Kasut Manek (Beaded Shoes)
Finally, I finished my second pair of Kasut Manek. It has been the most eye-straining project I have done. Average people take about 2 weeks, even months to complete but I took about 12 days (working throughout day and night). I did my first pair about 9 years ago for my wedding, unfortunately, it was stolen during a break-in.
The Manek or beads I used is Size 15 Japanese seedbeads. I used 7 colors: white, silver-lined blue, yellow, silver-lined yellow, opaque green, opaque chartreuse, and black. There are manek shoes made from bigger beads, size 11 but personally, I prefer the smaller size as it makes the pattern look finer and better.
First of all, clamp a 16-count cross-stitch cloth onto a rectangular frame, trace an outline of the shoes cover of the pattern and size you want (I got it from the shoes-maker who is going to do the final part of the shoes). Start of with sewing the top and bottom outline (blue colour beads in my picture shown below). Next, start sewing the beads from the center of the pattern. The bead should be sewn in diagonal direction on a square of the cross-stitch cloth. Pick one bead into the needle for every square you sew.
Upon finishing, you can give your manek shoes cover (shown above) to your shoes-maker to attach the sole and heel in order to complete the kasut manek. Choose the colour you prefer for the sole and heel. I used blue for the sole and white for the heel. The shoes-maker will need to measure your foot in order to perfectly fit your feet. If you can’t present yourself there, you can trace your foot outline on a paper and measure the width of the widest part across the upper arch of your feet. Some shoes-makers will want you to come again to fit the shoes before he nails and fixes it permanently.
I developed a step by step tutorial for manek shoes beading: