March 21, 2019

Shoe Pattern: Basic pattern is important!

In this shoemaking post, I will explain to you why a shoe basic pattern is important in shoemaking, what is basic shoe pattern and what types of basic patterns exist in shoemaking.  I focus a lot on shoe pattern making in each of my shoe making courses and the basic pattern is the primary shoe pattern in the making of shoes.

 Now, let’s start from the beginning. 

Shoe pattern

You have one shoe last and, of course, you want to make different shoe models using the same shoe last.

How do you usually make shoes? What are the shoemaking steps you pass during shoe pattern making?

-You attach the masking tape and design your shoes on it,

-then you check it, you check if you made shoe masking tape pattern correct.

When you want to make a new shoe model on this last (as it should be), you do it all over again and then check your masking tape pattern again.

So, each time, when you are making a new shoe design, you waste valuable time checking your masking tape pattern until you get it right. 

Make your basic shoe pattern to work smart


Now I want to ask you, why you should spend your time and efforts on the same shoemaking process if you can work smart instead?

You can and should work faster and easier with the help of Basic Shoe Pattern. We already had this conversation about the basic pattern before in this post,( “How to speed up your shoe making process using basic shoe pattern”)  but I must make it clear even more.

I can see it in the example of Evgeni ( Beginner Shoemaker Challenge ) you still underestimate the importance of the basic shoe pattern in your shoe making work. This actually one of the advantages of this shoemaker challenge (and I am so happy about it) that I can understand better what kind of information is useful to you and what is still unclear, but you don’t even know it.


I will answer his (Evgeni) and your question “Why we need to make so many basic patterns?: The basic shoe pattern of your last and then the basic pattern of your specific shoe design, like oxford shoes and many other shoe models”.


Basic pattern


 The best way to explain is to show it. That’s why I prepared for you this shoe making tutorial.

Main mistakes in shoe pattern making

Now, let’s talk about main mistakes that are the cause of your wrong shoe patterns, whatever your shoe design is.

In most cases, it happens when you are attaching your masking tape pattern to the cardboard.
Yes, simple as this and you do it wrong! Now, what you need to look for?!

  1. You need to attach a masking tape pattern at the right angle.
  2. You need to spread all wrinkles and folds of masking tape pattern correctly. You need to do it, do not change the correct dimension of your last.  Those wrinkles and folds of masking tape always created as a result of transferring masking tape pattern from 3D shape (your shoe last) to 2D shape (the cardboard).

basic shoe pattern

So when you make your basic shoe pattern for different models of shoes, each time you struggle with the same  problems:

* finding the right angle

* spreading all of the folds correctly


Why should you work this way?


This way you spend so much time on useless tests. This is a just wrong way to work.

That’s why first you should make the basic pattern of your last.

Check it using ordinary paper pattern, to make sure you transferred it in the right angle and spread well all of the folds.

Only then you should make another masking tape pattern with the footwear design that you want to make ( second basic pattern).

Just think about it, you will only need to do it right once.


This way you will attach your new design on the already checked first basic pattern with the right angle and will avoid common mistakes that happen during the transfer ( 2D-3D ). The first basic pattern will serve you as a guide to attach each of your new shoe designs made on the same last correctly from the start.


The first basic pattern is a kind of a template for any of your shoe designs that you will want to make. This is how you will spend less time with pattern making and will avoid many mistakes developing different types of shoes.

I hope I made you think of the process, let me know in the comment if it will change the way you work ( I hope so) on your shoe pattern. For more insights about pattern making, visit this shoe making directory: “Shoe pattern and templates”.

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Basic Pattern Cutting provides step-by-step patterns for footwear.
    Pattern Cutting is essentially a practical subject and is hard to describe with words.
    Congrtulations ! Great job by Sveta.

    Tom Balendra. LCGI, AMIQA, FCFI (England)
    Certified freelance footwear technician/Consultant – British, American, and European qualified + Asian , S.E. Asian & China factory floor experienced. (Available for Global services in Footwear, SLG & Fashion accessories production).
    North America
    April 16th 2015

  2. Hello Sveta,

    I admire you very much… you are an example to us all. At present I lack the time to devote to your courses (I am heavily involved in the design and execution of a large floor mosaic).
    My husband has bought me some basic shoe-making tools after learning of my excitement when seeing your posts. Sadly, they remain in their box..

    Soon, I hope to make some of your shoes & I will continue to recommend your site to my friends. You leave Emma Hope & Jimmy Choo in a shoe-box!

    You are marvellous.

  3. i am fashion technology graduate,now i am interested in footwear designing.but that was not in our academic course.even i dont know the making procedure of footwear.i did pattern for basic bodice & bottoms i mean apparel my question is from where to i start basic pattern?? what is the basic pattern of shoes?? Is there only one basic patterns from that we can develop any designs (silhouette)?? waiting for ur valuable answer and offcourse thank you for ur great initiative 🙂
    –from bangladesh

    1. The basic pattern of shoes is a copy of the last that have also all lines of your shoe design. There are two basic patterns: first it is only the copy of the last (the silhouette as you called it), the second it is the basic pattern of your actual shoes ,which you made with the help of first basic pattern ( see the post). Using the first basic pattern you can make any shoes (see the post how) with small adjustment that required for this or that type of shoes.

  4. Thank you for all tha handy tips Sveta. I found a last for my shoe size and is busy with the basic pattrrn. I still struggle to put the masking tape pattern on card without any creases. I started with the ballerina shoe course but I did not use a pointy last, (because I dont like pointy tips for myself pesonally) I use a last with a square tipe of front. Am I allowed to do that with the ballerina shoe pattern or do I need to use another way of constructing that basic pattern with the more square tip?

  5. Thank you so much sveta for the wonderful course.
    This shoe lessons sound like magic to me despite my sincere interest.Is there a way you can post shoe making videos from start to finish in order to see the process flow and what each materials are used for physically? I believe this would help people like us.

    1. Hi Alice,
      You welcome to visit my youtube channel, there are many videos with entire process. Sure you will get a different set of courses here, and you are welcome to join. You see my courses include creation process from 8-20 full lessons ( depends on the model).

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