Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 4 February 2011

Side Linings 2

February already! What happened to January?

I left you all in the middle of something last week. It just goes to show that planning is key, both in bespoke shoes and in life. Last week I planned to write about a Norwegian welt that I am making. I had all the pics sorted and had planned what to say. But then I got the inspiration about how to tell a bespoke shoe from a factory shoe and my life as a model clouded my judgement and I ended up talking about side linings, a short and seemingly impossible subject to mess up. But I did not finish the story, so I will this week.

But first some news.

Last night The Other One and I went to the degree show of this years graduates from London College of Fashion, which was very interesting. We particularly wanted to see the shoes made by our friend Michelle Quick who we have been helping through the year. She has used hand welting and general handsewn making techniques and has also used cow horn pieces on the uppers. The results were great so a congratulations to her.
The stand out collection for me was a series of photos by Nicol Vizioli in Fashion Photography (

The Other One and I have booked ourselves onto the 13th Independent Shoemakers Conference which takes place on the weekend of 25th, 26th and 27th of February at the Kings Court Hotel, Kings Coughton, Alcester, Warwickshire.
This is a meeting of shoemakers from around the country and it is open to everyone, so if any of you out there fancy going, you should sign up. It is very friendly, relaxed, informative and fun. Yes, shoemakers can have fun. And it is a great way to meet other makers and share resources.

More information at, Or on Facebook, Shoemakers Conference or Bespoke Shoemakers.

Let us know if you are going and we will look out for you.

Anyway, back to shoemaking, side linings specifically. Last week I left you with the side linings lasted between the upper and the lining. What I forget to tell you about is what to do with the fore part when you come to put in your toe puff.

Put in your toe puff as normal; let it dry; and shape it as normal. At this stage you need to attach the side linings. Some people do this before they put the toe puff in and that is perfectly legitimate, but I prefer to put them on top because I feel it gives you more control over their finish.

Put contact adhesive/neoprene/bostik on both the toe puff and the side linings and let them dry.

Then stick them down. Make sure you pull them tight lengthways so that they sit tight to the lining along their length. They do not need to be perfectly alike although it is best to make them at least similar lengths. But you will see that they are bulbous and stick out. You will need to address this.

I start with my knife and very carefully skive away the excess. When it is looking close to smooth, I use my rasps to finish the job. A rough one, then a gentler one. So that it looks something like this.

The last trick is to put a piece of newspaper over the joins. It must be torn not cut and glue it with paste. This completely prevents any lines showing through the upper. This is a good trick if your toe puffs show through in general. It helps a lot.

And that, dear readers, is that. So, until next week, happy shoemaking.

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