A personal post

Introducing my grandson Solomon Oak Strom, born 12/28/15, with his sister, Millie

Awesome shoes from Spain

IMG_8007 IMG_8009T

These shoes show what can be done if all the stars align: you have nice leathers, soling is available, you have no doubt been a leatherworker a long time to perfect the brown lacing stitch, you’ve got a great machine that stitches with the thick white thread around the edge of the shoe – and you are extremely gifted in working with color and design!

A friend recently wore these shoes, telling me that she had purchased them ten years ago in Spain at a country market. I can’t find any trace of them on the internet, but perhaps someone can.

This is a perfect example of stitch-down shoemaking – the white stitching shows where the upper was turned out upon the soling, then the layers were stitched together. I am now imagining how this shoe would look done as a nofomoc, my favorite “simplest shoemaking” technique. (Nofomocs have a 1/4″ edge sticking up from the sole with holes punched in it, that the upper is stitched to..)

I checked with a leatherworkers facebook page, asking how they thought the leather lacing was done, and got some interesting responses. One said maybe the lacing was only on the top of the shoe, but was drawn down in the slits by a separate cord underneath. Another thought there were two pieces of lacing, with slits in them… any other ideas?!

Interestingly, my friend says that she seldom wears them because her heel slips up and down with every step she takes. My guess is that the sole is very stiff, and that if the sole were more flexible, made out of natural rubber for instance, the problem would dissipate. And, it looks like the heel seam doesn’t follow the shape of the heel very well..always something more to learn..

 

 

I (heart) nomocs!

DSCN0657

I love making nomocs, lomocs and fomocs! I recently asked Sandy, who has made several pairs of fomocs if she thought that making shoes in this way – no/lo/fomoc – is useful and simple..

her reply:

Oh YES, definitely. Using the no-lo-fomoc technique is indeed a very useful and simple way to make shoes..!!!  Many probably have the same reaction I did to the thought of shoemaking….”That’s just not possible!” Shoes come from a factory filled with expensive, specialized machinery… or they’re made by a little old Italian shoemaker who learned the secrets of a master craftsman from generations past.

The biggest roadblock in my mind was how to get the sole firmly attached to the upper. You’ve been making shoes and boots for a while, so there’s no issues in your mind, but for me, it’s almost impossible to envision a strong enough glue to keep a shoe held together. An even more difficult concept is trying to figure how you can possible sew a shoe together. How do you get your needle inside the toe of a shoe? It’s just impossible.

With the no-lo-fomoc method, it became so easy to see how the pieces come together. There is no mystery, whatsoever, as to how a shoe can be made. All that’s needed is your full-size patterns, a means to make holes or slits and a couple of needles, …dull needles at that!! How simple could it be?

Truthfully, what drew me to Simple Shoemaking was the possibility of cutting out a pattern, punching some holes in the predefined locations and sitting in the rocking chair, …stitching. (Not stitching & stitching & stitching as in knitting)  ….but simply stitching up a pair of comfortable, healthy shoes. With basic no-lo-fomoc skills, really, it is almost that easy and style shoe or boot can be conquered.

In the “Introduction to Simple Shoemaking” video you talked about modifying the stitch-downs for your little grand daughter. When it was tried on that red shoe of yours, you said, “it was a good fit and you may be on to something here.” Well, I have to agree, totally..! You’ve hit a winner.
; )  -me

 

 

Shoe photos I have kept forever and it’s time to discard..

Over the years I have collected so many photos of shoes I planned to make someday – or maybe they had a feature that I wanted to try. It’s time to clean out the file cabinet, so I’m preserving a few on this blog post.

In the first photo, I like the sage green center-seam stitchdown.  It has inspired me to make several with a tab at the top, secured with velcro.

The second one is from the long-defunct magazine Shuz- a “special order shoe” – why I don’t know…. I like the topline..

The last one is the sweetest Mary Jane – I think it’s an adult shoe, but I really need to make a pair for my little granddaughter (she turns three in a few days) some day soon.

 

 

  whitejane 3 whitejane 1

Leather footwear made in Colombia

http://www.instructables.com/id/Leather-Footwear-/

My favorite part of this video is watching the shoemaker sharpen his knife! His years of experience show in the rapid swipes he makes back and forth on the whetstone, allowing him to cut through the leather like it was – butter, of course.

Picture of Leather Footwear !

How to tell if shoes are hand-made

 

 

The following was posted on the Shoemaking Forum Facebook page:

I have a wonderful story for you. One guy ordered Lobb’s shoes from time to time and he only wanted one certain maker to make them. Once when he was ordering a new pair, the maker was on vacation (a old man on his 70′ s). So another person made his shoes and he said that he didn’t want them..they are too perfect. “I like the shoes made by the guy whose eyesight is not good anymore and little mistakes pop up.. because for me then I know they are truly handmade.”