I have been thinking about warmer weather and my long lasting RTW sandals have finally bitten the dust! I normally eek out sandals for a fair few years by getting them re-soled etc, but alas their time was up! I do have other warm weather shoes, but just not a really good comfy flat pair.
I have not made any more shoes since my first and last pair here, but I have been thinking about it and forming ideas for construction during that time. I find that the time in between is really important for me to assess what I learnt from a task. What I did and didn't like and how I what lessons I would like to carry forward.
One of the things that has really struck me since my first pair is how I can fit this new skill into my life without it causing too much disruption. The tools and glue traditionally required for shoe making is not at all child friendly and seeing's as I'm with children for the majority of time I needed to find a way to make this more suitable. First off the glue! This is the worst bit, because although I know you can get friendlier less fumey glues the one I have is pretty noxious. I decided to be done with glue altogether as it seems too grim and I read somewhere that one of the reasons that shoes can't be easily recycled is because the components can't be separated easily. I am now using the power of the needle and thread and nails in it's place (with one tiny exception that I shall confess to later). I have also kept the tools as basic as possible and easy to store at my design/sewing space up high.
Another thing I find useful with many skills I've learnt is to research as much as possible about how to do things properly, try a few different methods out and then try and forget about what you've learnt in order to formulate a method that suits you and your style of working. Without going into the ins and outs of how I made each shoe, I basically adjusted my designs to suit my growing skills and constructed them in the easiest and most solid way I am personally capable of doing. I believe it took quite some time to figure out how I could achieve my end goal, but I am really happy with the results!
Here is the first pair I finished and these are my dino sandals ;-) The uppers and soles are all stitched together, which I was able to do easily by having the feature top 'spike' design. I sewed this seam last leaving the whole shoe open until the end. The stacked heels and rubber heel tip are nailed in place. The main shoe sole rubber is glued, which was the only bit I compromised on really. I hate that I did and I have since sourced some short shoe nails to be able to nail the sole in future. I have no idea how well these will hold up without glue, so the testing will be in the wearing, but they do feel pretty solid! The straight angles on the sole unit are an aesthetic I like, but are also much easier to cut satisfactorily neat, so serves a double purpose! The leather uppers are small pieces from a discontinued sample book (hence the non-matchiness) and the thick, whiter pieces of the sole and heel are some unknown leather scraps I bought off ebay. It is a large box of weird shaped offcuts that are probably of no use to anyone other than me! The yellow is not reclaimed in any way, but the thick leather is perfect for sturdy shoe parts and it is proving to be a great investment! The crepe rubber for the sole is from here.
The next pair I am making (not finished yet) are my favourite so far and definitely the most practical. All stitched so far and they will have a crepe sole nailed on at the end. The design is inspired by historical shoes with an unfussy fit and fastening. The back has been elasticated for a snug fit and the thick yellow leather from before is used as a heel counter. I am just finishing up the second one ready for the soles.
So that is me so far. Really enjoying my shoe journey and I am enjoying the breaks as well as the practice as this is a long term development of a skill. I can only really put my ideas into practice when I need or want a new pair of shoes, so it is fairly meditative in a way.
Anyway, that is all from me for now. Byeeeeeee x