Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pattern Making Course Summer 13. Day 3

Third day and the students are really flying. Today saw them really getting stuck into the Oxford.





Having done the taped the last and drawn the design on to it yesterday, the students began the day by cutting the forme off the last which they flattened from a 3D shape to a 2D  shape on the paper.



From here they made the master standard and drew the design lines onto it. This is called the design standard.



From here come the sectional pieces of the pattern. There are six of these for the cap Oxford.



They ended the day with joining the sectional pieces together and trying them on the last.







Tomorrow they will do the Oxford lining patterns and then start the Derby - lots of pieces to be doing!

Until then, happy shoemaking!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pattern making Course, Summer 13. Day 2

Today saw our students doing the lining pattern for their court shoes. This involved a 3 piece pattern, vamp, body and counter.





Then, on the same last, the students drew a slipper design (which is like the court shoe but with a tab on the vamp) and made a forme.



After lunch saw them moving on to the Oxford. After a discussion of the style and its history, they selected a new last and taped it up. From here they drew the design lines onto the last.





The results were very impressive and I think the students went away having learnt a lot. Fiona reported that they had worked really hard and maintained good levels of concentration. Time flies when you are having fun.

More tomorrow

Happy shoemaking!



Monday, July 29, 2013

Pattern Making Course - Summer 13. Day 1

Today saw the start of carreducker's first Pattern Making Course for shoemakers which is very exciting for us. The focus of the course is on bespoke pattern making rather than pattern making for the industry. So ideal for people who want to make one-off shoes on their own rather than for graded runs for production.

As with our intensive Shoemaking Courses, it is a highly practical class with the majority of the time spent actually making patterns.

This is the classroom, lovely and bright as you can see





So, with Fiona Campbell, expert pattern maker, at the helm, our five students started the day with a discussion of the role of the pattern maker within the bespoke shoemaking process.



Next came an introduction to the tools of the trade and a look at the last.



During the week they will look at 3 styles of shoe - the court shoe/pump, the Oxford and the Derby. Today they started with the court shoe, including a brief history of the style.

And then they moved on to practical work which involved taping the last; drawing on the design; and making a standard.

This led to cutting sectional patterns and testing them on the last.






So it was a full day's work with a lot of new things to take in and learn. Tomorrow will see them moving on to the lining pattern for the court shoe.

Good luck guys and we hope you really learn a lot during the week.

Happy shoemaking!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Glue 3

So, we meet again loyal readers. And for anyone finding this blog for the first time, welcome to our wonderful world of shoes.

We have joined Instagram and it's fun! Here is a shot I posted today. Quite proud of it. Amazing what you can do on a phone.


Our username is carreducker, so check it out. We have already found old friends and some shoemakers new to us.

Our Pattern Making Course starts on Monday which is exciting. Our first one. Five full days with Fiona Campbell. She has extensive experience in all aspects of West End bespoke shoemaking with James Taylor and the exclusive West End Master Boot Makers Society. She is a footwear consultant; lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum; and tutor at Cordwainers College (now the London College of Fashion). So she knows her stuff. Students will be learning all aspects of pattern making for bespoke shoemaking and will make patterns for 3 styles during the week. A Derby, Oxford and a court shoe.

Will report back next week as to how it went.

And so to glues. The last one we use is rubber solution. It is used in the same way as the contact cement in that you must put a thin layer on both surfaces to be bonded. You let it dry to a tacky feel and then pressure the two surfaces together.

The big difference is its strength. While it achieves a strong bond, it is not as strong as the contact adhesive. So if you are gluing something you want to last but may want to take apart again, use rubber solution.
Originally it used to be made from natural rubber. I have no idea whether it is nowadays, but it seems slightly less toxic that the contact adhesive (I may be wrong on that!)

We use this Renia product which we find pretty good.


We were taught at Lobb to use it for attaching the sole prior to stitching it, principally to help the repairer at the time of resoling. We have moved to using the contact cement because it is stronger and we don't mind the shank and filler coming out when we take the shoes apart.

So that leaves not much else to use it for. Mostly we use it to put socks in. It's good for this because you can put a big dollop on the insole and some more on the sock, and, without letting dry at all, put it in place and then move it around until you have found the perfect spot for the sock. Then the glue dries in place.
It also means the sock is easy to replace.

One really good feature of both the rubber solution and the contact adhesive is that if you get it on the uppers of a shoe you are making, it just rubs off with your finger without marking the leather. And in tough to reach places you can use a bit of insole/sole/heel leather to remove it.

And that is about it for glues. Any of you have any alternatives? Would love to hear from you. I know there are recipes for paste out there. Anyone tried them?

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

PS one use of the contact adhesive we didn't mention last week was closing down the channel on the sole after stitching.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Glue 2

Another week goes by, but this Friday finds London baking in 30 degree sunshine in an unexpected but very welcome heatwave. I was wrong about our summer. This year, we are really having one. Hooray!

It does mean that our workshop here is unbelievably hot and you have to work at half speed and drink litres of water. This week we reorganised some of our customer lasts into more a spacious home and alphabetised them so that they are easier to find. Quite satisfying displacement activity.



And this is a sneak preview of a pair of boots we are making for a very good customer of ours. Any guesses as to what the animal is? And don't worry, it's all legal and above board with a CITES licence.



It's very beautiful, if a little disconcerting!

This week sees us returning to glues. We looked at paste a couple of posts ago and this week it's the turn of contact adhesive (or neoprene). This is the strongest glue we use and is solvent based. This means you have to use it in a well ventilated space because the solvents are toxic!

We use Colle de Cologne by Renia, but there are many on the market.


The essential fact about this glue is that you must put it on both surfaces you want to attach in a thin coating and you must let it dry for between 5 and 30 minutes until it is just tacky to the touch. You then place the two surfaces together and it bonds them.
You can leave it longer, overnight for example, and then next morning you can revive it with a hair dryer or heat gun. This forms an even stronger bond.
I have heard of people doing this and then putting on a second coat of adhesive and letting that dry. Never done it, but give it a try.
It only works on porous surfaces and in the time it is drying, it forms a bond with the surface it is on. This is why it is such a strong glue.

We use it for

  • attaching the sole before stitching
  • splicing together welts (for a welted seat for example)
  • glueing in the shank and filler
  • glueing on the top piece




There are some things to bear in mind when you use it though.
  • it can form a thin line between layers of leather, for example, on heels or between the welt and sole. This can show up when you are finishing, so be careful. Best to use as thin a layer as possible
  • you only get one chance to stick, so you have to position it right first time. You can't shift it about like you can with paste.
  • it's nasty toxic stuff, so open a window or turn on a fan
  • it's extremely strong, so only use it on bonds you do not want to break. We were taught not to use it for shanks and filler because when the repairer comes to resole the shoe, the sole pulls out the filler and shank. This is true, but we do all of our own repairs, so it is not an issue. But a general point is to think about your shoes over a period of years. You will have to repair them, so don't do anything that you can't easily reverse.
That is about your lot for contact adhesive, apart from to say that you would use this glue if you are going to use a cemented construction for your shoemaking. Not something we do here at carr├ęducker, but a perfectly valid way to make shoes.

Next time we will look at rubber solution.

Until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Buckingham Palace and Bootees



Now before you jump to any conclusions, yes we have made some bootees, yes they are at Buckingham Palace, but no, they are not (yet) destined for royal tootsies. We shall see....

The reason for this royal activity is of course the Coronation Festival which takes place this weekend.



Scholars from The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) have decorated the Queen’s Summer House at Buckingham Palace, as part of the Coronation Festival celebrations.






Together with Hare and Humphreys, seven scholars have painted murals and decorative effects within the octagonal building set amongst the trees of the Queen's garden and it has been dressed with the work of other scholars including a contemporary dining table, made from English walnut and cherry wood; a commemorative plaque; and a wicker corgi!



The restored Summer House.




As a QEST scholar, Deborah was delighted to champion carreducker too. So, amongst the delights awaiting visitors to the Summer House are a pair of navy blue, brogue bootees. (You were all treated to a special preview in a recent post!). Our beautiful bootees - ideal for a boy or a girl (wink, wink).










Gieves and Hawkes very own 'white cube'


Gieves and Hawkes cutter Mr Lee Webb and his apprentice.



The grandstand at the back of the Palace.




Top British talent on stage, of course.




Beautiful vintage cars.










Deborah in the garden in her Sunday best.











So there you go. Old Liz knows how to throw a party.

Next week we will get back to glue, honest.

Until then, happy shoemaking!