Simple Shoemaking Shop

sharon@simpleshoemaking.com

First Footsteps kits for making toddler shoes in my Etsy Shop!

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I am going to be one grateful person this Thanksgiving – most of all because I will be in the presence of my two-year-old granddaughter Millie on that day – but also because two goals literally years in the making are within reach! I have First Footsteps kits for making toddler shoes available in my Etsy shop – I am so pleased with them, the Ecopell leather from Germany that is ecologically made is sumptuous stuff, little feet couldn’t be more comfortable – or healthy.

Soon I will have the “scraptini” models available too, made from leather scraps with bicycle inner tube soles.

 

And the shoes function beautifully – I have been making them for Millie from size 3, now she’s in size 6. I don’t think I could have made these so successfully without her as a willing test-case. There have been so many different types of soling to test, elastic length and width, height of heel piece, where to place stitching holes, etc – so even though I have children’s shoemaking lasts (little wooden shoe shapes), there’s nothing like a real kid to try things out. THANKS MILLIE!

And, my new website is about to go live – I’m not waiting for it to be perfect, it’s a wordpress site that I can manipulate on my own, I’m PSYCHED! no more middle-person. So I’ll be improving it over time, no pressure…

MAY YOU ALL EXPERIENCE FRUITION OF YOUR DREAMS!

 

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November 25, 2014 at 11:41 pm

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How to make Renaissance Faire Boots by the duct-tape and stitch-down methods

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Years ago I obtained a photocopy of a book with directions for making Renaissance boots. It didn’t have a cover page, and no indication of who the author was. So, I’ve made a pdf of it that you can have by sending a request to sharon@simpleshoemaking.com.

It might be of interest to those of you who have seen people having their feet and legs duct-taped at Renaissance Faires and have wondered about the process for transforming the tape into patterns for boots – and then the process for transforming the patterns into some of the beautiful boots seen at faires.

Seen here is a photo of a simple Renaissance-Faire boot that I have made, by the stitch-down process. That means there is a little edge turned out where the upper meets the sole – I sell a DVD and patterns for making stitch-down boots on my etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/simpleshoemaking.

Of course you can make the boot-tops more ornate, higher, with more buttons, etc.

 

DSCN0149.

These boots are made over lasts (available through trafico@hormaselarbol.com), but lasts are not needed to make footwear, including Renboots, by the processes described in my soon to become available book, How to Make the Simplest Shoes – Nomocs, Lomocs and Fomocs.  If you request that notification be emailed to you each time I have a new blogpost, I’ll let you know when it’s available.

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November 17, 2014 at 11:27 pm

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Miyoko made these sandals for her daughter

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I’ve had this photo for a while, it was sent to me by a mother who made these sandals for her daughter entirely without patterns and instructions – it shows that once a person understands that she or he can make shoes and sandals, the creative possibilities are endless..
IMG_5409

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November 12, 2014 at 4:22 am

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BUY GOOD THINGS, KEEP THEM A LONG TIME

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Last week I attended the Honorable order of Cordwainer’s Convention, which was hosted along with a Leather Symposium by the Rhode Island School of Design Apparel Department. RISD offered an in-depth education on the vegetable-tanned leather made in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. Why would anyone use anything else after hearing of the environmental benefits it offers, and seeing its beauty?

 

I was especially uplifted by a presentation from Carmen Artigas, in which she alerted the audience to the environmental and personal hazards from using the shoe cements, leathers tanned with heavy metals, and petroleum-based soles that are commonly used in the making of footwear. The theme of her talk could have been the title of this post and a phrase she used, “buy good things, use them for a long time”.

 

Carmen stated that makers and consumers should ask the following questions about the products that each is making or consuming:

 

  1. Is there transparency re: sources of materials
  2. What materials are used to make the product?
  3. How much water is used in making the materials used in the product (we can live without oil, but we cannot live without water)
  4. What happens to the waste from the factory or studio where the products are made?
  5. What happens with your product after it has served its purpose?
  6. Is it biodegradable?
  7. Can your product be repaired?
  8. What kind of packaging are you using, and can it be recycled or repurposed?
  9. Can your product be disassembled, reused, made new?
  10. Is your product healthy and safe for the customer?

 

I was uplifted because the First Footsteps shoemaking kits for making toddler shoes that I make are made of the “good” materials that can be used for a long time. The kits include directions and patterns for making four sizes of toddler shoes, in six different styles (and more to come).

 

I have piles of leather scraps, mostly from upholstery shops, that I use for making “scraptinis”. Their soles are made from used bicycle inner tubes. I also make First Footsteps from new vegetable-tanned leather, Ecopell, from Germany, and use natural rubber as soling. Ecopell (http://www.vegetable-tanned-leather.com/) has all the information about how their leather is made on their website.

 

I think of the shoe kits as being “Empowerment” kits because the maker is able to control every facet of how additional shoes for the child will be made: by whom, where, and what materials are to be used. If the shoes need to be repaired, the maker can easily do the work. The maker is in charge of what happens to the little shoes once their life-span is over; materials can be used to make other smaller thingss, or patchwork, or they can be allowed to return to the earth.

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October 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

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My Moroccan shoe adventure

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photo 1-5

It was 12-13 years ago, I went to the UK Independent Shoemaker’s Conference. It was held in Totnes and was co-hosted by Conker Shoes and Green Shoes. While touring the countryside prior to the conference, I greatly enjoyed stopping in “charity shops” and seeking out handmade items. To my amazement, in a shop in, I believe it was Apledore, I came across a pair of handmade shoes from Morocco! And, they were assembled in a manner that I had never seen before – they weren’t lasted shoes, but the edge of the upper was stitched inward so that there were no raw edges. They were too small for me, but of course I had to have them.

This trip was made soon after September 11, 2001, because new rules were instituted on all the flights – I had my scissors confiscated before boarding. I desperately wanted to learn how the shoes were put together, so I took a fork from the hotel dining room that evening and dug into them!

Indeed the technique was unique and wonderful; I used it to make a few pairs of shoes, then went back to making stitchdowns, raw edges and all – the new technique was too challenging. Here’s a photo of a pair of sandals I made using this technique.

photo 5-6

Since the original shoes I purchased were too small for me, I eventually took them apart, added a little piece in the heel area, and transformed them into stitchdowns.

I hadn’t thought about them until yesterday, when I saw a pair of shoes with a similar style on Pinterest. I realized that this style would look great as a “Fomoc”, one of the new techniques I am currently making patterns for.

I looked through my files – had I kept a copy of the pattern? Couldn’t find it, so instead of taking a shoe apart I resorted to my tried-and-true  process of copying a shoe’s pattern with masking tape. So, the green shoe you see here – isn’t frog tape beautiful! – is covered with two layers of frog tape. And here’s the pattern I got after removing the tape and adhering it to a file folder.

I have the feeling that my Moroccan shoe adventure is not yet complete…

photo-1

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July 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm

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My order for products from lisa sorrell @ http://www.customboots.net/

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Bramble and the roseHi Lisa, (creator of the boots above)

I’m so happy that a post on the facebook page of “leather for the love of it” mentioned that you are carrying Aquilim 315, a contact cement substitute. I recently ordered a small jar of aqualim 315 from a European supplier a few months ago and do love it, although the shipping costs were daunting – and now I see that I can get a much bigger quantity from you for about what I paid for the little one – thank you! It seems odorless to me, and spreads so nicely – I did a test on different combinations of soling materials to see how well it adhered them together; unfortunately it’s not very effective in adhering anything to the natural rubber soling that I like to use, but it’s great w/ Vibram Ecocrepe (30% recycled tire) – the Ecocrepe bonds well to itself (important for adhering a heel) and it also bonds the Ecocrepe well to vegetable-tanned leather. 

315

I don’t think I need Aquilim GL, rubber cement substitute – I recall seeing a video of your in which you applied rubber cement to leather then laid a stencil over it and brushed chalk dust (?) over the stencil so the pattern is clearly copied on to the leather – is this what you use Aquilim GL for? – and that’s not a process I use, so I think the 315 will do for every job I have, unless you have more uses for it..

Being able to re-use brushes is a challenge so i’d like to try yours – should I try the blade brush and the wide brush with silicone bristles? If you think they would both be interesting and useful w/ Aqualim 315, please send them both.

i’m wondering about the Crosslinker waterproofing agent – isn’t the contact cement bond waterproof as is?

And, I must admit that I haven’t used the skiving knife I purchased from you because i don’t know how to sharpen it! Now I see that you’ve got sharpeners for sale – more gratitude! Since I teach stitchdown shoemaking I’d like to offer students the less-expensive and manual way to sharpen, but I’d better learn how to do it myself first.  
Field sharpener
And even though I have lots of silver pens, in all stages of function/dysfunction I’d like to try yours.. so here’s my order:
Aqualim 315 – $75.00 size
One or both brushes, depending on your advice
Hirschkleber for adhering and hardening toe boxes
Guided Sharpener

Silver Leather Marking Pens – 2

Refillable Marker Pen

Thank you for offering these amazing, healthy and so useful products, please send me a paypal invoice,

Cordially, Sharon

REPLY FROM LISA

Sharon,

The Aquilim GL is a rubber cement, so it’s a temporary bond. Cowboy boot makers use rubber cement to put boot tops together before they stitch them. I don’t find a lot of leather workers outside of cowboy boot making who regularly use rubber cement. But for those who do it’s a great substitute. When I use it for marking the design onto leather, I thin it with water so it’s easier to remove when I’m done.
I prefer the blade brush for use with the 315. The bristle brush doesn’t clog with the GL but it does a little with the 315. The cool thing about the blade brush is that it doesn’t have to be stored in the glue so you don’t need a special glue pot that accommodates a brush. You can keep it in any sort of jar, spread it with the blade brush, and then just lay the brush down until you’re ready to use it again. When you pick it up you can peel off the old glue and you’re ready to go.
Because the Aquilim glues are water based, water is technically the solvent for them. They’re advertised as water resistant but not water proof. You wouldn’t want to use them for a project that would be repeatedly submerged in water for example. However, I can tell you that I’ve used the 315 for projects that I did submerge in water and not had any problems. I haven’t gotten to experiment with the crosslinker yet but it sounds like a pretty simple process to use it.
Sharpening is hard, isn’t it? What I like about the sharpener that I sell is that it has a guide so you’ll sharpen at the correct angle.
 
Lisa Sorrell
boot maker
217 E. Oklahoma Ave.
Guthrie, OK 73044
405-282-5464
Website: lisasorrell.com

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July 14, 2014 at 3:16 am

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Preview of the NOMOC

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nomoc ghillie

 

I made this NOMOC a few days ago, so I haven’t waited very long to tell you about it! I have been working on the design for a “First Footsteps” toddler’s shoemaking kit with the hope that the technique might work for adult shoes as well – so I finally had the spaciousness in my life to try to make one – and I’m delighted with the results.

You might wonder “what is a NOMOC?” As soon as I complete the patterns I’ll be putting out a new book, How to Make Nomocs, Lowmocs and Fomocs. I realize no one is going to be googling for any of these “key words”, but they are new ways of making shoes so I had to create names for the techniques.

Actually, the techniques may not be all that new, but having the directions and patterns all in one book is a first, I think.

So, to describe what a “Nomoc” is, I have to tell you what a “Yesmoc” is, which is a moccasin. A generic moccasin is made when the wearer stands on a piece of leather that is larger than the sole of the foot, so the excess is gathered up around the foot, where it is stitched to a piece of leather on the top of the foot.

With a Nomoc, you stand on a piece of leather (or a piece of leather with a thin rubbery bottom sole, as in the shoe above), but it hardly gathers up around the foot at all – just 1/4″ is added to your foot pattern.

To make this Nomoc, I cut out a pattern for a ghillie upper from How to Make Simple Shoes for Women with your own two hands! and stitched it to the sole, from the outside. Of course one needs to know where to punch the stitching holes, which is an important piece of information that will be found in the new book.

While I’m at it, I’ll share that Lomocs are made much like moccasins, with about a 5/8″ border of leather added to the foot pattern.  They can have unlimited styles of uppers attached to them. “Fomocs” are another name for Soles with an Edge – instead of leather being gathered as it comes up around the foot, a band has been stitched to the sole, so there are no gathers, giving the shoes a little more of a “cosmopolitan” look, as opposed to the “casual” look of Lomocs.

I hope to complete the book in the next month or so – a big push will come when my husband goes on a two-week-paddle in Maine in July.

 

 

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June 25, 2014 at 1:58 am

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How to make traditional and “stitch-down” renaissance faire boots

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Years ago I obtained a photocopy of a book with directions for making Renaissance boots. It didn’t have a cover page, and no indication of who the author was. So, I’ve made a pdf of it that you can have by sending a request to sharon@simpleshoemaking.com.

It might be of interest to those of you who have seen people having their feet and legs duct-taped at Renaissance Faires and have wondered about the process for transforming the tape into patterns for boots – and then the process for transforming the patterns into some of the beautiful boots seen at faires.

Seen here is a photo of a simple Renaissance-Faire boot that I have made, by the stitch-down process. That means there is a little edge turned out where the upper meets the sole – I sell a DVD and patterns for making stitch-down boots on my etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/simpleshoemaking.

Of course you can make the boot-tops more ornate, higher, with more buttons, etc.

 

DSCN0149.

These boots are made over lasts (available through trafico@hormaselarbol.com), but lasts are not needed to make footwear, including Renboots, by the processes described in my soon to become available book, How to Make the Simplest Shoes – Nomocs, Lomocs and Fomocs.  If you request that notification be emailed to you each time I have a new blogpost, I’ll let you know when it’s available.

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May 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm

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Rhode Island School of Design Shoe Design Journey

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rhode island school of design student projects

 

I am so happy to provide you with a link to the Rhode Island School of Design Shoe Design to Italy video!

http://content.jwplatform.com/videos/rN7c0eJs-hQoDv5Ax.mp4

I had the opportunity to teach a few shoemaking basics to the students when they first came back from their trip, and have been anxious to see the shoes that they made as the fruition of their experience.

Enjoy!rhode island school of design student project

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April 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm

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“First Footsteps” shoemaking workshop

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“First Footsteps” Shoemaking Workshop

Saturday April 12

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All Things Local Coop

Amherst, MA

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How could shoes for beginning walkers be more healthy than these! Made of leather with natural rubber soles, they have a wide toe area, no heel and flexible sole – as close to being barefoot as possible, yet the little feet inside the shoes are comfortable and protected. These shoes are good for both the child you love and for our shared environment.

Shoes are size 4 – good for shower, birth or first birthday gifts – or any time in-between!

To attend the workshop, purchase the shoemaking kit from All Things Local – or you can purchase one at the workshop. Bring it with you to the workshop and we’ll assemble them together. The kits are being sold for $15.00 (they will regularly be $25 – $30.00) at this time so a variety of children can “test-walk” them before we solidify the design. Please email Sharon to let her know you plan to participate.

The shoemaking kit offers patterns for children’s size shoes from 3 to 6, so you will have the experience and patterns to make many more shoes.

workshop offered by:

Sharon Raymond

email any questions to:

sharon@simpleshoemaking.com

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April 3, 2014 at 12:24 am

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