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.
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 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.
The soles & heels
Glue, glue and more glue
Tracing and cutting the pattern.
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.
Cutting your 6mm strips
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.
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.
Glueing the straps
Using the last
One side down, one to go!
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.
The first fitting!
The beginnings of a pair.
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.
Attaching the trim.
Attaching 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.
Attaching the sole.
Attaching the heels.
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 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….