Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Sandal Making and the Livery Ladies

Welcome back good shoe folk and this week we've enjoyed hosting a special new group workshop, sandal making. The class was developed especially for a group f ladies from the Livery Companies of London at the generous invitation of the Master Cordwainer's lady.

For those of you who have visited us at 50 you will understand that 10 ladies was a bit of a squeeze but they rose to the occasion and were great fun and were very conscientious and industrious!

Here's how they got on...

We already had their foot outlines and had prepared sandal outlines, so we checked and adjusted them and then drew in the arch of their feet.

Next we cut out the adjusted sandal shape and marked the big toe joint, little toe joint, little toe, big toe and instep and cut slits where we'd made the marks

Then it was design time! We had prepared a few styles to inspire

and then they were let loose with a stack of pre-cut 15 and 20mm wide card straps, experimenting by trying out different width and angle combinations to see what worked best for their feet.

Once the design was decided the length of the straps was marked on the card and they were photographed, named and numbered to ensure we put them back together in the same order! Then they chose their leathers - a choice of two colours of beautiful, natural veg. tanned Italian leather along with an optional gold grain strap for detailing.

With a quick break for lunch it was back to the table ready to finish and decorate the leather straps.

Every strap was rubbed with gum tragacanth to seal and smooth the surface and edges

Some of the ladies enjoyed hammering a brogue punch pattern into the strap...let's being honest punching holes with a hammer is great fun!

Others opted to use an edge creaser to finish their strap edges

and the gold strap detail was used as an accent in certain places

We'll be attaching the soles and heels and finishing the sandals....more pics in the coming weeks before we send them out to be worn for the summer! That's all from us for now, so until next week happy shoe (or sandal) making.