Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas

It's that time of year again, when tired shoemakers down their tools and take a well earned break. Time to let the elves do their work alone.

We are taking a two week break and will return to the blogosphere in the New Year.

Until then, we wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a fantastic 2017

We thank you for reading the blog and making it so successful - this year we passed the 1 million all time page views - that is incredible

Our very best wishes

James and Deborah

Friday, 16 December 2016

New bespoke for Christmas

Christmas Cranes at Waterloo Station

Welcome back shoe folk and, as promised, here we are one week away from Christmas holidays with a trio of bespoke beauties to share with you. 

First up is this pair of walking shoes in caramel box calf, with a stitched lake and padded top line for extra comfort. They are for one of our longest standing customers and yet this is his first pair of Derby shoes!

Sturdy Serac sole and heel

Padded quarters for comfort

Natural finish for a lighter look

Handsome squared-off, Derby facings

Another favourite pair of late are these bespoke desert boots in French navy box calf and the same caramel calf as the shoes above. They were made for another great patron who backed our Kickstarter campaign to launch the Barkan desert boots. We love the leather and commando sole and two-tone upper combination...handsome and rugged all at once!

The Commando sole gives them a chunkier profile...

and gets them ready for Washington State...

...where the rainfall makes England look positively dry! 

And finally taking continuing the blue theme, these beautiful Chelsea boots bring this week's post to a glamorous close. 

First made in natural, crust calf (see below)....

the boots were then given a magic dusk to midnight fade...

by a patina artist...

...through the ankle and down to the toe.

And with that, it's back to the workbench for a little more bespoke making before the elves take a sit down in front of a roaring fire, a warm glass of mulled wine and mince pie in hand. 

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Delight at the Design Museum

Welcome back dear shoe folk and we are delighted to say that, yes, we have finally made it to see our exhibit at the Design Museum. Before you groan, we promise this is the last Design Museum shout out for a while...our 15 seconds (well, 5 to 7 years in fact) of fame has been had.

It was particularly fun to visit the exhibit with Camilla Corr, the filmmaker who shot and edited our film and who has worked with us on our Kickstarter campaigns. 

Checking the colour balance
We were all excited, as last weekend the film received a shout out on a local London radio station as a favourite part of the exhibition. Very exciting stuff!

Admiring the lasts and beautiful, three-piece boot tree construction...a work of art

Relaxing the lacing on one of the boots so the bellows tongue is visible

As it should be, we sit in the shadows of the design greats -
underneath the chassis of a model T Ford

Our shoe making tool board and materials make the process look quite simple

It was exciting to watch people looking at your work

And we did take a moment to bathe in the glory...

And to have some fun!

Pink shell suit anyone?

Until next week and news of shoemaking - yes, we promise. Happy shoemaking!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Shoe Making School Success

Welcome back fellow shoe fans and shoe folk. There's been a flurry of activity amongst our evening and one-to-one students with a raft of them finishing their shoes all at once.

Jon finished last week, Charlie the week before and this week it was Maurizio and Derrek's turn. Vincent is not far behind.

Charlie thread making in the sunshine

Perfecting her one-legged, 'flamingo pose' for twisting the threads

The finished shoes

Admiring her handy work.

Charlie is a sculptor and so she was fascinated about the materials we work with and their various properties as much as the construction. She left inspired to bring leather and particularly oak bark tanned leather into her work. We can't wait to see how her ideas evolve.

Maurizio's beautifully fitting Derby's
Maurizio is a very skilled leather worker and bag and shoe repairer. His foray into handsewn shoemaking included much that he already knew and much that he didn't. He is still a lover of machinery, which is fine, but we hope he's developed a place in his heart for the handsewn craft too.

...made in just two terms
Denim blue laces and conker brown shoes - a lovely colour combination

Fanni is on her third pair of shoes and her confidence and skills are growing considerably with each pair. Building stacked leather heels is a challenging task, but as her current pair prove she  has taken it like a duck to water!

Fanni working on her turquoise low boots. (Foot size and boot envy going on)...
a great colour and fantastic heel building!

Luke stitching away on his second shoe
Vincent concentrating hard painting his heels soles -
the forepart will be covered with a rubber sticker sole

Vincent settled at the workbench working on his square, sharp sole and heels edges.
Not a cuban heel in sight...great finishing!

Derrek setting his edges - seriously shiny!

Derrek's finished shoes with red laces

Socked and fitting fine. 

And so with those great results, congratulations to everyone who has trained with us this year and we look forward to seeing many more of you next year - old friends and new alike! Places are already booking up for all of our courses next year, so if you would like to join us please send us your forms as soon as possible. 

And don't forget, we are offering the full set in New York in May - clicking, closing, pattern making and shoemaking - so don't miss out.

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Carreducker opens at the Design Museum London

Welcome back shoe folk...and what an exciting week it has been. We finally made it to the Design Museum on Tuesday night and partied with the design great and glamorous....

...Madame Shoe wearing Ute Decker jewellery for a 'wow' factor 

The roof - a hyperbolic paraboloid 

Extra large signage in case we forgot...

Lots and lots of party people...


Sir Terence Conran and  Museum Director, Deyan Sudjic OBE

Jarvis Cocker manning the decks...


Cocktails anyone?

We eyed the crowd for exciting footwear, but truth be told and immediate company excepting, there was a dearth of great men's shoes or boots. The ladies however, were rocking some significant are a few favourites.


Crystal heels, sparkly buckles and a pointy toe...

Clergerie clogs...

Silver stilettos...

Coloured platforms

Sporting vintage Robert Clergerie

Testing out some William Lennon boots ahead of our next Kickstarter

And here it is....our display in the museum! 3000 people visited yesterday alone, so handsewn shoe making is getting seen!

That's me, watching me sketching a design on the big screen!

Boots, lasts, patterns, tools, materials...the boot making story
and Camilla Corr's wonderful film capturing the process

Wow! Now we're enjoying a very festive Open Studios then back to normal and the workbench. Until next week, happy shoemaking!