Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Pattern Making for Shoes - New York - Day 5

Today began with a lovely social visit from two members of Carreducker's intensive course alumni - Hesper Shin and Wesley Knight. They stayed for a while to share their experiences - Hesper has studied at Ars Sutoria and Wesley has launched his own bespoke spectacle business.  

After much chat and discussion, thoughts and hands turned once again to patterns as Jesse took the group through the oxford lining. There was a test at the end - they had to complete the last piece without Jesse's help.  It was a good test to see what had actually been learned and they mostly succeeded - so something had stuck!.

They got the lining drape done, and fitted into the upper drape.  Then, with a bit of time left, Jesse showed them how to make the pattern for a whole cut.

Unsurprisingly conversations turned to design, but that is another topic entirely.

The spirit of pattern making is essentially problem solving using the basic information you have on the last and a mix of common sense and knowledge to solve the puzzle of each last. With the pattern making skills the group now have, they can go off to explore whether or not their designs will work and how to recreate them as good patterns.

The five busy days finished with questions, feedback, home made cake and Prosecco! Congratulations everyone! 

Now over to James to kick off the handsewn shoe making course at Brooklyn Bespoke on Monday.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Pattern making for bespoke shoes in New York - Day 4

Today was Oxfords day. The group started with the master pattern they had made on Tuesday for the Derby, as they were once more working on the Carreducker lasts.

The basic construction lines went well, and then they were tasked with making a paper drape.

As Jesse expected, the patterns sat badly on the lasts. But she was about to reveal her secret! By adding a teeny sliver at the front of the facings the whole thing snapped into position, straightening the throat where the facings meet at the vamp seam.  Understandably the group were doubtful, but when they made their new drapes they worked!

The last day of pattern making at Brooklyn Bespoke tomorrow (Friday). Fingers crossed for some more beautiful drapes, uppers and lining patterns.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Pattern making for shoes New York - Day 3

Today, pattern making turned to high heels and so new lasts were taped up. Students were offered the chance to make patterns for medium to high heels - a few choosing the greater challenges (difficulties) the a very high heel offers.

Forme from pump last made...evaluating drapes 
Wright checking the fit of his drape
By lunch everyone had a perfect drape made of Tyvek
Working in the pattern for a pump
Tom whizzing through - his draughtsman skills coming in to play
The drape with intended top line drawn onto it
Step by step developing the pump pattern
...keeping the pattern paraphernalia  under control
Celia adding trimming allowance after springing her pattern to tighten the top line
'Teach' in action - Jesse showing right some of the finer points of the drape
All went well with the formes, but when it came to making the paper drapes things went slightly awry initially. This was intentional so that the students could see what happened if the forme was not sprung - essential for a pump pattern. Once they were shown the difference that springing the pattern made, perfect pump formes were created and the day turned to making the upper look symmetrical and raising the top line on the inside.

All in all a good day, with much learned.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Pattern making for shoes New York - Day 2

After day one, Jesse was concerned the students might race through the course, but you need a lot f energy when refining or learning a new skill. So, towards the end of day two the pattern making students were starting to flag a little. Did the 'Derby Challenge' prove too much?

Stephanie transferring her derby pattern onto paper for her drape
Alan cutting out the vamp pattern for his derby drape

A blizzard of pattern pieces

Tom contemplates his work

...with intensity!

Derby pattern completed with lining pattern

The results by the end of the day were still impressive and Jesse is looking forward to day three with the group refreshed and raring to go.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Pattern Making for shoes New York - Day 1

Jesse took the pattern making students under her wing yesterday at the Brooklyn Bespoke studio, as the N.Y. pattern making course got under way. Half are familiar faces from previous hand sewn shoe making courses - welcome back Wright, Tom and Celia - and the others are new faces, keen to learn more of the shoe world - welcome Bryan, Alan and Stephanie.
The calm before the storm
A pattern maker's essential tool kit
Taping their lasts

Lifting off the tape to make the forme
Wright carefully cutting down the centre line.
Tom in deep concentration
Alan, Celia and Brian
Alan showing his paper 'drape' at the end of day one.
So the pattern making is off to a flying start and we know the students will be kept busy tomorrow (Tuesday) as they explore creating a Derby pattern and take part in the 'Derby Challenge' in the afternoon - they will be tasked with making a Derby pattern from a picture that Jesse gives them. Good luck everyone and we look forward to seeing more of your work in the coming days.