July 18, 2019

How to Cut Leather for Shoes

Every shoemaking post I can start with the same phrase: every step in shoemaking is very important and influences on the next one! It is really an axiom of shoemaking! 

How to cut shoe leather parts  - is one of the important steps in shoemaking! Although it may seem that is one of the simplest and non-such important steps BUT...

BUT you will be really surprised by knowing that it is an important  step in your shoemaking craft. 

Yes, it is like every other tiny, non-such “important” at the first point of view step, can influence on your shoe making work for good or for bad! 

There are two approaches on how to cut shoe leather parts that most of the shoemakers use

1.Copy and then cut  (CC) shoe leather parts

I called this way shortly “copy and then cut” because using this approach shoemakers copy the shoe pattern, transfer all the outlines of the shoe patterns with a silver pen to the leather and then cut it with scissors.


2. Cut right away (CRA) shoe leather parts

Using this approach shoemakers cut all leather parts right away using the cardboard patterns. In this way, they pass the step of copying with a silver pen and cut right away with a knife. This is a crucial step in the shoe-making process. If you're interested in a concise overview of all shoemaking steps, I invite you to read this article: "How to make shoes".

cut leather for shoe upper

These both shoemaking approaches of the shoe leather cutting have advantages and disadvantages.

Copy and then cut (CC) VS Cut right away (CRA) shoe leather parts

- First approach CC is much easier than the CRA because to cut with scissors is much easier than to cut with a knife 

- CC doesn’t require any experience in leather cutting 

- CC approach will take much more time then CRA because you will do the same steps twice: copy every line of the pattern, then cut the same lines with scissors

- Although CC doesn’t require any prior skills in cutting, it is less professional, in my opinion, then the CRA

The mark of the silver pen has a width of approx.1mm and you really need to pay attention to how you cut with scissors as you will need to follow the inner side of the silver mark. 

You need to follow the inner line of the silver mark to not enlarge your pattern on 1mm. 

In many cases, it can be very crucial, especially if all your upper parts have a raw cut and must be precise. 

-In the CRA approach, you should have good control on your knife to not cut cardboard patterns that may happen a lot during cutting  with beginners in shoemaking

- Although the CRA requires proper knowledge on how to cut shoe leather parts correctly, using this approach you will have more precise leather parts and will spend less time cutting.

Now, in my opinion, the second way of shoe leather parts cutting by hand is more professional, more accurate and doesn't limit you in making your shoes

So I decided to teach you this important shoemaking skills.

How to cut shoe leather parts correctly 

It is not difficult to cut your shoe leather parts right away with a knife. You just need to know the right technique and practice it. 

There is a special clicking knife to cut shoe leather parts, but you really don't need to have this knife as I will teach you how to cut with a simple utility knife and this is how we work in each of my shoemaking courses online.

All you need is to have a good, sharp blade. To keep your blade always sharp check this post “Simple knife for shoemaking craft”.

So, to teach you how to cut shoe leather parts like a pro with utility knife I made for you a shoe making tutorial (at the beginning of the article) where I explain everything step by step.

Learn and practice it in your shoemaking craft.

Leather cuts for shoe upper

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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