Thursday, May 29, 2014

Igniting a passion for shoe making

Even though the course is over, the passion for shoe making is hard to shake off. Three of the students from our New York course are already preparing to make their next pair of shoes...and all three will be making on bespoke lasts as we took the measurements at the end of class/here in London.

Taking Emily's measures watched by Aijaz
Aijaz went straight into work from his flight home wearing his shoes - "the most comfortable shoes he has ever owned!" - sporting some rather chic, string-coloured laces.


Let's hope that their hands stay tough and don't suffer as much as they did during the course (see below).


The great thing is that so many people are being inspired creatively- those students who have come on the course who have decided to keep making, from Adam in the North of England....

Adam's first pair on his own - looking great!

to Nazim in Malaysia;

Nazim's beautiful work  - many pairs along - those heel edges look sharp
our blog followers who are jumping in and teaching themselves to make shoes, like Benjamin in New York and Reynier in South Africa;

Reynier's handsewn work boots - love the seam stitching and rugged soles
and those who are inspired to pursue their own passions from children's shoes and sneakers to fashion plates and patterns.

We'd love to hear from you if you are out there shoe making on your own...because you're not on your own...there are hundreds of people around the world who are following a passion for this highly skilled trade.

Until next week, happy shoe making!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Shoe making course New York - days 10 - 12

After 12 days of hard work and a final onslaught of rasping, glassing and sanding five pairs of very handsome shoes were finished!





sustained by goodies from artisan chocolate makers Mast Brothers....and the odd beverage or two once the knives were put away.


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Congratulations class of 05/14! You should be very proud...we are. Until next week and news of James' visit to Istanbul, happy shoemaking!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shoe making course New York - days 7, 8, 9

We started the week further behind than we've ever been before...only two had cork and shanks on, others had cork still to complete and they all had to skive and rasp them smooth.

Somehow, with heads down and great effort by the students, they all had a shoe to take home to stitch Monday night. Phew!






It was a late one for all of them, apart from Aijaz who breezed through his stitching homework. Tuesday morning eyes were bleary but one shoe was well on its way to completion. Heads down again and by the end of Tuesday heels were being peened.


By Wednesday, today, everyone has split lifts on and even a couple of heels built. There is nothing like seeing your shoes taking shape! 




I'm looking forward to a couple of lovely days of finishing and some great results!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shoemaking Course, New York May 2014 - Days 4, 5 and 6

It's Saturday evening and my week teaching the Carreducker Intensive Shoemaking course in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is over. How time flies!
Deborah has arrived and is ready to take over on Monday. I fly home tomorrow morning - back to reality!

The students have got to the point where they are ready to put their soles on, so good progress.

On days 4, 5 and 6, we did the following

 Lasted the toe puffs.

Shaped them.

Prepared threads.


Made welts.


Welted the shoes (sorry, I deleted the photos) . And then put in the shanks.




Skived the shanks.



Happy students at the end of week 1. Lets hope they are as happy at the end of week 2 when their shoes are finished! I'm sure they will be.

So watch this space.


Until the next time, happy shoemaking!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shoemaking Course, New York 2014 - Days 1, 2, and 3

So here we are again in sunny Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York for another Carreducker Intensive Shoemaking Course.

After the success of our first pattern making course here last week, two of those students continued on to some shoemaking. And along with three other aspiring cordwainers, we are a happy bunch.




In the first three days,  after the customary sharpening of knives, we have done the following:


Skiving Toe Puffs And Stiffeners

More Skiving!


Insoles Drying Out Prior to Blocking


Prepared The Holdfast/Feather


And Again


And Then Some More




Today Saw Us Lasting
So, with a third of the course completed we are motoring along. Tomorrow will see us welting, depending on how well the thread making goes.

Until the next installment, happy shoemaking!f

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pattern Making for Shoes - New York - Day 5

Today began with a lovely social visit from two members of Carreducker's intensive course alumni - Hesper Shin and Wesley Knight. They stayed for a while to share their experiences - Hesper has studied at Ars Sutoria and Wesley has launched his own bespoke spectacle business.  

After much chat and discussion, thoughts and hands turned once again to patterns as Jesse took the group through the oxford lining. There was a test at the end - they had to complete the last piece without Jesse's help.  It was a good test to see what had actually been learned and they mostly succeeded - so something had stuck!.


They got the lining drape done, and fitted into the upper drape.  Then, with a bit of time left, Jesse showed them how to make the pattern for a whole cut.




Unsurprisingly conversations turned to design, but that is another topic entirely.

The spirit of pattern making is essentially problem solving using the basic information you have on the last and a mix of common sense and knowledge to solve the puzzle of each last. With the pattern making skills the group now have, they can go off to explore whether or not their designs will work and how to recreate them as good patterns.



The five busy days finished with questions, feedback, home made cake and Prosecco! Congratulations everyone! 

Now over to James to kick off the handsewn shoe making course at Brooklyn Bespoke on Monday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pattern making for bespoke shoes in New York - Day 4

Today was Oxfords day. The group started with the master pattern they had made on Tuesday for the Derby, as they were once more working on the Carreducker lasts.




The basic construction lines went well, and then they were tasked with making a paper drape.



As Jesse expected, the patterns sat badly on the lasts. But she was about to reveal her secret! By adding a teeny sliver at the front of the facings the whole thing snapped into position, straightening the throat where the facings meet at the vamp seam.  Understandably the group were doubtful, but when they made their new drapes they worked!



The last day of pattern making at Brooklyn Bespoke tomorrow (Friday). Fingers crossed for some more beautiful drapes, uppers and lining patterns.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pattern making for shoes New York - Day 3

Today, pattern making turned to high heels and so new lasts were taped up. Students were offered the chance to make patterns for medium to high heels - a few choosing the greater challenges (difficulties) the a very high heel offers.

Forme from pump last made...evaluating drapes 
Wright checking the fit of his drape
By lunch everyone had a perfect drape made of Tyvek
Working in the pattern for a pump
Tom whizzing through - his draughtsman skills coming in to play
The drape with intended top line drawn onto it
Step by step developing the pump pattern
...keeping the pattern paraphernalia  under control
Celia adding trimming allowance after springing her pattern to tighten the top line
'Teach' in action - Jesse showing right some of the finer points of the drape
All went well with the formes, but when it came to making the paper drapes things went slightly awry initially. This was intentional so that the students could see what happened if the forme was not sprung - essential for a pump pattern. Once they were shown the difference that springing the pattern made, perfect pump formes were created and the day turned to making the upper look symmetrical and raising the top line on the inside.


All in all a good day, with much learned.