This first one was really more of an experiment than anything. Without any access to a teacher or much in the way of detailed instructions I figure that the best way to learn is to just start making them and learn from my mistakes. As with doing pretty much anything for the first time, the learning curve was pretty steep. I can’t even count the number of little frustrations that I encountered and lessons that I learned from this and it makes me excited to start the next one.
Unfortunately I didn’t take terribly many pictures during the actual construction process but I did capture a few of the key steps.
These are all of the tools I used, plus a sewing machine for sewing the upper.
The leather patcher (sewing machine) and the cat
This really made me appreciate the different grades of leather. The dark brown piece in the middle is what I used to make the shoe and it has an almost muddy appearance. I’m definitely going to look into getting better material down the road.
This is just after I attached the upper to the sole with contact cement.
The cement is just to hold everything in place so that I can stitch the two parts together. Contact cement is pretty strong but it doesn’t really hold leather together all that well.
Some pictures of the stitching process.
For the heel, I cut out some oversized rectangles of 12 iron leather and then rough cut them to the shape of the heel.
Next, I assembled the heel lifts using contact cement, as before, to hold everything temporarily then I nailed them all in place.
And the finished product. I wasn’t very careful when cutting out or handling the sole so it wound up pretty marked up and scarred. But it cleaned up ok in the end.
Other than that I’d say it turned out ok for a first attempt, definitely very pleased with the aesthetic of the last. For the next one I’m thinking of experimenting with a Vibram sole and maybe a toe cap.