Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Origin, The London Craft Fair

Set up Wednesday; opening day with the Other One Thursday; and my first day today. I am pooped but happy. We were slightly concerned about the new venue, but the crowds were big; the stands great; and sales good. The only downside was laughing boy here only taking a T-shirt on the day the winter started. Old Spitalfields is essentially an outdoor venue with a roof, so the icy north wind was a little testing. Live and learn though, tomorrow will see me more suitably clad. Many thanks go to the fellow exhibitors who lent me scarf, hat and gloves - lovely bunch, craftsmen.

Our stand looks lovely and we have received plenty of positive comments. Met press, buyers, some old clients and many new ones. I think it is going to be a good week.

This does mean that this week I have not been making shoes, so there will be a little break from the usual format. Shanks next week!

So, until then, happy shoemaking.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A whitewash and Origin!

This is the answer for anyone at Origin today wondering why The Other Ones hands look more like a decorators than a shoemakers ! A word of advice to Polycell - the handles on your tubs of paint need to be MUCH MUCH stronger.

But back to Origin which has queues around the block and which is buzzing with visitors in its new home at old Spitalfields market, E1

carreducker is at D23 so come to say 'hi' if you are passing by and don't forget to tell your City friends about the show. We are showing our bespoke; new Winker resort shoes in Harris tweeds; and a new Winkers collaboration in an Ikat fabric by textile designer and colour specialist Ptolemy Mann.

Origin is a mere 100 yards from Liverpool street and this is now one of the coolest areas to hang out in London if you are planning a night out...great food, bars and entertainment. The show is open until 9 tonight and then 10am to 6pm every day until next wednesday.

A refreshing break from the paint clear up and lovely to see familiar faces and to meet carreducker shoe fans old and new.

It is also a great opportunity to launch our new website at www.carreducker.com - go take a look and tell us what you think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goodwood day 3

A great buzz today. Goodwood is full of people keen to buy British - whether it is because of the eras being revived or something more 21st century - the economy - who knows. But it is great to hear a preference being voiced for British and for investment pieces...and it is obviously something we are very proud to claim.

...but on a less serious note, here are the mrs mopps giving the rocking horse chaps next door a good spring clean!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

With Mr D keeping you updated on the wonderful guys at Springline it has been left to me to fly the flag for carreducker ar Goodwood Revival. We are sharing a stand with Farnham tailor Eloise Grey. We have made three of her beautifull Isle of Mull tweeds into Winker resort shoes which wr are showing alongside Harris and Dashing tweeds.

Along with her coats and jackets and our bespoke shoes the stand looks great. Add some Cole & Son Ex Libris wallpaper and our reading room styling is complete and attracting admiring comments and photos...thankfully the shoes and clothes are being admired too. It is always a lot of work to create a welcoming environment edpecislly when we are working with canvas walls and roof.

Revivalists (if that is the correct collective) are a great bunch of people, full of bonhomie (and champagne!) and a more elegant crowd hasn't been seen for a good 60 years. It just goes to show how splendid men look in a well cut suit or in uniform! I am a down to earth sort of girl - I make shoes after all - but even I come over all unecessary with a man in uniform! It being ladies day today there are some very elegant ladies about. The best have period hair and make up and accessories. Today at Goodwood men are men and women are women - if only life were always so simple.

In the mean time we are having a fine old time plane and car spotting. There are some beauts as you can see. Limited petrol head celeb spots so far, but hopefully they will venture through the tunnel tomorrow for a spot of recreational shopping.

The show is open from 7 to 7 so we are doing long days and i am bombing around the Sussex countryside in a transit van! Wish it was something more glamorous - maybe next year? We are both at Origin next week from Thursday so more news from there as well as shoemaking tips!

I can hear a Hurricane preparing for take off so time for me to sign out. Come by to say hello at Origin if you are attending. T.O.O

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Trip To Northampton

It's true fellow shoemakers, sometimes I am not hunched over my table all day, messing up my back. Occasionally I leave the workshop and see the sky, the countryside, other people! Well, today was one of those days.

I took a trip up to Northampton, home of English shoemaking. Accompanied by my trusty apprentice of the last two weeks Seiji, we visited our last maker and leather merchant.

We are currently in the middle of a design project, so we need three new lasts to make the samples on. This requires a visit to Springline, the last remaining last manufacturers in England (I think, however, I would love to be proved wrong). Derek in the Model Room is very helpful and we spent a couple of hours looking through the archive. This is a thing to behold - hundreds of lasts on shelves gathering dust, lots of dust (more than used to that though).
Now, this may not sound very interesting, but to a shoe nerd like me, it is heaven. It really inspires the imagination. Lasts are objects of beauty. Seriously.

It can be a bit dazzling, and after a while, you stop seeing the lasts properly. Fortunately, you are allowed to photograph prospective lasts and make your final choice at your leisure. One thing to bear in mind when choosing lasts is that the finished shoe will look much softer because of the leather, toe puff etc. But it is really interesting and a lot of fun.

Springline makes lasts for the industry and also bespoke lasts by hand. They have four and a half skilled craftsmen working on the handmade side of things. They also make bespoke trees. I saw Derek in the middle of making some 3 piece boot trees for a client of ours. He showed me the rough turned obeche wood model and a finished boot tree he uses to help get it right. Our client's last is on the right.

Last maker at his bench.

The Model Room at Springline.

By the way, we found some amazing lasts, including some beautiful vintage ones. You have no idea how exciting this all is.

The other place we visited was A&A Crack and Sons where I bought some tan Scotch grain and some glace kid for linings. They have more leather than you could look at in one day, including most of the box calf we use on our shoes. It is a family run business and they are very patient.

All in a very successful trip.

Now, here's the thing. The Other One is, as we speak, on the South Downs at the Goodwood Revival selling Winkers, Limited Editions and measuring up bespoke clients. If yo're lucky, we may get a post with some pics of the event.

So, that is all from me. Until next week, happy shoemaking.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Insole Up In Waist 2

After last week's technical malfunction, I am ready to try again. Now the insole up in waist is not a particularly common feature in our making. So it is very fortunate for you, dear readers, that I had the opportunity to do two in two weeks. The reason being that we have an ex student with us for two weeks learning some new skills and honing the ones he already has. And one of the things he wanted to learn was insole up in waist.

It has been really interesting to see how he has progressed and to hear the tales of his attempts to learn shoemaking. His stories just confirm that it is quite challenging to learn a craft like ours, so it is with the greatest admiration that I say to all of you out there who are making shoes, well done and keep going! You can do it! And well done to you Seiji for persevering.

So, anyway, here we go. Seconds out, round two. Insole up in waist. For an explanation of why we do it, see last week's post.

So you block your insole as per usual and let them dry. Make sure you leave the insole full in the inside waist with nails right up to the top.

When the insole is dry, draw the curve of the up in waist. This will vary from client to client, but do it full to start with and, when you do the fittings, you can reduce it if necessary.

Make sure the two insoles are the same because you must make a pair of shoes which match. Cut the leather on the line with the knife straight up.

Using a plough or the tip of your knife, cut off the lip around the insole, but leave the inside waist untouched.

Skive the flesh side of the waist down to nothing. You must shape the waist with your knife so that it gives support, but does not bulk out the finished shoe. Do both shoes.

Take both insoles off the lasts by removing the 4 nails. The next thing to do is line the waist with the same leather as you have used in the linings of the shoes. You do this because the sock at the end will not cover the waist, so to make it more attractive, we cover them.
Draw a curved line on the inside of the insole where the cover will finish.

Now, to make the cover. You need to make a paper pattern for the covers. Take a piece of newspaper (or similar) approximately the right size. Place it on the top edge of the waist and make a sharp fold which will leave a line on the paper. Draw a pen line on this fold. Along this line, draw a second line 1/4" away and join the two lines. This is the margin which will be folded over the top edge of the waist to make it look neat.
Then draw the curved line from the waist onto the paper pattern. Do this by lifting the paper bit by bit and drawing the line. Cut out the pattern. You now have a paper pattern.

Remember that in general with shoes, you have a right and a left, so when you use a pattern, you must turn it over for the other shoe.
Draw the pattern onto the leather, one for each waist. Remember to turn it over for the second one.

Cut out the pieces.

On the curved edge which will be visible inside the shoe, skive off the very edge, about 1mm, down to nothing. This is to avoid an uncomfortable lump inside the shoe.

On the other curve, skive off just under the 1/4". You don't want the skiving to be visible on the top edge of the waist.

This is the finished cover, ready to glue on.

Glue the back of the covers and the insole, including the 1/4" on the outside of the top of the waist. Use contact adhesive.

Let the glue dry for 10 minutes.
You are now ready to glue them on. Start at one end and place the cover on the curved line on the insole. Keep some tension on the cover as you place it along the line. Smooth it down up to the top edge, but don't fold it over just yet.

With a pair of scissors, make a series of cuts, but not right to the top edge. This is to help folding it over.

Fold the cover over the top edge and glue it down.

You now have the covers in place.

Put the insoles back on the lasts in exactly the same place and nail them. You are now ready to prepare the holdfast/feather as usual.

Hope that makes sense.

So that is that. Good luck with it if try it.

Until next week, happy shoemaking.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Insole Up In Waist

September already! Feeling very thankful for the Indian summer, but the nights are getting darker and colder. Summer holidays are over and I have that back to school feeling (along with all the kids - boo!).

We have two shows coming up. The first is Goodwood Revival, which should be fun. The Other One is going as a land girl and, funnniest of all, is camping the whole weekend. Let's pray for good weather!

The other show is Origin. This year it has moved to Spitalfields Market in the City and it coincides with Design Week this year. We are looking forward to it a lot and it should be a fantastic show.

And so to shoemaking. We have a number of clients with problematic feet and one of the commonest is fallen arches. Many people get orthotics as a remedy to this which they put in their shoes. This can cause a problem for us because it makes fitting the shoes harder. Do they wear the orthotics all the time? Or do they put them in and out depending on the day?

We often suggest a built in solution which is easy to do and seems to work very well. This is called Insole Up In Waist and involves leaving the insole very full in the waist and covering it, so that it gives arch support, but also looks neat.

And here is how to do it. First you mark a curved line on your lasts where you want the support to be. This depends on the extent of the problem. It is better to do it full and then try the shoes on. You can always reduce the support if you need to. Make sure the lines are the same.

Grrr... at this point dear followers, I would upload all the photos which we took during the process and describe them to you. Unfortunately, I have had a technology malfunction and the photos are not on the camera's memory card which is very bizarre because I reviewed the shots as I took them. And the Other One took a few when I needed two hands. It's a mystery and very annoying and it also means that I have nothing prepared to tell you about. It makes me feel like Janet Jackson at the Superbowl. Never mind.

I can show you the finished result, but that is not much use to you I suppose. I will have to wait until I do another to show you the process.

All I can do is apologise and urge you to come back next week for a fuller and more fulfilling helping of shoemaking fare.

So, until then, happy shoemaking