Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 28 June 2013

Dyeing Leather And A Visitor

A few weeks ago saw us show you a pair of boots which we were particularly proud of. This week saw their owner, Mr Nick Scott, editor of The Rake, come in and collect them.

He was genuinely delighted and commented that he had never had a pair of boots fit him like these. It was an immediate effect and very noticeable the "whoosh" as his feet slipped effortlessly into their new housing.

He also thanked us for our input in the design process. This is important to us as we very much see the bespoke process as a collaboration between the customer and ourselves. While the ultimate decision is the customer's, we think it our role to advise and suggest as the design process moves forward. Initially, we were going to antique the tan quarters, but when we received the uppers back from the closer, we thought it would get too busy with the navy and the sky blue. Nick agreed with us and the result is a really crisp, contemporary boot, just like Mr Scott himself.

The dark natural finish was also a collaborative decision, having toyed with the idea of a solid brown finish. Again it results in lighter, sleeker look. The fiddle waist is, as ever, a thing of beauty.

The other fun thing we started this week is a dyeing process for a very good customer or ours. He loves his bespoke projects and has set us a very nice one. He has given us a buffalo skin which has been tanned to a very light grey. He wants a pair of boots but is not happy with the colour, so has tasked us with dyeing it.

So with latex gloves on (very important as the dyes are toxic), we set about adding some colours. The first attempts were a bit crude, but we will refine the process.

We started with some bright base colours.

And added some darker washes to see what the results were.

You have two choices with this process. You can either paint on colours as you go to see how it turns out, or you can mix the dyes in a pot until you get the colour you want. Either way, you must remember what you have done if want to replicate it. This is really important and learned from bitter experience. So make a note of what you have done. But enjoy it too, it's fun!

By the way, we are a way off from finishing this process. So far, we are thinking a dark blue or a burgundy. But who knows? Watch this space.

Until next week, happy shoemaking!