Making your own shoes with The Shoe Camaraderie.

I have not long finished reading a great book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. It was a timely reminder that great things and big dreams occur over a long period of time one small step at a time. And that every small step you take is so important to the overall process.

Making a pair of shoes is no different. It’s all the small steps that come together to make a pair of shoes.

How to make the Cosette
The Cosette

Making your own shoes is not the cheapest way to acquire new shoes but it is certainly the most satisfying. Last weekend I attended a workshop hosted by the magician shoe maker Lisa from The Shoe Camaraderie . It was held at the Kylie And The Machine head quarters is East Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. And camaraderie it was. We were a small group of 6 students that supported each other through the shoe making process.

The shoe I selected was the Cosette but there is a variety of shoe styles and shoe making kits that can be purchased from The Shoe Camaraderie if you are not able to attend a workshop.

Hoe to make the Cosette
The Cosette

The day began at 9.30am with preparing our soles and heels for finishing stages of the shoe making process. It involved a couple of layers of smelly, sticky glue.

Next we cut our shoe pattern from the leather. There is a choice of 4 colours for your shoes and I went with the dark tan. Cutting the 24 stripes was a little fiddely but got easier each time. My advice here is to not go to thick and try to stay at the 6mm width to make weaving easier in the next process.

Weaving was the next task which required some patience and perseverance. It was the last hole that was the most difficult every time. I personally don’t mind repetitive task like this weaving phase. I find them quite therapeutic and soothing. In saying that I was also happy when that phase of the project was over.

Weaving the Cosette
Weaving, weaving and more weaving!

The next stage is to attach the top of the sandal to the shoe base. We used a last (shoe mould) to help in this process.

This is done one side at a time to ensure symmetry. And I got to practice one side before completing the other. The glue used is magic. It is easy to correct mistakes and adjust fit.

This was a bit of a high five moment for me as the shoes actually look like shoes. And shoes that fit well and looked OK.  The next step is the sand the leather on the shoe base to create a porous surface to attached the trim.

After the trim is attached it’s time to join the sole. This is when you really know your are on the home stretch to having a beautiful pair of me made shoes. The glue applied to the soles first thing in the day is heated until it becomes tacky again.  Then the sole is attached. The lovely Lisa trims the sole back and then it’s onto the last bit of hard work before finishing your shoes.  This involves sanding back the sole to attach the heel.

Lisa again trims the heels back to fit the shoes before giving the edges a final sand while we finished the day of with a glass of wine and cheese.

The Cosette
The finished product!

The process of making shoes was sometimes frustrating but extremely rewarding. I can’t wait to make my next pair, The Freya. A fun fact…. all of my garments are finished with a woven label from Kylie And The Machine and my shoes where finished off at the Kylie And The Machine headquarters….

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