New suede(?) shoes, part 2

As I promised, I’ll post more on the making of these godly vessels of foot protection.

In the beginning, there was the foot. Plain, smelly and rough. Thereafter I put one of my hose on it, and after that, a real thick winter woollen sock. I finished with a tube sock over it all. I then had a very warm foot.

Next step in this footy ordeal, was to take 1o centimetre long strips of gaffer tape, and completely cover up my foot – not too tight though. I was trying to follow the structure of it all, not of the foot inside all the socks and tape. When I was finished with it, I looked up a nice shoe in the Shoes and Pattens book from London Museum (I recommend you do this beforehand), and used a marker to sketch the cutting/outline of that shoe on my gaffer taped, socked foot.

What I did next was to gently make some room between the tape/tube sock layer and the warm winter sock, and used a pair of scissors to cut the tape/tube sock away. When I did this, I cut along the lines I made with the marker, quite obviously.

When I was finished doing that, I had the pieces cut out for a gaffer tape shoe. Then it was time to trace my foot for the sole. I put my hose-clad, but otherwise liberated, foot on a piece of paper, and traced it down with a pen. Next time, I’ll be sure to trace it further under my instep, so the sole gets that classic narrow cut in the middle of the foot. Anyway. When it was finished, I measured the whole thing, and compared it to the measurement of the overleather. They should of course be the same, otherwise they won’t go together. It is easier to adjust the sole than the overleather.

When they fit together it is time to re-sketch the again. Make the toe a bit longer on both the sole and the overleather, and make the shoe as a whole bigger by maybe a centimetre on all sides.

Then re-sketch it on a big sheet made of gaffer tape, cut it out, and whip stitch it all together loosely with thick, durable thread. The gaffer tape works a bit similar to leather, and when you are finished, you have a good mock up shoe. Try it on, and adjust if too big or too small. Remember that the leather you will be using should be much thicker than your tape mock up, and that means it will also be closer to your foot. If the mock up is just a tiny bit too big, then it is probably OK. When you are happy, trace it all down on paper, and you have your personal shoe pattern!

I’ll describe more of the making as soon as I start with it.

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