December 17, 2015

10 Best Value Shoe Making Tips for 2015 That I Use in My Work [UPDATED]

I was getting a lot of requests and questions about the tips and decided to do a better work for you.
What can be better than a video?! 
Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.
So, scroll down to check the new Shoemaking Video Tips. 

What is the 10 best shoe making tips that I can give you?

Today’s post will be all about useful shoemaking techniques that I personally use in my work!
Those tips are easy to follow and they will help you a lot in your work.   


Two weeks left until the end of 2015. It was a busy year for me, in my private life and business as well. This year many new exciting shoemaking courses were added to this platform that I am personally very proud of, as :
Moccasin shoe course

T Strap Pumps Shoes Course

Wedge Cork Sandals Course

Slingback Pump Shoes Course


Do more, Accomplish more!   

When you work more, you get better in this craft, and as you will get more experience you will learn more techniques and tricks to help you avoid unnecessary mistakes and pitfalls.

Until you’ll get your own full bag of shoemaking techniques and tricks, I’ll share mine.

Let’s get started with

My 10 Best Shoemaking Tips For 2015


1. Perfect back seam

You noticed that sometimes the back seam of your footwear is too noticeable and it shouldn’t have. To avoid this:

  • You need to sew it in distance of 2 mm from the edge
  • Open the seam with the hammer ( with narrow side of the hammer)
  • Hit well on both sides of the upper
  • Attach wide reinforcement tape ( 14 mm)

If your upper leather is too thick, you can skive the edges before sewing.


Check The New Video




2.  The Importance of Center Mark

No matter what footwear type’s pattern you make, it is always very important to mark the center line. IT’s enough to make even a small hall ( with an awl) near the edge.

This will help you to place your upper in the right spot on your last every time.

The mark on your upper should always match the center of your shoe last.




3.  Assembling with a center mark

If your pattern consists of many details the trick is to use the center line. You should start your pattern assembling from the center mark.

The most common mistake that beginners do, is to start assembling from the edges. This way they always end up with the crooked pattern.

By starting assembling from the center mark will always lead to a perfect result.



4. Perfect Fitting of Lining Pattern

The secret is that lining pattern must be shorter than the upper. This ways we consider the thickness of upper leather and stiffeners.
In the back seam it must be shorter than the upper:

2mm on top

5-6mm on the bottom

note: sometimes when using too thick upper leather, lining must be shorter along center line in the front.

1mm on the topline

2-3 mm on the bottom edge



5.  How to create beautiful cut for sandals strap ( on leather insoles)

Usually when we need to create sandals with leather insoles, we need to use cutter ( with the width of the strap) to make clear cut, for example: The Split sandals.

Here is how you do it with simple puncher for holes and a knife.

  • Cut with the knife 2 parallel lines in the distance that equal the thickness of the strap.
  • On the edges of those cuts, make holes with the puncher.


6.  Beautiful Folded Edge

Sometimes you make too big seam allowance on the edges of your folded upper, and that looks bad.

This happens, because you made a poor skiving.

To avoid this, you need to skive your edge up to 7-8 mm.



7. Neat Cardboard Pattern

Beginners cardboard patterns are always have messy edges, and that is because beginners don’t realise how important it is to have clean edges of your cardboard pattern.

This will influence on the total look of your pattern, especially the folding part.

Here is how you can fix your messy cardboard:

  • Add additional cardboard( where you have the unsmooth edge)
  • Sand the edge with the sanding paper. ( grit 400-1000)


8. How to make long lasting cardboard patterns

Let’s say that you already have a checked pattern that works well. ( you already made at least one pair) But the problem is, that every time when you make a new pair, when cutting leather you can cut some extras of your cardboard pattern ( it happens).

To avoid this, you need to attach your cardboard pattern to the more solid board.

I use texon board.

It is thick but easy to cut.




9. How You Can Use 1 Sandal last to make Variety of Insole Shapes

This is simple strategy, you can change the shape of the insole of your sandals. This will never influence on your pattern, but will change the look of your sandal. So, using only one sandal last you can create multiple designs. Here is the example of 5 shapes, but you can do much more.


  • Make a pattern of the bottom of the last
  • Draw the outline of your feet. From the points A and B (where your pinky toe and big toe are)you can start creating new shapes of the pattern.




10. Attractive/Clean Raw Cut

You need to know how to make beautiful and clean raw cut. Unfortunately, usually raw cuts associated with a poor job, but it doesn’t have to be if done correctly.

To make smooth raw cut:

  • Burn the edges with lighter
  • Wax it with transparent wax



That is it!


Here are my best Shoemaking Tips for 2015 and if you want to get more shoemaking tips and trciks, I invite you to read this article: “How to make shoes-Best Free Shoe Making Tips And Tutorials For Beginners!”. Use them and you will see how you will progress in your work.

Now, let me know in the comment below if you find my tips useful and share some of your own.



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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Thank you for all the work you did this year! My favourite point was about long lasting cardboard patterns, because everyone “knows that” but no one does that when working… So thank you for reminding! Every tip you share is always helpful!

  2. the advice in use center mark is great, thanks, how can i cut straps for men sandals, ??
    So Thank for share your skills.

  3. Hi Sveta, Your tips have been very helpful but I am having trouble finding a last for my feet since my feet have a number of issues. Can you tell me how to get a rounded toe. By that I mean from the top to bottom of the front of the toe. I’ve tried making a sample slipper out of inexpensive vinyl by sewing the two pieces together, then flipping them inside out. This gives me a flat toe in the front and my toes get cramped once I cement a rubber sole to the bottom. Is that where having a last is important in shaping that toe area and adding a toe box for support? Also, do you have any information available for making shoes to accommodate orthotic inserts. My feet have some real issues, that is why I would like to make my own shoes, but it appears that your course mainly covers making shoes for feet that don’t have extensive foot issues like mine. Correct me if I am not seeing this information and you do have information available. Thank you for your help, your shoe samples are just gorgeous.

  4. hi, Sveta Kletina

    How to make cut on the vamp area . is there any measurement to make cut on vamp
    I have seen on the leather upper vamp . I asked the worker about vamp cut he said ” to me in order to remove the creases over the edge of he vamp

  5. Hi, kletina.
    Thanks for the tips , I really enjoyed it and is working for me

    I just want to ask,..How can I make velvet shoe pattern for male and female

  6. Thanks for your post.

    After taking the foot measurements, do we also have to consider the heel height before ordering the shoe lasts?

    I need shoe last that will enable me make shoes with heel heights of 1.5′, 2′,3′ and flat shoes.
    I will appreciate to hear from you.


    1. Hi,
      Every shoe last has it’s heel height , so basicly you need to buy the last with the heel hight you want.

  7. Hi,
    I am JC. I am such a huge fan of your work. I do have a few questions after watching some of your videos.
    When creating the lining pattern for a flat court or pump shoe, how many mm long is the stitching from the feather edge on the center back counter?
    How far towards the vamp do you place the toe enforcement and how far from the center back on the lateral and medial sides do you place the back enforcements?

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