Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 9 May 2015

New York Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes Day 5 - the finale!

The last day and the group had a real treat - an impromptu day of closing!

They started off discussing how to go about cutting out the upper leather (clicking), then Jesse demonstrated some of the clicking techniques that she uses and they all had a go themselves. 

They learned how important it is to keep the knife upright... 

and even sharpened knives!

Jesse took them through the process of making a pair of uppers...

...and showed them two different assembly orders so they could think about what would work best for them.

Then it was all hands on deck as they got busy making the uppers. They were by no means perfect, but a really good first attempt!


The day ended with a celebratory glass and certificates!

Congratulations guys! Great work and see you next week ready for some shoemaking!

Friday, 8 May 2015

New York Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes Day 4

Day 4 saw the pattern making group using their existing Master Working Base from Day 1 and their Derby patterns to make an Oxford pattern. 

Together they drew the basic construction lines for the style and then each student drew their own Oxford style lines.  

There was a little “cheating” - they made xerox copies of their designs and used the copies to make paper drapes - but as they had done the Derby And Pumps by hand, Jesse wanted them to see that a xerox machine could also be a useful tool!  

Then it was back to paper and pencil as they made the rest of the Design Standard with an asymmetrical lining.  The room was very quiet with intense concentration and everyone working it's great to see their learning and confidence coming together.

In fact, they are doing so well that Jesse's business partner in Brooklyn Bespoke, Marika, has been giving them some extra hints and tips of her own and tomorrow the students will be enjoying a mega-intensive closing demonstration!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

New York Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes Day 3

Today the group started back at the beginning again taping a new last, making a new forme and new master working bases...but not because they had made mistakes over the last two days. 

Oh no, today's activities were to make a new pattern - for a pump!   

With high heels, this is an exercise in making asymmetrical patterns and it can be a brain teaser. 

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The group did very well and finished the day with new drapes for their uppers and linings.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

New York Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes Day 2

Day 2 of pattern making and the devil is most definitely in the detail. This is where the tiniest inaccuracies can grow exponentially, to become really knotty problems. 

It ended up like an episode of Elementary with some serious sleuthing by the whole group to identify where things had gone astray....staying well beyond the end of the day to solve the puzzle, but solve it they did. 

Jesse and the group sleuthing
The dastardly Derby!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New York Pattern Making for Bespoke shoes - Day 1

Our 2015 trans-Atlantic courses kicked off this week with four students from Brazil, Chicago and San Francisco eager to get their heads around the conundrums of bespoke pattern making. 

Today, under Jesse's watchful eye and precise instruction, the group did tape forme patterns and a set of drapes (to test their abilities). Then they started working on their first Derby pattern - alongside much talk of the difference between Derby and Oxford shoes - and tomorrow will be Derby patterns all day long.

Shoemaking enthusiasts that they are (or just gluttons for punishment) they are all staying on for another fortnight when James and I will take them through every one of the 200+ steps in hand sewn shoemaking. 

Until tomorrow's Derby update, happy shoemaking!