A Cordwainer’s First Pair of Shoes
A couple of months ago, I decided to take a beginner’s shoemaking class just to see how difficult it is to create a pair of shoes from scratch. I now have my answer: It is not at all difficult!
Caveat: Although there is nothing terribly difficult about the process, it should be noted that it is incredibly time consuming. Materials and labor costs can add up very quickly. In addition, those who do not have some sort of sewing or pattern-making background may find it hard at first to wrap their minds around the process of draping the pattern pieces and understanding how they go together.
The materials used for the upper are tweed and lambskin leather. I clearly have an obsession with both of those materials.
The bows were handcrafted with the same tweed material as the upper.
In case you were wondering: they don’t actually fit. I draped the pattern off a standard size 7.5 last (the shoe equivalent of a dress form) and I generally take a size 7.5 in shoes. I was not at all surprised when these ended up being roomy. I have extremely narrow heels, high arches and bony feet, so I often have trouble filling out shoes.
So far, I find that I really enjoy the craft, and plan on taking more classes. I will continue to work on standard shoe lasts until I’m ready to start crafting shoes for myself. For that, I will have to get a last custom made to my feet size. That is something I will eventually look into doing.