Want to learn simple shoemaking via FaceTime or Skype?

If you’d like to make shoes the simple way, you can do so in the comfort of your own home.  You might even gather a small group who want to learn together. Here’s how it works. I send you a shoemaking kit that contains a sole in the size you request – it has a vegetable-tanned topsole and a bottom sole of either natural rubber or vegetable-tanned leather. The uppers are made from leather upholstery remnants.

A 1/4″ wool felt and natural rubber sole is also available, if you’d prefer not to use leather.

You will receive as much FaceTime/Skype-time with me as is needed to guide you through the shoemaking process.

To determine what size kit to order – since the kit size is rarely the same as the size you have been wearing, it’s important to make a mock-up before making your first pair. Use felt to make the upper, and USPS corrugated cardboard for making the sole. Upon payment of the $100.00 fee, you will be sent a pdf of The Simple Shoemaking Handbook, and you can make mock-ups until you get a good fit.

The kit includes a piece of upper leather in the color you choose, lining for the upper and “veg” leather for a toe box, vegetable-tanned topsole, natural rubber or leather bottom sole, two “egg eye” harness needles, sufficient waxed braided thread, and a small bottle of Aqualim 315 non-toxic cement with a brush. You will need to purchase leather-cutting scissors and a 00 punch – either a hand-squeezed “spring” punch or a drive punch that you hit with a hammer (with a suitable surface underneath).

If we see that the mock-up is just not going to work for your feet, you can make custom patterns. I’ll work with you through this – a video of the process is on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8RMcXhw40c.

Once you let me know what size, bottom sole material and color of upper leather you’d like, the kit will be prepared and sent out.

 

I have created the box above as a “stage” for demonstrating simple shoemaking. I place my hands inside the box to demonstrate each step – my iPhone is taped over a hole in the top of the box.  The camera lens peers down onto the action.  Of course I don’t want to apply tape to my phone, so I tear off a piece of duct tape several inches longer than the width of my phone. I adhere another piece of tape to the center of the first piece, so your phone isn’t taped, but there’s sticky stuff on both ends – see photo below.

 

Windows are cut out of the upside-down box with a utility knife – the windows are needed so there is adequate light on the workspace.

This box needs to be re-created by the student, so I can see what her/his hands are doing.

The workshop instruction happens in spurts: a student may be ready to cut out upper parts, so we’ll disconnect until the student calls back, then we’ll work on the next step. It usually takes most of a six-hour-day to make the shoes, but the project doesn’t need to be done all in one day.

I love to offer the workshop to small groups, so if yourself and a few friends would like to work together, please email me and we can discuss the options.

Please consider taking a workshop, and becoming a shoemaker!