleaner carefully and to follow them.

When in doubt about cleaning any jewelry, ask your jeweler what he would suggest. Remember, a watchmaker is not a jeweler. For expert advice and help, you need a jeweler who knows metal and gems, because in some cases you may be better off bringing the jewelry into the jeweler’s for cleaning.

Machine Embroidery on Jackets

Of all the different wearable items that can be embroidered, jackets would appear to be the easiest. When most of think of jackets in terms of embroidery, large areas for full back and left chest designs come to mind. What many of us often forget are the little curveballs apparel manufacturers are adding into their designs such as box pleats and seams down the back. Fashion forward styles may have things like raglan sleeves which can throw off design placement since they lack the guideline of a shoulder seam.

One sure way to begin with a jacket that is fit for embroidery is to focus on working with styles that give the fewest headaches. Therefore, do some research on the newest trends. In addition, start with a machine that is in top notch condition, with fresh needles and bobbins. Below are the other basic elements to consider in your quest for trouble-free jacket embroidery.

Choosing a hoop

The best choice in hoops for jackets is the double-high hoop. This hoop is taller than the average hoop so offers more holding power. You can wrap your hoop with white floral tape, medical gauze, twill tape or bias tape to prevent hoop marks and help give a snug fit. Tissue paper, backing or waxed paper can also be used. Hoop these materials on top of the jacket, then cut a window for the embroidery. A thin layer of foam under the tape can also help. But avoid masking tape as it tends to be sticky and leaves a residue on jacket and hoop. When choosing your hoops, remember that oval hoops hold better all the way around than do square hoops with oval corners. The “square oval” holds better in the corners than on the sides, top and bottom.

Needles

The size and type of needle will depend on the fabric of the jacket. Leather jackets call for an 80/12 sharp. (Wedge shaped “leather” needles tend to do more harm than good.) Use this same sharp needle on poplin and other cotton-type jackets. Use a 70/10 or 80/12 light ballpoint on nylon windbreakers and a 75/11 fine ballpoint on satins and oxford nylons to avoid runs in the fabric. Heavy wool jackets, canvas and denim jackets require a stronger sharp needle. Corduroy stitches well with either ballpoint or sharp. Remember that ballpoint needles nudge the fabric out of the way in order to place the stitch, while sharps cut through the fabric. A good rule of thumb is to use the same size needle to embroider as you would to sew the seams of the jacket in assembly.

As for thread, polyester is a good choice for embroidery on jackets that will be exposed to the weather and coastal climates. Be sure to include washing and dry cleaning instructions with your finished product. Consider choosing a large-eye needle when working with metallic and other heavy specialty threads

Placing the design

Hold a straight-edge across the jacket back from side seam to side seam at the bottom of the sleeves. Mark a horizontal straight line, then double check this with a measurement from the bottom of the jacket to the same line. Jackets are not always sewn together straight. Measure the straight line and divide in half to find the center of the jacket. Place a vertical line through the horizontal line at this point. The intersection of the two lines will be the center. If you are rotating the design to sew upside-down or sideways, take this into consideration when measuring and later when hooping. Use tailor’s chalk, disappearing ink pens or soap to mark your garments. Avoid using pins. Masking tape is available in thin strips at graphic and art stores. It is easy to remove and leaves no marks. Wider masking tape, though, can leave residue.

Centering the design eight inches down from the back of the collar is a good place to start, and should work with most jackets. Small sizes may do better at six inches; very large ones may end up at 10 inches. The top of the design should fall about 2 ½ inches down from the collar of the jacket. But remember that this will change if the jacket has a hood. Then it will be necessary to place the design below the hood.

The best way to determine the center point of the design is to have someone try the jacket on, or invest in a mannequin. Pin an outline of the design or a sew-out to the back, making sure to include lettering and graphics to determine size and placement. Left or right chest designs should be centered three to four inches from the edge of the jacket and six to eight down from where the collar and the jacket body intersect. When embroidering on jackets with snaps or buttons, use the second snap or button as a guide.

Be careful not to place the design too close to the sleeve side of the jacket. Designs are not to be centered on the left chest. The correct placement is closer to the placket than to the sleeve. The center of a sleeve design should fall three to four inches below the shoulder seam of the sleeve. When placing a design on the sleeve of a raglan style jacket, mark the placement using a live model or a mannequin.
Backings

The complexity of a design will often be the major factor when choosing a backing for embroidery. Stitch intensive designs may need the extra stability backing provides. Even jackets made of fabrics such as poplin and satin (that might not otherwise cry out for a backing) can benefit from its use, especially if the design is complex. Consider attaching the backing to the jacket with spray adhesive before hooping to increase stability. Attaching a piece of light cut-away backing-or even rear-away-to a satin jacket can hold the jacket better while stitching, allowing for good registration in your design. And, if you should need to remove stitching, the presence of a backing can make your job easier and safer. Backing can also prevent residue from coated canvas fabrics from raining down into the bobbin housing.

Most jacket materials do not require topping. The exception to this might be the corduroy or fleece jacket where the use of a topping can tame the fluff of the fleece and prevent stitches from falling into the valleys of the corduroy. The use of underlay does a better job than topping for challenging fabrics-and as an added benefit, it does not wash away.

Hooping technique

When hooping, especially large or bulky items, start from the “fixed” side of the thumbscrew and travel around the hoop to the “free end.” Use the heels of your hands to alleviate stress on your fingers and wrists. When hooping flat on a table, make sure that there is nothing between the hoop and the table. If any adjustment is needed, hold as much of the upper hoop in place as you can while adjusting. This prevents the garment from popping out of the hoop.

Always make sure the jacket lining is smooth, and double check to determine that the outer shell and the lining are even. Turning the sleeves inside out can help with hooping a lined jacket.

Hooping too loosely can cause puckering, too tightly can cause fabric burn. It can also stretch the fabric causing it to “spring back” when unhooped, meaning more puckering. Tips to prevent puckering include lightening the tension upper and lower, using tear-away if lettering is fill, using mid-weight cutaway if lettering or design is satin stitch. Adjust the hoops before hooping the garment and do not pull or stretch the fabric after it is hooped. Puckering is a risk when stitching on satin, and the lighter the weight of the satin, the more the danger of puckers. You will have the best results when the hold is firm. If you can move the satin around in the hoop, it will move while stitching.

A light pressing or steaming of the area to be embroidered can improve results and ensure that lining and jacket are lined up correctly. While you are checking to make sure your bobbins are full, it is a good idea to check that no part of the jacket is doubled up under the hoop. And please make sure you are not sewing pockets shut, especially inner ones.

Hooping the jacket upside-down and reversing the design is a good way to keep the bulk of the jacket away from the needles. Make sure the arms of the jacket are out of the way of any stitching before you begin. Use clothespins, bulldog clips, quilting clips or even large hair clips. Make sure that you support the weight of the jacket during embroidery to prevent the fabric from slipping out of the hoop, and to help ensure good registration. Embroidering jackets on the tabletop instead of in the tubular mode can help prevent the weight of the jacket from hampering the job. Check also to make sure the material is flat against the throat plate. If you can push down the fabric, the presser foot will too, and this can cause flagging. Flagging can cause stitching problems and poor registration.