Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shoemaking, Step 2

Finding a pattern!

As per Mary Wales Loomis's suggestion, I decided to take apart a pair of old shoes for a pattern. This was a challenges since I don't cling to crappy or worn out shoes. I also just purged my closet during my bout with unemployment.
I did manage to dig up a crappy pair of Naturalizers that were an un-natural, wierd green. They are 9 1/2 AA and I normally order a 9 1/2, so they must have been on sale. They are man made uppers (not leather) with leather soles, but I thought I would give them a shot anyways.
Mary was right, this glue that they use isn't meant to come apart, and those little nails are insidious!

But, I have parts!
The weird green shape on the right is the shoe upper that I am using for the pattern. I have sprayed it with water to see if I can flatten it any with a book. I always knew that Principals of Auditing would come in handy.
You will notice that you see a white woven piece that is fused from about mid-arch to the heel. This is the part that is stiffened buckram.

The little U shaped pieces on the right side are called counters and are used to add extra stiffness to the heel area.

Here are more parts:
The far right is the inner sole with a futile attempt at padding, both inside and outside.
Next is the middle sole piece which is like thick oak tag in the heel area and heavy felt towards the toe (the heel is nailed to this).
The next piece is the outer sole. The green crud around the edges show that this is the side that gets cemented to the bottom of upper shoe. The reverse side is what hits the floor when you walk.
On the left is the plastic heel and the metal shanks. The shanks are what hold the angle of the shoe. One end goes on top of the heel and the other extends to the ball of the foot.

I already have quite a few ideas for fabulous shoes.

Of course leather is my first choice so I want over to G H Leather (I 10 and Shepherd in Houston) where they have the most fabulous lamb skin!
The lighter brown (cognac) at the top matches my DB leather trench from last year. I needed more for a belt anyway.
I also got some chocolate (Pantone 19-0912) to make a skirt, and hopefully some shoes. It just happens to match a cobra skin that I picked up at the Tandy Leather Store several years ago.

I also got some black. You can always use more black leather!

As for my first shoe design... In the book she suggests using fabric, esp. for your first pair.

But, I have never been one for the shallow end of the pool. Hey, I have worked with leather before and I think that it will shape and mold better!

Or, I could play it safe and make something like this:
In a gark gray pinstripe that might look really cool, and that twist thing is really in style.
But for now, I am off to find mold soap so that I can pour in my plaster and finish my lasts!

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