Shoemaking / Shoemaking Walkthrough

Shoemaking Walkthrough #2 – Lining Pattern

Lining Pattern Header


Once you’ve completed the pattern for the upper, you’ll need to create a pattern for your shoes’ lining. This will involve using the upper pattern that you’ve just completed and marking out the parts of the lining such that none of the seams in your upper pattern overlap the seams in your lining, which would cause unsightly & uncomfortable bulk in the shoe.

(NOTE: About half of this post is a step-by-step look at how I arrived at the specs for making a lining pattern. If you’re not interested in the process of deriving the pattern and you only want to see the instructions for how to make your own, click here to jump ahead to part 5.2 – Lining Pattern)


Unfortunately, I found that the explanation in Thornton’s book (which contained very detailed and understandable instructions for making an upper pattern) gave a very vague description of the lining pattern that I found almost impossible to follow. For instance, here’s his description of the shape of the lining’s vamp line: “Design the lining curve… taking care to clear the vamp curve as this would cause undesirable bulk.” This description is accompanied by the following image:


Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 2.48.28 PM

This seems to make enough sense in theory, but that curve looks an awful lot like it would intersect the vamp curve on the upper. So I made an overlay of the upper pattern and the lining pattern and, sure enough:

Thornton Lining Overlap (1)

There is a huge amount of overlap, especially around the top near the vamp point! And even if I brought the curve on the lining up above that of the upper, they would still have a significant overlap at the very top / the vamp point. So… what now? Up ’till now I was able to follow Thornton pretty exactly (with a few exceptions) but obviously this wasn’t going to work out. I checked in a handful of other books and found that they too give a very vague treatment of lining patterns. So, in the absence of useful information, I decided to do a little bit of first hand research. That is, I took a look at an actual shoe to see how the lining pattern compares to that of the upper.

I had this Allen Edmonds oxford left over from an old shoe dissection and so I (crudely) cut the upper from the sole in order to get to the lining.




With the two sitting side-by-side it starts to become evident that the vamp line of the pattern extends up and above the vamp line of the upper, but it’s not exactly clear how they line up exactly, especially at the bottom of the facings near the vamp point. So, I cut each in half and laid them on top of each other to get a better sense of how they overlap.




Now you can really get a better sense of how everything lines up. But there are still some things that are not clear from the pictures (i.e. you can’t tell exactly how the two patterns fit with respect to each other simply because you can’t see through the upper) so I made an overlay to help visualize things, then derived a pattern from that information:


Before moving on to the pattern there are a few things that I want to point out. First of all, you can see that the lining vamp curve completely clears the upper vamp curve, leaving no overlap on the curves themselves (providing a better example of Thornton’s instructions than his own illustration does). Secondly, we can see that there is still some seam overlap where the facings meet the vamp, which seems to be unavoidable; however the Allen Edmonds design is careful to avoid overlapping the upper stitching & lining stitching by having the lining stitches stop just before they would intersect the vamp line. Lastly, you can see that there is a small notch in the vamp lining just before the vamp curve begins. This is to accommodate the tongue, which goes between the vamp and the vamp lining; I will explain this in more detail in the next section. Now, using this information, we can derive a lining pattern.


Going off of the information that we got from the Allen Edmonds lining, I’ve put together the following instructions for creating a lining pattern. Before starting, I would recommend that you make a copy of your marked-up standard (including only the lines shown below in green, as well as lines V’X, V’J, and OM) and measure out your lining on this copy; because you’ll be making a lot of new markings on the standard in order to measure out the lining pattern and the original standard could end up getting crowded with lines and letters.


Once you have all of these parts marked off on your standard you can trace them out on their own pieces of paper to make individual patterns. There are some details and instructions that you’ll need to follow in doing this, which are given below.

Lining pattern pieces

I should mention that you could simplify this pattern by removing line ZF and cutting the quarter & heel pattern pieces as one. This would have the advantage of being easier to assemble and would involve less sewing. The drawback is that it would be a less economical use of your leather. That is, cutting out such a large pattern piece creates more waste than cutting out several smaller pieces.


That’s the lining pattern complete. In the next section we’ll close (assemble) the upper.




One thought on “Shoemaking Walkthrough #2 – Lining Pattern

  1. Great stuff. Thanks for all the detailed info and overall awesome page, I’ve been scouring the web for some precise, simple instructions/info on shoe making and your blog has been the best I’ve seen. Please keep it coming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s