Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 4 June 2010

Hotting Up

Dare I say it, but has summer arrived? Cue thunder clouds and biting north wind (again). I am sitting here, all the windows open, the fan on 3, with not a cloud in the sky. It is lovely. And it was like this yesterday. Miraculous!

Bits of news.
We have Cockpit Arts Open Studios next weekend (11-13 June). Starts Friday evening, 6pm till 9pm. Then it is Saturday and Sunday 11am till 6pm, and this time it's FREE. I am doing Friday and Saturday and The Other One is doing Sunday.
Your chance to see London's premier community of designer craftspeople in their workshops and buy some of the finest handmade one-off pieces direct from the maker.
All sorts of lovely things to see, jewellery, ceramics, millinery, glass, weaving, couture fashion, furniture, homewares and, of course, our gorgeous bespoke shoes and boots.
It is a fun and fascinating visit, and free this year, so no excuses.

I have just sent 3 shoes to the Northampton Shoe Museum, as we are taking part in a new exhibition running all summer, called Best Of British. This is very exciting and we are delighted to be included in such an illustrious list of participants. Can't wait.

Best of British at Northampton Museum, Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 2PH

Saturday 26 June to Sunday 19 September 2010

Britain and in particular Northampton has always been known for the quality of its shoes. Discover the very best in British shoe design with our summer showcase exhibition. From classic English shoemakers to top British shoe designers, this exhibition is a celebration of British style and design.

Not only will the exhibition include many examples of British shoes from the Designated Shoe Collection, it will also showcase a number of special loans and donations from local shoe companies to the elite of British Designers. By their kind generosity though either a loan or a new donation we are delighted to be able to showcase shoes by the following:

Vivienne Westwood

Alexander McQueen

Rupert Sanderson

Oliver Sweeney

Edward Green

Paul Smith

Georgina Goodman

James Taylor & Sons

Beatrix Ong

Caroline Groves


Lodger Shoes

Manolo Blahnik





Rushton Ablett – JuJu Wellies and Jellies

Haynes & Cann – Mk 1 Aircrew Boot

Hotter Footwear


The exhibition will also make the visitor think about what exactly is a British shoe. Is it a shoe that is traditional in style, a Derby or Oxford brogue? Is it a shoe that is quirky, with a sense of humour that makes you laugh? Is it a shoe that is designed by a British based designer? Is it a shoe designed by a British based designer yet made abroad? Is it a shoe that has MADE IN ENGLAND stamped on its sole?

We hope that are our visitors to the exhibition will take the time to tell us what a British shoe means to them.

Back to bespoke shoes. Those ladies brogues from last week are ready to try on and the client is coming in on Monday. I have lasted them onto an unprepared insole and braced them on with a welt thread. Because they have a two inch heel, I have glued in a wooden shank so that they do not collapse and so that the heel does not flip out backwards.

Our men's shoes have a leather shank as the heels are not high enough to warrent a stronger one. As the heel gets higher, you need to put in a stronger shank, wood and then steel.

I then glued on a temporary sole and nailed on a temporary heel.
We shall see what happens.

Will let you know how they fit next week. So until then, happy shoemaking.