Sunday, 3 June 2018

Me made May - all about the shoes!

My pledge for me made May went like this...

"pledge to focus on my footwear and try and make some quality shoes during the month of May. I also pledge to not buy any fabric and only sew from my stash for the whole month." 

I did focus on my shoes, but I did buy 1 piece of fabric, so I failed ever so slightly!

I chose to focus on footwear as an incentive to get making. My hand made garments are already in heavy rotation and my style is well developed, so I wanted to set myself a task for the month.

I have been wanting to delve back into shoes and sharpen up my skills ever since I bought these gorgeous new leathers from the Misan fabric shop on Goldhawk road.

 The only pair of shoes I had at the beginning of the month were these sandals, which I made earlier in the year. As I'm still experimenting, these were not my most successful make. I was still trying not to use adhesives, but the way I constructed them meant there was too much stress in some areas of the sole and the layers wanted to pull apart and also the turquoise leather is so stiff that they are hard on my toes. I tweaked and altered them until I decided that they were a great learning curve and took them apart completely. Like I said though, they were a great pair for learning all the things I would do differently when I make them again!

Note - I have since bought some water based adhesive that I am more than happy to use! Renia Aquilim

I was determined to make some closed toe shoes for my next pair. I had been wanting to, but somehow making a pledge gave me the push I needed to just get on with it!

I did not photograph the making of these as I just needed to get making and quite frankly, I have no idea what I'm doing. Ha! I hand sewed the yellow upper and strap to the insole in the same way I devised on my first pair of shoes here. I did use adhesive on this pair and also nails to make the outer sole extra secure.

 They are not identical twins, but rather closely related. the yellow uppers were not successfully matched and covered more of one foot than the other, but I trimmed it and made them as good as I could without ruining them completely and now they've been well worn you'd never know ;-)

Everything to do with making shoes for me is a learning process!!!

 The result is that I am super happy with this pair and have worn them for much of May!

I do get a lot of requests for tutorials on how to make shoes, but it's kind of difficult for me, because as I just mentioned, I am constantly learning and still establishing what I want my method to be. I don't want to pass on my limited knowledge knowing that it doesn't guarantee success, but I had a shoe refashion project on my list that is easy enough to share.

 This pair of blue shoes have been sitting in the garage unloved for a while with the idea of transforming them. I love the look of them as they were, but they were incredibly uncomfortable.

The synthetic lining caused blisters every time and the raised foot bed hurt the bottom of my toes even though it was soft. The main issue of these shoes appears to be the amount of plastic in their make up, so with great satisfaction I ripped them apart! Be warned though, industrial processes produce very well made shoes that are HARD to take apart.

I used the inner sole as a template to cut some card to cover the gaps in the outsole. It is that washable paper leather stuff so pretty hard wearing, not actual cardboard from a cereal packet.

I glued it to the sole unit and then cut and glued a slightly smaller foam piece to cushion the sole. The foam is used for bra padding and came from a closed down lingerie factory. You find a use for everything eventually...

Next up  cut and glued some leather to complete my insole and because the original upper was sewn in place I punched holes to sew my new insole to the outsole.

I then trimmed the leather in line with the outsole with a craft knife.

My pattern prep was not very technical. I chose a simple slider style and wrapped a strip of paper over the top of my foot and rubbed along the edge of the outsole for my cutting line. I made sure to push the paper under my foot slightly to allow for the stitch line.

I marked my stitch holes and basted the upper in place to check the fit. I did have to remove 0.5cm before finally stitching the shoe together with a strong linen thread.

These are infinitely more wearable and I'm so pleased to have saved them from the garage. Also, it seems I have a real love of citrus coloured shoes!

The before and after both look good except I can wear one version without crying.

So obviously this refashion will not work for every shoe, but it gives you an idea that there is more creative scope to your shoes than you think!

I hope you had a good and inciteful May! x