So, after a triumphant debut at Origin (yes triumphant!), here we are back in the studio. All in all it was a very successful show for us. We took orders, both bespoke and ready to wear; met plenty of journos and trade; have many interested punters to follow up; and, most importantly, a certificate to hang on our wall. We have already had follow-up emails from a few of the people we met. So it should mean more orders down the line. Excellent!
We have more shows on the way too. First up is the QEST British Craft Fair, 4th and 5th November at General Trading Company in Sloane Square (click link for details and see you there).
12th November we have a bespoke event in Blackburn, Lancashire in association with Edwards Of Manchester shoe shop. More details to come.
Then comes the show at Leffot, 10 Christopher St in New York, 19th November, 12 till 7pm. This should be exciting. A chance to do the fittings for our customers who ordered bespoke shoes in May; to measure up some new ones; and to showcase the Winkers. The store will have had 2 colourways on sale by then and we will be able to show people the other 7 tweed options available. A date for your diaries.
We also have the Cockpit Arts Open Studios, 27, 28 29 November (address and times through link). Your chance to see our workshop; buy those hard to find Christmas presents; and generally have a behind the scenes look at designer makers at work. Nice!
And so to bespoke shoemaking. We left the blind welt with the sole glued on and trimmed all the way round to 3/16" from the welt. Hammer up the sole very hard so that it gets as close to the upper as possible. Now for the fun bit. From heel to heel, you need to cut a line along the edge to the thickness just thicker than required (1/4" in this case).
Wet the cut you have made and peen it close to the upper with the french shape hammer. You will have to work this, but don't hit the upper! Get it as close as you can. Then hammer it flat with the other end of the hammer to remove the peening marks. At this point, you must cut the channel as you would with any shoe. Make sure you don't cut through the sole! Open up the channel with a screwdriver and open up the sole where it touches the upper. Use the sleeking bone. You are now ready to stitch. Start at the heel and stitch towards yourself. Stitch about 4 to the inch.
Squish (technical term) the stitches flat with the sleeking bone. Close down the channel with it and hammer flat. This is a bit counter intuitive, but it sets the leather in place and gets rid of wrinkles before you glue it.
Open the channel again and glue it with neoprene, let it dry and then close it again. Hammer as before and smooth the sole with the smoothing stick (a sanded chair leg?).
Now we have to tidy up the top edge. This is a quarter inch sole so, mark a line with a pen this width. You will have to do this freehand. Make it as even as you can.
More fun now. Open the sole up a bit so it sits away from the upper. Wet it and cut the line, clean and flat. You can use a piece of plastic to protect the upper.
You will see now that the top of the line is neat and straight but quite thick. You need to cut this thin. Sharpen your knife and wet the offending area. Cut this edge to nearly nothing all the way round.
Peen the edge back to the upper. To finish off sand the edge like you would any other edge. Glass it; sand it; and set it with a bevelled waist iron. Hey presto, a finished blind welt.
If you have got this far well done. And remember I did this for the first time with this bespoke shoe, so I know how nerve wracking it is. But shoemaking is about bravery. Go for it!