Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fancy A Bit Of Norwegian?

So, another week over. And a good week it has been.

The QEST Craft fair at GTC in Sloane Square was very good. We met a lot of new clients in a fantastic location. I was strangely tickled by a crocodile of local school children in bergundy corduroy britches; yellow wooly jerkins; and green overalls which passed the window. It was like a scene from Dickens, and I thought how odd. But then I remembered we were in Chelsea. West London is another world.

We also had our first group meeting with the Crafted programme and met the other people involved. It was really interesting to see how other designer/makers deal with common problems. We also met some craftspeople we could collaborate with. More to come with that one. It's a very exciting opportunity for us and we are hoping to meet the Amex people who are funding it when we are in New York in a couple of weeks.

On my way in this morning I was also thinking about what to blog about in terms of shoemaking. I sat down at my table, picked up the next shoe to start lacking inspiration, and out of nowhere comes a Norwegian welt to save the day. A curious thing the Norwegian welt. I have never really understood it's purpose, but the theory is that it is more robust and slightly more waterproof. I have my doubts, but it does look great and really shows off the handsewn nature of bespoke shoes.

Normally the welt is a separate strip of leather which you sew on, to be used later to attach the sole. I n the Norwegian version, the welt is the upper which is folded out and then used to stitch through to attach the sole. It's easier to demonstrate than describe, as with most things shoe.

First you prepare the insole. Trim like a normal one, but instead of the normal holdfast, you ignore the outside part and just do the second cut, the inside part.

This looks a bit half-baked, but it will be fine. Most people prepare the holes at this point like a normal insole. In this case, I prefer to make the holes when I am stitching on the sole as I go along, because I find it easier to make sure the stitches are an even size and in a straight line. You'll see.
Because this is a boot, I put a fitting on the last, so that the upper does not bend and crease when it is being made. Use a straight piece of leather and make a cut near the bottom on both sides. Nail it on as in the picture.

Next last the upper as per normal. The only thing you need to watch is leaving more of the lasting allowance when you trim, because you will be using it as the welt.

That is as far as I got with it today, so more next week. Have a good one