Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Keeping it clean! Canvas & fabric


This week sees the second in our series of 'Keeping it clean' blog posts and we're focusing on canvas and fabric shoes. (Ah, the irony, as the rain teems down outside).

Although this post is really written for shoe wearers, here's a brief reminder to all of you shoemakers out there to cover any fabric, canvas, suede or nubuck shoes you are working on as soon as you have them lasted.

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before you start lasting and try to avoid touching the upper so that you don't transfer the 'steel' stains from the nails to the upper). 
  • Once you have lasted one shoe, heat and stretch your shoe covers over it.
  • Then repeat for the second shoe.  
  • Check that there are no holes in the cover and that there is nothing caught between the upper and the cover on the inside! 
  • Finally, add an extra cover around the top of the last if there are any gaps to seal the upper totally  
Now, for those of you flying off to find some sun, your vacation shoes will certainly need a clean when you come back to remove the sand and sangria!

The best approach, as with most things, is to protect them BEFORE you wear them. Here's how:
  • Spray with a special fabric protector - I use upholstery spray on my resort shoes works well - to provide a protective coating, making splashes and stains easier to remove
  • Spray with a starch spray to help the fabric to keep its shape and stay looking new for longer
The next is common sense, but slightly tricky with the current weather forecasting, sunny in the morning followed by monsoon rain, a bit more sunshine, grey cloud, drizzle, blazing sunshine... don't wear canvas or fabric shoes in mud or rain, or traipse them through puddles.

But if you do fall foul of the sangria here's how to get tough stains out:

  • Use carpet shampoo to clean heavily stained fabric or canvas (do a test first on a small area in the inside waist). 
  • Froth up to a lather and then scrub with an old toothbrush. Allow to dry. 
  • Clean off everyday marks with a cloth dipped in water.    Once the fabric is clean, rinse away the soapy water with a clean cloth that has been wrung out in warm water. Then sponge the shoes dry.
Until next week when the Olympics kick off, happy shoemaking and happy holidays!

8 comments:

Beadwright said...

Love those pink and yellow shoes.
Nicole/Beadwright

Jay G said...

Pink and cream - pink and cream.

notarealdoc said...

Someone is very excited about these shoes. And thanks to you, I do think of Battenburg cake every time I see them. They look great!

jimmyshoe said...

Well, those pink and cream shoes have caused quite a stir - strange for such an understated style. Best, jimmyshoe

Michelle Quick said...

Do you anything different with your stiffeners when making a fabric shoe?

jimmyshoe said...

HI Michelle, just use them much dryer than normal. But nothing special apart from that. Best, James

Michelle said...

Thanks James. Currently working on a canvas desert boot and did just that with the counter stiffeners. Wasn't sure if there were any other techniques though. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.