May 20, 2014

How to fix loose sides of your shoes upper

Shoe making solution

Here is another blog post as promised, that will deal with a problem that you stumbled upon in your shoe making work. Today we will deal with one of the most asked questions, How to fix the loose and floppy sides of your upper. I answered this question privately for a few times and now if we are dealing with struggles that you have, I think it is a good idea to give this solution to all of you as well.

After you last your upper and took your shoes (mostly court shoes) off the last, your top line lost it shape creating curvy and loose lines on the sides of your footwear. This is most definitely not what you want your shoes to look like and there is a solution for this problem and to get more other shoemaking tutorials with different solutions, make shure to read this article: “How to make shoes-Best Free Shoe Making Tips And Tutorials For Beginners”.

Most of you sure that the reason to it is the bad or not suitable leather that you used for your upper, well it could be the case but only if:
1. You used very thin and soft leather, leather that is used for clothing.
2. You used extremely stretchy leather, mostly pig skins are.
But as this solution still on the table, to tell you the truth in 99 % of this happening this is not the reason. But to be sure, you should check if this is the reason for your problem.
To do so you need to check your paper pattern. You should check if it fits the last, as I show in every type of shoes that we do.
Now, If the paper pattern is perfectly lays on the last, without unnecessary extras, the problem is in the leather that you use, if so you must reinforce the leather.
The easy way to do it, is to use thin fabric, just as we did in previous post.
Creating solutions when you lack of good materials.

Now, If paper pattern is not fit well, the problem then is with the pattern. Probably when you attached the adhesive tape to the cardboard, you over stretched the top line or attached it in the wrong angle (too low), that is why it opens from the sides. As I always say, in shoe making every millimeter counts.

So here is short step by step tutorial how to fix this problem.
1. Find the lowest point on the top-line (point A)


2. Draw 90 degrees line to the top-line through point A. Find the middle of this line. (point B)



3. From point B mark 1 mm from each side.



4. Cut from those points until the edge of each side


5. Move your pattern this way, so your upper side will closes and bottom side will open up. Open up on X mm, (as big as your sides opens now) attach with adhesive tape, and do the same from the other side.

If you want to learn more about different pattern making techniques, techniques to solve most of your shoe making problems, you are invited to visit this directory: “Shoe pattern and templates”.

Do you have this problem?



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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Hi Sveta. I’m happy I found this post. I’ve been trying to make ballerina shoes since your first youtube videos. My patterns are always bad. They never fit properly when trying to last with paper. I try to do the pattern many times, but it doesnt work. I get sad and put away and not work on it for weeks.

    Is it possible I’m using the wrong type of lasts? I have a men’s last I bought over 5 years ago because I can’t find a women’s last in size 11 wide (Size 43, I think).

    Maybe the shape is wrong to make ballerina. If you agree, I will need to but another, but don’t know where I will find it. Thank you for your help and courses. Its very hard to find shoemaking class in Southern California.

    1. Hi,
      Sure making ballerina’s on men last is not the most fit thing to do , but correctly made pattern should fit this last anyway. If it was sitting bad at the final product on your foot, it could be the last, but in your case it’s not. Now for me to understand more about it, I need to see it, so please send me few pics of the paper pattern on your last. Send it straight to my email, if you don’t have it, send me “hi” through “contact page and I will reply”.

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