MAKER FAIRES NYC and BOSTON

 

I will be demonstrating simple shoemaking techniques at the NYC Maker Faire in the The New York Hall of Science next weekend – September 22 and 23. I’m especially eager to show how simple shoemaking can be, especially when using my vegetable-tanned soles with pre-punched stitching holes.

I’ll also be demonstrating the stitching of the First Footsteps toddler shoemaking kits – a couple of groups that are in need of financial support are stitching these shoes now for sale – some are refugees from Myanmar living in a camp in Malaysia that a friend regularly visits, and others are Spanish-speaking immigrants here in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.

It would be delightful if any of you simple shoemakers in the NYC area could stop by. It seems that most of the participants are young and deeply into 3-d-printing, LED, and robots, but there will be a section for Traditional Crafts – and so much more!

And, I’ll be vending at the Boston Mini-Faire October 6 and 7, which is at the Children’s Museum on the Harbor. Again, I would love to see anyone who has an interest in simple shoemaking.

More of Marina Meeker’s toddler shoes

The shoes Marina has made using directions and patterns from the First Footsteps shoemaking kit are so inspiring! Whether it’s paint or applique, she adds the perfect touch of fun to each pair.

I believe she’s going to need to stitch around the watering can and drops to keep them in place, but what a delightful applique she has created..

And here are her moccasins, so appealing in two colors of leather – and is that a mint green elastic that I see? Each detail expresses her artistic eye..

Spattered nomoc basic shoe

These shoes looked a bit stodgy with their little bows, and I knew I’d never wear them. I had “spatter-painting” in the back of my mind for a long time, and this became the perfect time for giving it a try. I used acrylic paint mixed with a little water so it can be “spattered”, along with a toothbrush. Of course I experimented a bit first, to get my “flick” just right, but I perfected it pretty fast!

So, on to the spattering. I started with a raspberry color, then to turquoise. The process of “flicking” the paint with a toothbrush was so much fun! I felt like I was arranging (without a master-plan) stars in the universe! It was hard to stop.

I’m pleased with the results, and these are definitely shoes that I will wear. They are nomoc basics with vegetable-tanned soles. Here’s the “before” photo, which do you prefer?

“Stitch-in” shoemaking directions have been added to The Simple Shoemaking Handbook!

Thanks to the serendipity of working with an intern, I dusted off a “stitch-in” shoe to show him that I had made years ago, and realized it could be made by a process similar to – yet different from – other shoemaking techniques in The Simple Shoemaking Handbook.

I have now completed directions for making “stitch-in” shoes, and will send them out to everyone who has already purchased the book and have added them to future copies of the Handbook.

I consider these shoes to be more “elegant” than the funkier nomocs, lomocs and fomocs..the vegetable-tanned leather sole reminds me of Cydwoq shoe soles. And, all the upper edges are turned in, so the shoes have the look of being made over a last. But they’re not!

The book has directions and patterns for making these stitch-in soles, but I also plan to offer them in my website store – they will be made two ways: one will have two layers of vegetable-tanned leather and the other will have a vegetable-tanned topsole with a 1/4″ natural rubber bottom sole. The soles will have stitching holes punched in them using sole patterns from the Handbook, and the edges will be sanded and burnished. They will have my standard sole shape, or they can be customized.

The center-seam and one-piece flats directions and patterns in this book are the best to use for making stitch-ins.

 

 

Custom-painted First Footsteps shoes

Marina Meeker painted these little shoes for a friend who is expecting a baby, but who had recently lost her pup.  Wouldn’t you bet that these first walking shoes, with baby’s foot imprint inside, will be treasured forever? She dyed the shoes also – I’ve got to find out more because that is the best dye job ever! Ordering the white  “first walker” kit with no stars punches on the front gives the maker two surfaces for customizing with dye, paint, applique etc – I will be attending a baby shower soon, the father installs solar panels, so a shiny rectangle will be appliqued to the front of the shoes! Thank you for the inspiration, Marina.

New pdf book: The Sandalmaking Handbook

The second book in the quartet of books I am planning is launched, The Sandalmaking Handbook. I am hoping it will help to bring on a sandalmaking revival! Sandals are relatively simple to make – I would have named the book “The Simple Sandalmaking Handbook“, to align with The Simple Shoemaking Handbook but all sandals are “simple” to make, and a book with that name might get confused with Tim Skyrme’s Simple Sandalmaking. If you purchase Neda Hussain’s E-book, How to Make Unique Leather Sandals (https://sandalmakingbook.secondskinblog.com/), it makes a nice companion to mine, as she brings much artistry to her sandalmaking.

This book is an updated compilation of my previous Simple Sandalmaking and Simplest Sandalmaking books, with color photos instead of (crude) drawings. Anyone who has ordered either of these books in the past can email me (sharon@simpleshoemaking.com) and I will send the new book out to them.

Additionally, I have copied the sandalmaking chapters from two books from the seventies, Christine Lewis-Clark’s and Brendan Smith’s Leathercraft and offer them on my website. I met Lewis-Clark decades ago, and don’t believe she’s involved with footwear-making any more, and I can’t find any information about Brendan Smith, but if either learns that I’m offering these chapters and want me to desist, of course I will. In the meantime – they’re a goldmine if you’d like to join the sandalmaking revival!

Low-cut hand-made meri jane shoe

This is a shoe mock-up  made with a Peltex interfacing upper and Texon plasticized paper sole. I made it to see whether the patterns in my book The Simple Shoemaking Handbook could be used to make shoes with a low-cut topline…and the answer is “yes!”

An aspiring shoemaker recently emailed me a photo of the shoes below.  She was wondering if she could make these shoes from the directions and patterns found in my book. That stirred a distant memory, I went to my file cabinet and rustled through folders until I found it – a file labeled “shoes like Cydwoq shoes” (google this name if you’re not familiar with this brand, they are so inspirational!)

I describe these shoes as being like Cydwoqs because of the lovely vegetable-tanned soles that they have. And, you can make the shoes look as interesting,  elegant and unique as Cydwoqs are.

Briefly, the way that these shoes are made is: Two layers of vegetable-tanned leather are cemented together to make the sole. The sole is further prepared by making a stitching groove 1/4″ in from the edge of the sole, on both the topsole and the bottom sole. All stitches will be stitched in that groove, so they are protected from wear, particularly on the bottom sole. Stitch marks, as shown on patterns from the Handbook, are copied onto this laminated sole, then the stitch holes are punched out.

I will be offering these “veg” soles w/ stitch grooves and stitch holes punched out in my website store. All you have to do is stitch the upper you have created to the sole, either by using patterns from the book or ones that you have customized.

By the way, the easiest way to make these shoes is to remove the little triangle of material seen at the toe so you don’t have to gather the extra leather found on the upper while you’re stitching. However, you can make them gathered, without the piece cut out.

Of course you can make the soles yourself, using directions in the Handbook. I’m eager to help you get started with shoemaking, whether you want to learn how to make the whole shoe, or whether you want to have the fun of making uppers, then stitch them to purchased soles.

I look forward to showing you a pair of shoes I’ve made using this technique, now that I know it’s going to work!

 

 

New tutorial: How to make Moccashoes!

I could stop making other shoe styles and simply make moccashoes forever! They are so simple – which is the second place reason why I choose to make a certain style (after first place, which is – ecological). So these shoes are simple and ecological – if you make them from pre-used items, and use inner tube for soling.. Find the directions and a pattern under my Tutorials category. The pattern can be altered on a photocopy machine to make other sizes. If you make moccashoes, please send a photo – I’ll be giving a pdf of my new book, The Simple Shoemaking Handbook, to the next three people who send me a photo.

Chicago bears baby

My niece just had a baby boy – her husband writes about the Chicago Bears football team for the Chicago Tribune – so I made these First Footsteps shoes for their little one!

The kits for making the un-decorated shoes are available at: http://simpleshoemaking.com/product/first-footsteps-kit-for-making-toddler-shoes-red-vegetable-tanned-leather-2/

 

Sandal-making workshop at Snow Farm

Would you like to learn how to make sandals that you can embellish (or not) with wire-wrapped beads, loom beading, small weavings, special fabric, carving, metal pieces, etc?

I will be teaching a sandal-making workshop at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, Ma. June 2 and 3 (www.showfarm.org/workshops/class-listings). It’s a beautiful place with excellent food and accommodations.

Or, you can purchase pre-made sandals to embellish in my store (available soon).

The sandals will be made from tan or black ecological vegetable-tanned leather (other colors can be custom-ordered) using non-toxic cements.

For more information please contact me at: simpleshoemaking@gmail.com