Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 20 July 2018

August social; MakeMoreFest and 12-Day July Shoe Making School


Welcome back good shoe folk we're delighted to say that we have well and truly christened the new shoe school over the past 12 days.


If you're in London on the first Tuesday of the month why not pop in to the Fitzroy Tavern at 16 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia for some creative chat and a pint or a glass or two? It's a regular gathering (started by the effervescent Mark Tallowin) on the first Tuesday of the month and it's a case of whoever is free come along and bring your friends. The next one is 7 August...hope to see you there?

The Fitzroy is a proper pub on 16 Charlotte Street a few minutes walk from Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street tube stations.


Now for an update on the July shoe making students. Well they've ploughed ahead and are the first group to have top pieces on their heels and trimmed by the 9th day! We believe Ken is to thank for setting a brisk (blistering) pace that has kept the others on their toes :)

Here's what they've been up to...some lovely shoes in the making.





It was exciting when Panida brought one of these newspapers into class. They're being brandished about East London to promote MakeMoreFest over the August Bank Holiday.

You can now book tickets to our saddle stitch Key Fob classes with Frankey Pinnock on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2pm or bring a pair of shoes to buff and burnish around the fireside on Thursday or Friday evening at 7pm.

Until next week with the results of the five day summer Pattern Making course, happy shoe making!

Friday, 13 July 2018

12-Day Intensive Shoe Making Course, July 2018 - Week 1

Hello again to one and all, we hope you have had a great week

To really get the new school in the groove, we have been running the first 12-day intensive shoe making course there this week

It was smaller group of 3 which meant that any teething problems were easy to sort out, but the school looks to be functioning just great and is a lovely environment for learning.

We set up the classroom ready for a 9.30 start on Monday morning with lasts, uppers, a tool kit, a rough stuff pack and course notes.

And in the first day, we covered knife sharpening - an essential skill.

We also we blocked the insoles and skived the toe puffs and stiffeners.

Blocking the insole

Insoles blocked and ready to dry for Tuesday.

With the insoles blocked and dried, Tuesday saw us preparing the insole for lasting.

Preparing the holdfast or feather

Cutting the holdfast

Wednesday was lasting, stretching the uppers over the lasts with the toe puffs ans stiffeners between the lining and the upper.

Thursday and Friday,  we spent the time welting which is the basis of the construction we do. They prepared the welts and made threads. This is a challenge but very rewarding and the students did a great job.

Concentrating on welting!

And we wanted to show you our beautiful new table, forged in Sheffield

Our beautiful new table base made from cast iron

Class continues tomorrow, Saturday (this is hardcore shoemaking!) and we will bring you the results next week.

Until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 6 July 2018

School's IN For Summer!

Welcome back good shoe folk. Whilst the debate about whether we're in Islington, Hoxton or Shoreditch rages on the reality is that, a bit like the Bermuda Triangle, we are on the borders of all three depending on who you ask....but what borders they are! 

With summer school under way at 50 Chocolate Studios from Monday...

Here's our tambour cabinet packed with seven shoe making kits, lasts and uppers

...we thought we'd give you a taster of some of the fabulous architecture, food and culture on our new doorstep.

Palladian architecture around Bank

The magnificent, Sir Edward Lutyens-designed, Grade II listed 1 Finsbury Circus...
pictured above and below

The original door of the Honourable Artillery Company

And it's turrets

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground - a leafy oasis of calm and handy cut-through
between City Road and  Bunhill Row

Home to William Blake's cenotaph

A juxtaposition of old and new with the Museum of Methodism

Wesley's Chapel and Museum

The Chapel's stunning gardens

Ultra-cool workspace White Collar Factory
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...hip hotel The Hoxton (image courtesy of

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and ultra-hip, members-only, Shoreditch House (image courtesy of

Street signs new and old ...or not

Some great, characterful public houses - The Angel
Great food and atmosphere at The Three Crowns nestled between its modern neighbours 
and below, at our local the Eagle

London's changing skyline in a nutshell

Shoreditch Grind for great brunch and coffee

The old and the new

The wonderful facade of Imperial Hall, built in 1930 as a Methodist mission
originally known as the Leysian Mission. Now Grade II listed, it is apartments

A bit of retro browsing just around the corner at Renaissance under what looks like the most amazing, sadly private, roof garden

Cosy Westland Coffee for a cuppa on the way to the workshop
and a glass of convivial wine on the way back

And that really is just a snapshot of the locale...we can't wait to get to know it better.

Until next week - when normal service resumes with an update from the first shoe making course at Chocolate Studios - a belated 4th of July, happy shoe making and good luck to England tomorrow!