Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 2 August 2013

Pattern making course - London last day

A cooler morning so energy levels are up today as our group of pattern makers settle down to a busy, final day trying to get everything that they want, completed.

Today it was on with the brogue derby...

and some creative design work on toe medallions including hearts, spades and crosses or

on a more personal note, inspired by the scallop shell symbolism of 
Santiago de Compostela

and a creative take on initials.

Whilst kraft paper and scalpels have been flying today, we've been setting up for the intensive shoemaking course, which starts on Monday. We're delighted that the 'piggyback' approach to the courses is working so well, as we will be joined by four of our pattern making students in the coming weeks.

A quiet summer? I don't think so!

 Tools and materials....

waxes and tar...


back up awls 'just in case'...


example stiffener...

toe puff...

and welt. 

Finally, empty shelves ready to fill with work in progress!

There will be daily shoemaking posts next week as the course gets under way, so keep a look out. Until then, have a look back at some of our past students in action on Claymoor's List (thank you Mircea) and Happy Shoemaking!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pattern Making Course - Day 4

As London heats up in its second heat wave of the year - we're at 31 degrees today - the pattern making course is basking in the coolness of our new air conditioner.

(With the first of our summer intensive shoemaking courses starting next week we couldn't have students lasting, welting and heel building in this heat!)

But back to our pattern making group. After the delight (and relief) of seeing their patterns fitting well on the lasts yesterday (see above), today the group went on to develop lining patterns for their Oxfords.

The length of the quarters was slightly reduced to create a pocket for the stiffener and the seam allowances were also slightly reduced so that the lining will fit inside the upper and so that upper/lining seams do not sit on top of each other.

 Finally they created a reverse counter to help the heel to grip well.

And this afternoon they developed a pattern for a Derby shoe.

The full brogue derby is as enduring as the Oxford style and the style also originates from the 19th century.

However the word brogue, was first recorded in 1689. The style is most commonly considered to be derived from a country boot with the holes designed to drain water. The word is thought to derive from brogue (brɡ or brohgmeaning an Irish accent or from the Irish word 'brog' meaning a rough or stout shoe; hence possibly originally meaning "the speech of those who call a shoe a 'brog'."

Anyway, it is a favourite of ours as it emphasises the importance of well balanced proportions.

Until tomorrow, the last day, when the group will be fine tuning all that they have learned this week....happy shoemaking!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Pattern Making Course Summer 13. Day 3

Third day and the students are really flying. Today saw them really getting stuck into the Oxford.

Having done the taped the last and drawn the design on to it yesterday, the students began the day by cutting the forme off the last which they flattened from a 3D shape to a 2D  shape on the paper.

From here they made the master standard and drew the design lines onto it. This is called the design standard.

From here come the sectional pieces of the pattern. There are six of these for the cap Oxford.

They ended the day with joining the sectional pieces together and trying them on the last.

Tomorrow they will do the Oxford lining patterns and then start the Derby - lots of pieces to be doing!

Until then, happy shoemaking!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Pattern making Course, Summer 13. Day 2

Today saw our students doing the lining pattern for their court shoes. This involved a 3 piece pattern, vamp, body and counter.

Then, on the same last, the students drew a slipper design (which is like the court shoe but with a tab on the vamp) and made a forme.

After lunch saw them moving on to the Oxford. After a discussion of the style and its history, they selected a new last and taped it up. From here they drew the design lines onto the last.

The results were very impressive and I think the students went away having learnt a lot. Fiona reported that they had worked really hard and maintained good levels of concentration. Time flies when you are having fun.

More tomorrow

Happy shoemaking!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Pattern Making Course - Summer 13. Day 1

Today saw the start of carreducker's first Pattern Making Course for shoemakers which is very exciting for us. The focus of the course is on bespoke pattern making rather than pattern making for the industry. So ideal for people who want to make one-off shoes on their own rather than for graded runs for production.

As with our intensive Shoemaking Courses, it is a highly practical class with the majority of the time spent actually making patterns.

This is the classroom, lovely and bright as you can see

So, with Fiona Campbell, expert pattern maker, at the helm, our five students started the day with a discussion of the role of the pattern maker within the bespoke shoemaking process.

Next came an introduction to the tools of the trade and a look at the last.

During the week they will look at 3 styles of shoe - the court shoe/pump, the Oxford and the Derby. Today they started with the court shoe, including a brief history of the style.

And then they moved on to practical work which involved taping the last; drawing on the design; and making a standard.

This led to cutting sectional patterns and testing them on the last.

So it was a full day's work with a lot of new things to take in and learn. Tomorrow will see them moving on to the lining pattern for the court shoe.

Good luck guys and we hope you really learn a lot during the week.

Happy shoemaking!