Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 2 October 2009

Blind Welt 1

Well, here we are, the eve of a big show. The workshop is in chaos; everything is in boxes; the shelves are empty; not an inch of floor space. Just packed all the Winkers and the rest of the bespoke shoes.
Set up is on Sunday, so we are meeting here at 9am (way too early for a Sunday). It's our first time exhibiting there so we hope it is well organised. Should be fine.

I have had a busy couple of weeks making. Not done much else in fact. The women's samples are all finished. I told you about Dietrich last week, so this week I present Russell and Hepburn.

The boot is very striking, red pony and gun metal kid with a 3/16 square waist sole and black finish. The heel is a small, slightly pitched standard with a curved breast. It's amazing. The shot does not show the pattern and fur on the red skin, but we will get them shot properly soon.

The other is a brogued wholecut with a golf style detachable tongue. There is a purple underlay between the upper and the lining which shows through the punching and the flowers. It is really beautiful and my favourite of the 3. It's funny how much shoes change from the uppers stage to the finished shoe. I was not expecting to like this one much but it is lovely. Look at the top line (runs from the laces round the back of heel to laces again). It is very scooped down and gives a feminine curve, as well as showing a bit more shapely ankle.
Anyone remember the post about a client who had a painful ankle and cut down a pair of his bespoke shoes himself and then insisted on the next pair being the same (17 April 2009)? I said at the time, after initially being horrified, that I had grown to like the style and would incorporate it into some bespoke shoes. Well, here is the result. Serendipity strikes again.

Now, look at the welt on Hepburn. I am going to take you through a completely new learning experience for me. This is what I call a blind welt (others call a blind welt something else, but there you go). I had never done one before. I had been told about them and how to do it but had never actually tried it. I was a bit apprehensive, to say the least.
A blind welt is essentially a bevelled waist which goes all the way round the shoe, thus creating a sole which hides the stitching, creating a smooth elegant line. Better suited to women's shoes, I can foresee using it in a men's pump if it needs to be a bit more robust.

My principle worry was getting the sole close to the upper without a gap because if there is a gap, you can see the stitching and it looks messy. I suppose the fact that I am telling you about this tells you it turned out ok. But it was tough, dear readers, very tough.

First thing was to welt the shoe and fill with the shank and cork at front

Then, as with a bevelled waist, you draw a line 1/8" from the stitching

Then cut it. Thus far, nothing out of the ordinary.

Sorry, I have to stop. Got a client meeting this afternoon. More next week. Wish us luck.