Lengths of soles in The Simple Shoemaking Handbook

If you have ordered The Simple Shoemaking Handbook and would like to verify that the patterns are being printed at the correct size, here’s the lengths of the soles, from the farthest-out (Lomoc) dash-line outside of the toe dot to the farthest-out (Lomoc) dash-line outside of the heel dot:


6 – 10 7/8″

7 – 11 1/4″

8 – 11 1/2″

9 – 11 3/4″

10 – 12″


I have a variety of soling sheets and unit soles for sale in my store. I will sell the soling sheets pre-cut to the size of soles in The Simple Shoemaking Handbook. Or, you can send me a custom sole pattern and I’ll cut it for you. This way, the soling sheets as used as completely as possible.

Some of the soles can be stitched to the uppers, because I am able to cut a groove on the bottom surface for the stitches to lie in. There are some types that I cannot cut a groove in, such as this Italian soling, so these soles would need to be cemented to the uppers with Barge or other shoe contact cement.

I invite you to look at the soling in my store, and email me – sharon@simpleshoemaking.com with any soling questions you have.


Just before heading to bed, I took one last look on Pinterest – and came across this shoe! Of course I followed this Japanese shoemaker around social media, and am amazed and inspired by his work. I would like to take one little feature and use it to enliven shoes that I make, such as the stitching on the heel piece. What fun he has brought to the world! Except now I’ll never get to sleep, as visions of these shoes dance in my head! (Ellen, this link is for you!)

Another opportunity to save money by making your own shoes


I happened upon these shoes in the New York Times article “In Fashion: Flowing, Fanciful white dresses. They are so easy to make using my center-seam patterns. The caption said, “price upon request” so I did call and found that no one actually knows the cost, they are being made in collaboration with Sia and will be released in the spring. Looking at prices for other similar shoes, they will probably sell for around $200.00. There’s another style on Repetto’s website that looks similar, that has a huge bow across the instep. You could do that!

You could make a pair of these in every color! It seems that there are criss-cross black laces across the topline of this white minimalist shoe.

The directions and patterns for center-seam “ballerina-style” shoes are in my book, The Simple Shoemaking Handbook. Here’s a “turn-shoe” done ballet-style with elastic along the topline – it could be cut a little lower above the toes, then eyelets and a criss-cross cord would complete the look. Or, it could be made as a “stitch-in” shoe, with no visible seam. These directions are in the book also.

The biggest Maker Faire on earth

I enjoyed participating in the Maker Faire in Queens, NYC this past weekend – 600 vendors, I believe…I contacted my NYC friend to see if we could get together: she said “not on Saturday night, because my husband and I are going to Paul Simon’s “Farewell Concert” at Corona Park. That’s where the Faire was being held, so, we got tickets too!

Robots, LED lights, “cosplay” and 3-d printing seem to be the big draws at Maker Faires, but fortunately there is a selection of traditional crafts as well.

On Friday night there was a free paella dinner for all Maker Faire vendors – plus an open bar! My conversations were so rich, from a couple using art to show the problem of trash in space, to huge puppets, to a woman about my age (elderly with turquoise hair) who does these Faires all over the country, teaching young people how to knit, crochet, needlepoint etc. So I’ll be teaching them how to make shoes! 

I feel recommitted to the importance of teaching shoemaking, especially ecological shoemaking….



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.