Resale shops are awesome. You can find some true gems if you get lucky! I found this pair of Nordstrom Made in Italy Women's Moccasins at this resale store for only $10! Here they are getting ready to be dyed:
I don't know the exact model, but they appear to be an older model and factory seconds of Tod's 'Gommini' Driving Moccasin. Regardless, they were in pretty good shape when I got them, no stitches falling out, no stains or discoloring etc... They had creases from previous wear of course but that is normal. The only real problem with them is that the color is just so... Blah (at least to us anyways).
The only thing that really needed to be done to them before dyeing them (in my opinion) was to give them a once over with a horsehair brush and condition them. To condition the moccasins, I used Saphir Renovateur- Luxury Leather Care Balm. I really like this product and use it on my belts before dyeing them as well in order to keep them from getting completely dried out from the dye. It also smells amazing!
So I used the conditioner, waited about 15 minutes, then buffed the shoes again with a horsehair brush. I cannot say that this method is the right way or not, but it works for me and I have done it on several projects without any issues.
To dye the moccasins, I use Fiebing's Low VOC Brown Dye. I usually just go down to the street to Hobby Lobby and pick up the dye there. I can't really compare it to other dyes because I have not used much else besides the Brown and Black VOC Dyes by Fiebing's. What I can say is that it does a good job but that you probably should wear gloves and cover your work space. It can get pretty messy!
The other products I used were a dauber, cotton swabs (for the places the dauber couldn't get to). and Fiebing's Tan-Kote as a finishing layer after the dyeing process was complete. I realize that in most cases, it is probably a good idea to use a deglazer to remove the original finish but I didn't have any! Oh well, I dyed them anyways.
The dyeing process is pretty calming, although the leather on the sole had to be done almost entirely with a cotton swab because of those round rubber traction pieces. I put about 3 coats of dye on, taking a small break in-between to let the dye absorb a bit. I have noticed with brown dye that the color you see when you first dye a project is definitely not the color you get when it's all said and done! So in my opinion, waiting a bit between each coat helps you see where on your project there needs to be more dye added and where there doesn't.
The final outcome was a success! The previous dye kept the finished color of the shoes lighter than I expected, almost like a shiny tan look. They stand out more and there are less imperfections than I thought (and what usually results when I use brown dye)! Pictured below is the finish product:
I think they look really good and I hope my lovely lady enjoys them! Also, this process didn't come about because of a huge mistake like it did the last time I dyed shoes!