Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Stalking Gaiters

Firstly we want to wish all of our US and Canadian friends and followers a very happy Thanksgiving for yesterday, 27th November; and to our Japanese followers a happy Labour Thanksgiving Day for 23rd November. 

You may be too well ensconced in festivities to actually read this until next week, but we want you to know we're thinking of you and hope that the harvest is good.  

This week we wanted to share how we made a pair of gaiters for a client. They are in Horween Latigo and are designed to be worn with boots for stalking the moorlands. More commonly these days gaiters are made from nylon and elasticated...practical, but we think that these beauties really raise the game! (Do you like the pun?)


The client had a very specific brief and was quickly able to narrow down a design that worked for him from the above sketches: 

- leather to match the boots
- nothing protruding from the gaiters that would catch on brambles
- muted colour palette
- no shiny metal surfaces
- a strap under the boot that could be adjusted and replaced
- durable

With a little tweaking, we were soon ready to turn the sketches into a 3-D design. 

Making a paper pattern in 3-D
We first made a mock up in Kraft paper (which reminded me of making a toile in fashion school). I've always enjoyed working in 3-D rather than flat, and seem to get better results more quickly this way.

Considering the fastenings
Making a harmonious junction between the boot and the gaiter was very important and this is where the paper model was a great help as we tried out various different style lines.  

A canvas mock up for fittings
Then we sewed together a canvas gaiter as a fitter. The canvas had a similar strength and structure to the leather and so was ideal for fittings. We drew adjustments straight onto it and then adjusted the pattern pieces accordingly.

Finally the gaiters were made in the chosen leather.

The finished gaiters have: 

- Adjustable studs on either end of the waist straps
- Buckle straps which tuck into stitched channels to keep the boot surface smooth
- Antiqued hardware 
- Burnished edges for durability and waterproofing
Stitch lines
Sam Browne post for adjustment
That's it from us for November. Until next week, when we'll be in the first week of December, happy shoe making!