Creating solutions when you lack of good materials

What are you struggling with right now? What makes your process of making shoes difficult? I know there are things that I myself struggle with and I know you do too.

This week I sent an email to members of my footwear design course asking for a feedback, and I received many replies, questions, ideas (thank you very much) and many of members shared with me what they are struggling with and not specifically at design course, but generally in learning and making shoes. Although, it’s is not new to me and I keep answering dozens of emails to you guys each week, but somehow during this process of creating lessons and working individually on each process I might forgot to focus on general problems and through my experiences and knowledge that I gained with working in this industry for all this years, I can make it easier for you to find the answers, and that’s exactly what I will do with this blog.  Just as I did in Making Shoes blog.

As you can imagine I myself struggle with different issues in making my own shoes just like you are, maybe we have different problems, but they all need solutions. As I always say, creative mind, motivation and necessity will guide us to solution, and although shoemaking have his ancient rules and guides how to do things it doesn’t mean you can’t search for your own ways, that is what I believe in!
Back in the days, when I was just getting started with my  first collection I discovered a very dark side of an shoemaking industry in my country, something that I never dealt  with when I was working for a big local manufacturer. In my country there is a huge problem with finding a good quality leather for shoes, well it is almost impossible and who can afford it, just imports, something that I could not afford back then.
Just to explain you what type of leather we had here for sale, so many of you who have the same problem with finding good leather or other materials could relate. The leather that was for sale, was leather that is used for furniture. It is not a good leather for shoes, it is very starchy  and floppy, very hard to work with, very hard to last it, and results were horrible. As I had no choice back then, I did used that leather by finding a solution to my problem, I reinforced it with fabric, and no, not with a special fabric for leather as I didn’t had it neither. I just used very thin and not stretchy cotton fabric.

The process is, you must to create a pattern for this fabric reinforcement, and this pattern is the same pattern as your upper pattern with small changes:
1.   6 mm less from the upper top line, where folding is.

2.   6 mm less from the bottom edge

3.   2 mm less at back line and every line where is an open cut.

4.  4mm less from the underlying allowance.

1 2 3
Before you attach the fabric, you must skive the upper edges and then attach the fabric to the upper before sewing.
This process allowed me to make my first collection, and I guess necessity is the mother of invention. That was not perfect and I surely do prefer to work with good leathers, but back then I had no choice like I know many of you do too, so know that you can always find a solution if you look for it.
Every week I will look for new solutions and experiences that I personally went through and I will share them with you, hopefully it will help you in your work and your progress of making shoes. So if you are not already, subscribe to the email list below and I just published new Shoemaking exam test on the site, so test your shoemaking knowledge here:

Two last questions I want to ask you again.
What are you struggling with right now? What makes your process of making shoes difficult?
Let’s keep it rollin, share yours in the comment below.

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Shoemaking Courses
  • May 10, 2014

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