Friday, September 25, 2009

One For The Ladies

Well, it's 3 actually.

To much fanfare and excited squawks from the Other One, we are launching our women's bespoke shoes. We have always made bespoke shoes for women, but it is about time that we formalize it with some samples to show at events that we do, particularly Origin, where we are presenting them for the first time to the waiting world.

I have finished the first pair, which is a stylised loafer, The Dietrich. In antiqued calf with purple piping, it is a high heeled beauty on a very pointed last. The upper is a piece of closing mastery. The hand stitched lake continues around to the back seam and is absolutely perfect. As is the purple piping which is the kind of detail that sets bespoke shoes apart from their ready to wear cousins. The making is a simple bevelled waist on a bare 3/16 sole with a natural finish. Given the antiqued brown upper, we thought a natural finish would set it off. It's a long time since I made a high stacked heel and I am pleased with the result. It's quite a 70s shape which I like. My other worry was the heel being heavy, but, having removed the lasts, the shoes are wonderfully light ( I thought I might have to drill holes in the heels to lighten them which is an old shoemakers trick, but there is no need).

Please excuse the lack of socks in the shoes. They are coming.

The other 2 samples are a boot and a brogued golf shoe type wholecut (difficult to imagine, but watch this space).The boot is welted and awaits a square waist 3/16 sole. But it is the upper you have to see. It's red hair on kid with a floral pattern; gun metal grey glace kid; a soft bellows tongue; and a back zip so that the front corset lacings are decorative and can be laced up or not to reveal more or less of the tongue. It's a pretty ritzy design that will get the ladies swooning (and getting their credit cards out hopefully).

The wholecut is a brogueing extravaganza; the whole thing is covered in a snaking punched pattern on black calf. But what will make it stand out is the purple underlay which will make the holes purple. With the large fringed tongue and tassles, it is going to look gorgeous.

So, with just under a week to go, I have my work cut out. Plus the fact that all the Winkers are here and need boxing up. A shoemaker's work is never done. I am going to persuade those elves to come out of retirement!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hot Off The Presses

Fame at last! We are officially cool.

In print, no less. And no vanity publishing project this, oh no. A beautiful, image rich coffee table book called Shoe Design. We have 6 pages of our gorgeous footwear, including my shapely legs in thigh length boots. Contain your astonishment/laughter/disgust (delete as appropriate). We sit alongside such shoe gods as Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and my particular favourite, Terry de Havilland.

It's in the shops now, £34.95, or, it pains me to say, about half that on Amazon. But for you die-hard carreducker fans, signed copies are available from us.

I am going to finish the holdfast essay, but before I do, feast your eyes on these little beauties. A pair of bespoke boots, made in association with Stowers Bespoke, as an accompanying piece for a coat in the same tweed. Absolutely gorgeous.

Ok, holdfast completion. We left it with the first cut, the outside of the holdfast, finished. The next stage is the inside cut. The main thing to remember here is the angle of the knife. First time round, the angle was 90 degrees. This time, hold the knife at 45 degrees, cutting towards the inside of the last.

Be careful not to cut too deep. About the same as the first cut, just the tip of the knife. And stick to the 45 degree angle.

Unlike the first cut, continue this one all the way round the heel, so that you meet up with the start of the cut (see picture). Now it is time to make the holes with your welting awl. Start at the heel point on the left last and make holes about 4 to the inch, towards you. Any smaller weakens the holdfast, a little bigger is ok, but no less than 3 to the inch.

At the toe, you have to bear in mind that the distance around the toe on the inside is is about half that on the outside. To compensate draw a series of lines in a fan shape around the toe. On the inside, the lines will be almost touching, but on the outside, the lines will maintain the 4 to the inch rule.

Go all the way round to the other heel point and you have a finished holdfast and are ready to begin lasting. Well done to all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

While the Master is away, The Other One has her day!

Greetings shoe fans one and all, for one weekend only this is The Other One filling you in on all that is happening with us here, in the light-filled studio that is home to carreducker.

As many of you will know from the Master's musings, it's been a busy year for us - a year of firsts in fact - with new ventures on Savile Row and in Manchester; taking our shoemaking course transatlantic to New York; Trunk shows to the USA; and trade shows in Florence!

We're delighted to say that things aren't quietening down for the autumn. Next month we are launching our first Ladies bespoke designs, a complete range of Winkers slip-ons in Dashing Tweeds exuberant fabrics; and new Limited Edition Extreme Oxford Brogues. So to be first in the queue to order your shoes, come and see us at:

Stand E6, Origin, Somerset House, London
October 6 - 11

QEST Craft Salon, GTC, Sloane Square, London
November 4-5

Leffot Trunk Show, West Village, New York
November 19

Cockpit Open Studios, Bloomsbury London
November 27-29

Cockpit Open Studios, Deptford, London
December 4-6

It will be great to meet you in person and please do extend the invitation to shoe-obsessed friends, family and colleagues.

Well that's my brief foray on the blogspot - a change from your regular handsewn masterclass, but don't worry, the Master will be back making at full throttle, next week!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Holdfast Or Feather?

Friday already! The bank Holiday throws the week out. Having wrestled with Italian VAT reclaim forms all morning (why do Latin languages love relative clauses so much?), I am retreating to the cosy refuge of the blog.

A snippet from the carreducker bespoke shoe style archive.
Bergundy shoes are an abomination. Discuss.
I think my feelings on the matter are evident in the question. However, I would say that Horween dark begundy cordovan is acceptable. But it's practically brown anyway.

Back to the holdfast. Left you last week with the holdfast drawn on the insole and ready to cut. The first line to cut is the outside one from heel point to heel point. As always, you will need to sharpen your knife. Using the very tip (about 1mm) cut along the line, holding the knife totally vertical. Do not cut any deeper than indicated because it will weaken the holdfast.

The cut will seem invisible, so you should wet it and open it up gently with a screwdriver.

Next we have to cut away the outside of the holdfast. About half way down the edge of the insole (about the depth of the previous cut), using the knife, cut into the insole horizontally, so that the 2 cuts meet at 90 degrees to each other. Again, be careful noy to cut further that the first cut, ie, into the substance of the holdfast as this will weaken it fatally.

On the inside waist, make a tiny cut to reveal the line more clearly. Then skive away the leather to zero on the insole. This is so that the foot is not uncomfortable at the inside waist. If ther customer asks for arch support, you can make this part higher and cover it in the lining material (called insole up in waist).

Now you have the outside part of the holdfast finished, leaving the inside line to cut and the holes to make with the awl. More next week.