For those of you who have purchased either How to Make Simple Sandals, or How to Make the Simplest Sandals, I just made a pair of loop sandals and offer these improved directions: (1) On the pattern, two holes are shown so the loop can pass up through one and down through the other, I now don’t think that’s necessary, so you can punch one hole in the center of the two holes shown, and pull your loop material up through it. I cut a 1/2″ dowel rod and cut sections of it to put into a loop so it remains the same size while I make the next loop. I used a 3/16″ hand punch to make the holes. To pull the loop material up through the hole, I used a paper clip: one leg extended up, one-half of the “lozenge-shaped” section poked through the hole. Pull the loop through the paper clip, then pull it up and shape it over a dowel rod section.
here’s two more sandal styles that can easily be made as out-stitched – or even “understitched” – meaning that you punch slits or oblong slots in the sandal sole and thread the ends of sandal tabs through them. Then, either stitch, rivet or nail them in place (this is all explained further in my sandalmaking book and/or dvd) before assembling the sandal.
I saw two pairs of shoes on the web recently; they each provided an example of how you can take an idea you see and like, and make something similar for yourself. Here’s the two shoes, which one can you see yourself making? That’s right, the ones on the right, just create some gorgeous fabric through beading, applique etc, construct the pattern using pattern for the avarca sandal from my “Simplest Sandals” book. A leather strap and you’re all set. Re: the high heel, you could take the heel tab and the two leather straps from it and make something similar, but with a low heel.
I have greatly enjoyed making and wearing the one-strap sandal, which became known to the Northern Hemisphere through the book Born to Run (highly-recommended!) Checking out websites about the “invisible sandal”, I realized that a mystery had been solved for me: for years I have had a delightful photo from a calendar hanging on my studio wall – it shows three men sitting together (I cropped one out), engaged in their different crafts…one of them has traditional-looking footwear on. I have studied that picture many times, trying to figure out how the sandal was made with only one strap! I have presumed the men were from Central America, now I’m thinking Peru…if anyone has familiarity with this style of dress and these activities, I would love to know where they are from.
Now I know – it’s the same as the Tumahumara (the Northern Mexico indigenous people) sandal, but instead of the strap going through a loop in the sole alongside the ankle, there is a leather heel piece with holes at the top front corners that the strap goes through instead. Then there is the little “keeper” piece of leather over the straps, all very wonderful and I’m so anxious to make a pair – but unfortunately I can say that about a dozen or so shoe styles, so I might not be making them soon. But I’ll always enjoy the photo, these men who appear contented making, and being together.
I am finishing up a small book on the “fisher” sandal for all lengths of feet from 3 1/2″ to 12″. I believe it’s a sandal that can be made to fit everyone, providing lots of openings for cooling breezes to waft through, but also providing quite a bit of protection for the foot. I think it can be considered tropical/formal footwear or casual. Here’s a photo of one of several sandals that a woman made for her family members – in this one, she covered the elastic with a piece of leather.
A junior-high student came to visit me with her shoemaking mother; she showed me the sandals she had made with scraps left off from a project of her mothers. I love them! I think we all agreed that a toe-strap extending from the vamp band would be a good idea, which she planned to add, but otherwise, perfect!
Her work partially inspired a small book that I am working on right now, entitled “The Ground’s the Limit” – simple sandals you can make from recycled materials. I finally realized what would make great recycled soling – flip-flops that the straps have popped out of! How many of these are tossed into the trash from the five colleges here in my valley?! Now I’ve got to set up a collection scheme, I am hoping the Eco-club at UMass will help me. But people can find them everywhere, particularly along beaches. So let’s use them again – these soles and a recycled handbag and you’ve got sandals!
I am so happy that I have shoemaking students coming to my home to learn – it gives me a great reason to purchase materials – and books! that if they were only for me – well, I have so many design ideas already that I don’t think I have enough years left to experiment with them all. The latest book I purchased – for my students – is a 5″ x 8″ book from Trippen, the German shoemaking company. It shipped from Germany, is printed both in English and in German, has almost 600 pages of – inspiration. There is nothing I love more than taking an advant-garde shoe with all its chunky sole and industrial hardware, and tame it down into a great little “stitch-down”. But early-on in the book, I ran into “meander” – an actual stitch-down, rendered in softest-elk (as most Trippen shoes are) – I would hardly modify it at all. I have an elk hide, will be whipping up myself a “meandering pair” some day. Maybe you will too?
Now that I look at it — this shoe is a little trickier to make than I had realized – where do all those tabs come from that make up the toe?
greetings, I have never been so eager to make a new pair of sandals as I have these: These are “stitch-downs”! Doesn’t it seem that the edges are turned out, then stitched to the sole?! To make the ankle strap, which seems to be about 1/2″ wide, cut a strip of leather 1 3/16″ wide. Cut another piece of leather to act as the “core” of the ankle strap slightly less than !/2″, about 3/8″ wide. Draw a line down the center of one side with a pen. Apply contact cement (Titan DX recommended) to the inside of the strap leather and the core leather. When the cement has dried, adhere the strap leather along the pen line, rotate the strap so you now adhere the strap leather to the outside of the core leather, then finish by turning the strap again and adhering the remaining strap leather. It might be best to make a little sample of the actual leathers you are using, to make sure that the last piece butts up against the pen line. Press firmly, and your strap is completed. As far as how to anchor the straps, please see my sandalmaking video.
In Hindu philosophy, isIn Hindu philosophy, ishvara is the Sanskrit word for soul. “There must be soul in what you do,” says Jose Marco, the designer of the sandal brand that bears the name. “Whatever it may be — cooking, caring for a plant, choosing a beautiful piece of leather to make sandals — soul is needed.” Having designed and sold Ishvara’s classic tanned-leather Mediterranean sandals from a tiny beach storefront in Formentera, Spain (the brand is based in Ibiza), since 1982, Marco is finally bringing his casual, colorful flats to the states. These python albarcas, modeled after ones commonly worn by fishermen in the Balearic Islands, are a standout. Sole (or should I say soul) searching has never been easier.
Ishvara sandals, $305. At Pamela Robbins, (914) 472-4033
If you’re ever in Tasmania….look up Luna. I had the good fortune to have a 3-day individual workshop with Luna perhaps 15 years ago,when she was in New England visiting her brother. I still find patterns with her name on them that I have not tried to make footwear from – but this one that I just came across will be an exception. I am just finishing up my moccasin-making book, and am adding a design in which the “plug” doesn’t curve up when stitched to the vamp, but instead curves inward. I’ll be making a video to let you know what I’m talking about, but just serendipitously came upon this sketch of hers, that shows how great this look can be.