Monthly Archives: June 2012

Another study stating the obvious


Articles on shoes grab attention, it doesn’t matter what they’re about (You have to read them to find out, and that was the only purpose of the publisher) This article from the CBC News community blog states the obvious; “Shoes say a lot about a person”, or rather, people judge people on first impressions, starting with the shoes (or teeth, or clothes)

The strangers hardly stay around long enough to find out if their impression was correct, and anyway, the choice of shoes worn on a particular day has to do with a lot more than the perceived generalised personality trait (just the one) of the wearer.

Why I’m really posting this article is that the comments and replies from the crazy Americans is hilarious!

For example on page 4;

Comment: Line of Fire: “I like slip on shoes. Guess it means I’m a loafer.”

Reply; Skippysays: “Do you wear them with slacks?”

Seriously though, I think shoes reflect preferences, not personalities. Wearing high heels reflects the persons preference to appear (and feel) a certain way over being comfortable, and able to run away. That preference may say something about their personality, but what exactly, depends on the preferences of the viewer…


Fabric versus leather shoes


I am still trying to work out the (many) differences between making shoes out of fabric or leather; It seems fabric shoes have to  be much tighter around the foot; that way the shoe stays on the foot, and when the foot spreads while walking, the fabric gives support by being tight.

In the photo you can see a drawing of my foot with a sole pattern behind it. The sole pattern is from a fabric shoe from the shops, which I’m using as a reference and inspiration. If I didn’t have my foot in this shoe and feeling that it fits perfectly, I’d never have thought I could make the sole so narrow and tight!  Coming inside the foot would not be possible when making a leather shoe…


Another difference is needing much less equipment using fabric; no splitting, soaking and skiving is needed, an industrial sewing machine is handy but not necessary, less glue is needed, a pair of scissors can do a lot of what you need several knives for if you’re working with leather.

Fabric is also much more accessable: easier to find and buy,  cheaper, available per meter (as opposed to a whole cow-sized skin plus wastage) and lighter and flatter to store. A lot of fabric can be “recycled” from other items (my local dry cleaner has a lot of used terry towelling items for sale for example) and no animals have to be killed! (Though, really, leather is a rest material from the meat industry. Nobody would (afford to) buy leather shoes if animals specifically had to be killed for leather only.) It’s also much easier on the body to work with, and generally stitching is better than glueing. It’s washable! Paintable! Printable! Dyeable! Bio-degradeable! More suggestions on a postcard please! (Actually, just use the comment box;-)

I’m really hoping to find out making shoes with fabric is Shoemaking Lite on everything:-)

I suppose the only thing it’s less good at compared to leather is wearing-in and being durable…

Stripey canvas


I found this company, Deckchairstripes ( who’ll send you up to 5 samples of the canvas for free! (Go on, get some samples! You can use them for trimmings, and flip flops:) While you’re there you can get yourself some crazy cushions, and you don’t know how to relax until you own a hammock.

It’s so cheerful, so English, and so summery! I bought some “Punting” (the middle green one) and I can’t wait to make  some shoes out of it!


Making sample shoes


Some sample shoes made testing out the pattern(s) and the new old Singer sewing machine.

Showing all the pieces to the espadrille: Sole, back piece and vamp.
Testing out the 14 ounce canvas; How does it feel tight around your foot, and how many layers can I stitch? Quite a lot as I found out, but it doesn’t necessarily make the shoe nicer to wear; lumps under the foot are not acceptable!

Trying the sewing machine on different materials; industrial felt (up to 3 layers) plus suede soles, using a leather needle of course.

A note on using ‘found’ materials; it may have invisible hard bits your needle will break/bend on! Check and squeeze between thumb and forefinger first.


And then you get to try them on! The best part if you ask me.

I’d have liked more layers under foot, but unfortunately 3 layers high was the machines limit…This can be remedied with making a cushy insert. (also handy as this can be washed or replaced) Don’t forget to include the inserts’ thickness measurement in your pattern!