Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sorry about last week, I was in Gran Canaria. Soaking up the sun; fresh fish on the beach; relaxing and not working! Sound good? Well, it was.
But now I'm back and fully charged.

Exciting things afoot. The New York course is filling up and we booked flights this week. Really looking forward to it. Trunk show at Leffot, and then on to San Francisco for another trunk show.

Our new photography is in full flight. It looks really cool, stylish and luxurious. Will post a preview when I can.

We are making a 3 minute movie next week to put on the website.

But back to more serious issues, on Friday I will post more stuff about what I am making on the bespoke shoe front - simple loafers with rubber toe plate and some monk shoes. Fasten your seat belts people!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Norwegian Welt

Funny old game this bespoke thing. A bit like London buses... you know the cliche. I have not stopped until now and blogging is a welcome refuge from the rushing. A bespoke, handsewn shoemaker is not a natural rusher, believe me.

8.30 am, a photograper arrived to discuss a portrait for the new website. Met a new client next. Measured him up, and decided on a black wholecut with scarlet lining. Size 9 with a narrow joint, so it should be an elegant shoe.

Then it was getting ready for a photoshoot on Monday. We are having our Limited Editions and some bespoke shoes photographed, again for the new website. We are aiming for something dark, masculine and cool. Spent forever polishing and packing. Will all be worth it though. We have a new white patent Half-cut which I think is fabulous. Deborah does not agree but there you go. They are really something, bold; tactile; a touch fashion; and ever so slightly vulgar. Strutting shoes. Love 'em!

This week I finished a pair of black Derby boots with plain and grain calf. Norwegian welt, 3/8 sole. Quite something.

I did the welt in a different way this time because the stitches on a Norwegian welt can sometimes be unevenly spread. So this time, instead of making the holes in the insole with the awl before lasting, I made the insole and left it holeless. Once I had lasted them and was ready to welt, I made the awl holes as I went along and the result is splendid. Even length and no wobbles. Unorthodoxy is the way forward I think.

A Norwegian welt also has the problem of finishing the edge. Because the upper is the welt, it is difficult to get a solid hard finish. I sometimes think a storm welt may be better for this reason. I do like the fact that it shows the handmade nature of the construction though. The other thing I did was to finish the sole differently than normal. Half black, half natural. It looks good and is how the shoe will look after it is worn. What do you think?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rubber Top Piece

Belts and snow.

Friday again! Where does the week go?

I lost a day this week to a combination of the weather and the inability of the UK to cope with snow. On Monday morning I awoke to 10cm of snow and no public transport. So no work. The street was filled with excited children flinging snowballs in that crazed manner only achievable in chidhood. And some wonderful snowmen for company. Fantastic!

Back to work. Those eccentric pumps are finished. Two further curiosities. A full rubber top piece and some perforations to cool the feet. Patent leather is calf with an acrylic surface. It thus loses some of it's breathability and can be hot. Clients sometimes complain that leather soled shoes and top pieces can be slippery, hence the rubber top piece. This guy knows what he wants which is great. These shoes are obviously going to see some action!

Belts. We have just delivered a lovely belt to a client to match some shoes. Beautiful work. One of our closers does our belts and he is a fantastic craftsman. He is old school; apprenticeship with John Lobb Ltd and years of experience. His fingers carry the magic and they can simply do the work effortlessly. The sage green piping is milimetrically perfect. What do you think?