My Desert Boots!
Hey everyone! I told you that I would share my shoes, well here they are without further ado:
Yes, I know it’s ridiculous that my best picture of these shoes is from right after the class when I set them on the passenger seat. It turns out, I’m not a very good photographer because I tried taking pictures of them at home and couldn’t get a better shot.
I’m sure it’s an unusual thing to have “make your own shoes from scratch” on a to-do list. Honestly, it’s a goal in my life to make one of everything I use on a regular basis, from scratch, at least once. I think it makes me a better and more thoughtful consumer and Kevin thinks it makes me an awesome person to know in an apocalypse. I have no intention of making every pair of shoes I wear, but I do want to make one more pair for me, a pair for Kevin and a pair for Etta still this year. Not sure if I’ll get it together enough to pull that off though. I tend to make big plans and then not be able to complete all of them, but more on that later.
I’m not going to go into incredible detail here about how the shoes are made because that wouldn’t be fair to the person who taught the class. I will share lots of progress shots though. This pattern was made just for my foot by the class instructor, and then I was given the pieces to trace and cut. We were not given a choice for style. Every beginner starts with the same desert boot pattern, but I didn’t mind. I never would have picked these at the store, but I’m glad I have them as my first handmade shoe. They are a pretty classic style. Here are the main parts of the shoe:
The crazy thing we cut them on:
The shoes were stitched by hand and by machine, so that we could get some experience with both. I have been using sewing machines for as long as I can remember, but I have never used an industrial leather machine. They are pretty tricky to use! Here are the backs of the shoes, sewn by hand:
The side reinforcement, sewn by machine (below). I was so relieved when I didn’t totally blow it with my first job sewing on the leather machine because you cant’ just rip out the seams. You are left with permanent holes, yikes!
Just two steps left, filling the shoe to create the toe box (see how flat the front is without that step?) this was done by hammering material into the toe using a large dowel and a mallet. This step also felt really mean to do to the shoe I had just spent two days carefully making. Lastly, the sole and midsole were cut down to size with a bandsaw and then a belt sander. No pictures of this messy step, sadly.
After all this, I had to wait what seemed like forever (several days) for them to dry completely in order to try them on. It was an incredible experience getting to make these shoes from scratch. It was also pretty therapeutic for me – tackling something so physically challenging and just getting away into that creative work space was great. It was the first time in three years that I had really done something just for myself. When under stress, some women need a weekend at the spa. I need a big challenge with a practical payoff. Now, can someone give me tips on how to style these/what to wear with them? I’m absolutely helpless when it comes to getting dressed.
- My Desert Boots!
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- Book Review - Growing a Farmer
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