Sandy Lonto purchased one of the first copies of How to Make the Simplest Shoes: Nomocs, Lomocs and Fomocs (I made up these names) with your own two hands, and quickly made a pair of fomocs! She created a sling-back-style, and “butt-stitched” her upper to the partial fomoc edge with the “baseball stitch”.
Fomocs are made by inserting a band between two layers of soling, that stands up and has holes punched along its top edge. I described her fomoc edge as “partial” because she only made the band on the front part of the shoe, as the sling area doesn’t need it.
The baseball stitch is a butt-stitch because the two pieces of leather being stitched don’t overlap: they butt up against each other. When I saw how she had butt-stitched the shoe, I realized that if you make a shoe with “tucked” stitches between the band and the upper, as is directed in the book, but find it is too tight, you can un-stitch it and remake with a butt-stitch! You’ll gain 1/4″ of extra space all around.
If you make a shoe by one of these techniques and it is too big, you can un-stitch it, cut off a strip around the bottom edge of the upper, punch a new set of holes, and re-stitch. Or, insert a thick insole and the shoe will fit more snugly.
So, how do you make the baseball stitch? As Sandy describes it, it’s just like you’re making a cross-stitch, except, when making a leg of the “X” you start out as usual, but after crossing the seam you take the thread to the back side of the band, then out through the next stitch hole in the band.
Of course you could use the cross-stitch as a butt stitch. Here you see a cross-stitch, an “X and bar” stitch, a box stitch, and the back side of the cross-stitch, that creates a two-thread bar, all butt-stitch options.