Monday, March 7, 2016

Starting with Shoemaking Courses Online - Gathering materials

As promised I'm back talking about Shoemaking!

As you may know I signed up to Shoemaking Courses Online as a Christmas present. I got the Gold Membership for 3 months which allows you access to every course streamed online or downloaded to your computer to watch and refer to later. 

To give you an idea of what shoes she's teaching you to make here is a list: ankle boots, slingback pumps, oxfords, sandals, knee high boots, high heel pumps, ballet flats (leather), ballet flats (fabric), wedge cork sandals, T strap pumps and moccasins. Plus she has specific courses for learning to measure and use lasts, make midsoles, make outsoles, make stacked heels and there are more courses on the way all the time.

I really can't recommend this course highly enough. It's like you're there in the studio of an expert shoemaker getting a bird's eye view of how to make shoes. Plus she talks you through common beginner mistakes as you go so you know what not to do and what to look out for. 

It's not, however, a casual hobby. Making shoes Sveta's way involves specific tools and materials that can be hard to find. So if you're going to learn to make shoes you need to commit. That's why I'm sharing my materials below. I would just love a group of people to learn shoemaking with so I hope this helps in some small way to those who want to give it a go but don't know where to start.


What's missing from this list is good shoemaking glue. I tried to source Klebfest which is non toxic and no odour shoemaking glue but I couldn't get it. It also comes in larger portions branded as Renia Aquilim but I can't seem to get that shipped to Australia. Instead I'm trying different brands of contact cement which are all highly smelly.

I haven't found topline tape that can be shipped to Australia yet. I also haven't decided on what to buy to skive with. I'm currently using my cutting knife to do it which is achievable but it would be better to invest in a tool that's designed to skive.

Materials I'm using which I already have:
- Mineral Turpentine
- Clear plastic bags
- Foam sheet
- Tack hammer
- Cutting Mat
- A3 paper and cardboard
- Masking tape 5cm width
- Pacer
- Compass
- Eraser
- Metal ruler

I think that's it in the way of materials. I started following the lessons a week and a half ago and if you're following along on Instagram you might have seen the below pictures. I've learnt to make my own ballet flat pattern based on the shape of my last. I've cut the leather and lining, skived it, reinforced it and glued it together. I've prepared the patterns for the midsole, counters and toe puffs, cut them out and I began lasting my first shoe on the last today.

It's hugely detailed work and every millimetre is well considered to ensure the right end result. I'm really enjoying the pace of it as I'm learning so much at each step.

With any luck I should have finished wearable ballet flats within a week - woohoo!



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