Leather Pattern and Stiffener Making

It’s always good to do some test run before the real race so you know what you should adjust to win.

Test run in pattern making for bespoke shoes is to use a secondary or cheaper material to make the upper layer and try the lasting with it on the shoe lasts. This will give you a real vision and physical experience if the anything needs to be change, whether it’s for design, material, lasting method, etc.

There are certain geometrics guidelines AupairToes can follow to do the lasting for the very first time. The back-seam tapes around the pattern to hold the shape will help as well. Well, the first lesson learnt was never stretch too much at the beginning. During the demonstration, the material was immersed in water so it can be stretched easily. However, no one really knows how stretch each leather could be until it’s done so the first side was actually over stretched before AupairToes was aware. It was in the teacher’s hand but AupairToes could make the same mistake easily.

The other side was pulled to see if the balance can be back. However, it was too late. This is totally why every shoemaker, even after years’ of experience should do a test run before hand. It also helps save cost on ruining the good materials customer picks or can guide people’s eyes via the test run.

Leather pattern lasting
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After test run is done and any necessary adjustment being made, AupairToes could finally move on to making the real pair. The first step next is to make stiffeners which would be added in between lining and upper layers to give the shape at the toe as well as the back areas. It’s actually a smaller scale of lasting, including cutting leathers out according to the stiffener patterns, skiving the leather, lasting both parts (toe and back) onto the lasts (for both left and right sides separately. Not surprisingly, no one has a pair of identical feet between their own left and right. There are always differences and customizing to each side correctly is very important). Folding the back allowance along the edges and get the stiffeners perfectly aligned with the lasts requires some practices but not difficult at all (check out AupairToes’ video below)

Stiffener making
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Everything used in this class has been used before so no additional tools or materials involved.

AupairToes was getting more excited and nervous as she got closer to the end of making the real shoes. Let’s wait for her update soon.

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