23 July 2013

I Can Make Shoes!

You guys, I CAN MAKE SHOES! Look at these sandals - designed and constructed by moi, with more than a little help from Amanda, owner of the aptly titled shoe-making workshop studio I Can Make Shoes. I was jumping up and down when an invitation came through to a special one-to-one with Amanda herself. Just what I need to finish off my DIY outfits - DIY sandals!




So how do you make shoes? Lucky for us, Amanda has devised a simple method that allows people to make shoes at home with minimum special equipment. We began with a size 4 sole template, played around with a few design ideas, turned them into simple paper patterns and wrapped them around my foot to see what they'd look like. Soooo much simpler than pattern drafting for dressmaking! Next we transferred the shape to leather, drawing around the pattern with a biro pen and cutting out with regular scissors - Amanda uses tools that people have at home where possible. We hammered some holes out of the soles for the straps to pass through, and assembled all the pieces with glue. Ahh... the glue... deliciously thick and gooey neoprene-based adhesive - or "liquid wetsuit", as Amanda put it. It looked like Gremlin gunk and was a JOY to play with.



It really was one of the best days I've had in a while. It was so much fun to go in totally clueless, to have no idea what I was doing, discover that it isn't so difficult after all, and walk out with a pair of sandals that are totally unique, that fit me perfectly and that I absolutely LOVE. I made a few novice mistakes - such as forgetting to cut straps for the second shoe, doh! But it was all part of the experience, and I left feeling sooooo pleased with myself, with the same feeling of empowerment I felt when I first learnt to sew. Remember that feeling?


Thank you so much to Amanda for a fab afternoon, for patience while I spent about an hour deciding the order of the coloured straps, for the laughs, and for sanding down my rubbish leather cutting. Oh, and for making shoe-making so easy!

If you want to exclaim, "I can make shoes!" too, check out the awesome workshops in Hackney and e-books they offer. I'd highly recommend the sandals as an introduction for beginners. I'm seriously considering buying some liquid wetsuit and making a few more pairs.


Next I just need to learn to make brassieres, then I can have a whole handmade outfit...

[Soundtrack: 'New Shoes' by Paolo Nutini]

52 comments:

  1. OMG they look soooooo cool!

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  2. OMG, so jealous, I may have to have a go! My feet are so small I can't get shoes easily and the idea of having shoes that fit properly is amazing!!!

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  3. So cool! Sounds like a brand new hobby I could go overboard with. :-)

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  4. Oh my! These look epic. Love the choice of colours.

    May just have to add cobbling to my list of skills to learn :)

    x Elena
    www.randomlyhappyblog.com

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  5. Incredible! This is so inspiring! You design is so summery and fresh! Do you take orders? ;)

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  6. They are wonderful, love the colours too.

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  7. I dream of making shoes! In fact I dedicated quite a bit of time watching youtube vids about it. I am going to take a look at these ebooks. So lovely! And I have so much leather, eeeee!

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  8. Your sandals are brilliant!! I am very jealous, because like Bambinolove Sews, I have stupidly small feet, and getting shoes is a nightmare.

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  9. Well aren't they just brilliant. I am too far away but I would be there in a shot! I am sewing from 'Ottobre' at the moment check out here http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk Jo x

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  10. The color's that you chose for the straps are so cute - congratulations on your new sandals :-)

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  11. Awesome!! The sandals are so cute! I've been wanting to try my hand at making shoes for several years but haven't really set my mind to it yet. I even have a book and the materials to make my own lasts. I'd love to be able to take a shoe-making course to dip my feet in. I guess I'll have to plan a trip to London. ;)

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  12. Those are so pretty! Completely in lust with them now...

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  13. Amanda- this is a gorgeous idea and I hope it works well for you. I live too far away but I certainly hope any publicity this article can give you will help.
    Thanks Tilly for sharing your experience with us. Get knicker making too as I've seen lots of lovely ones recently and babies nappy covers - oh too sweet! :-) Not that I or you need them but hell, who needs a practical reason to make pretty stuff?! :-)

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  14. Wow! I wish I knew how to make shoes. That looks like so much fun!
    Lauren x

    lollipopsanddewdrops.blogspot.com

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  15. Tilly these are just so cool and it looks as if you had fun too - would love to have a go myself if I lived nearer - oh I wished I lived in London! Another super post, thanks Tilly
    Lots of love
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  16. What a reallyyyy cool thing to learn! I've always wanted to make my own shoes :) They look adorable!

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  17. perfectly fitting shoes would be wonderful. Have been wanting to get into London to take a workshop on this but it tough finding the time.

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  18. Heavy sigh...and now she makes her own shoes.... and with those straps...and no I'm not jealous,just envious!
    Good work

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  19. Wow! What an exciting workshop. Love the colours you chose, very summery. :)

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  20. Oh wow! I always wish I could make shoes to finish my handmade outfits and now I can!.I will definitely be getting myself on one of these workshops!

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  21. OMG, so cool, I have to do this! Gorgie colours btw, love the splash of neon :)
    Em x

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  22. That is SO COOL! I love your color choices - so jealous that you have a local shoe making class! Can't wait to see them styled with one of your gorgeous handmade outfits :)

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  23. I want to do this so bad! She should really do a Craftsy type course. I was scheming this into my imaginary trip to London that I'm going to take one day but I'm afraid at this rate it's never going to happen :(

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  24. Lovely shoes! I'm jealous, I want to do it too.
    Kathy

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  25. Wow, how fantastic. They are lovely shoes too. I have such a hard time finding green summer sandals I need to keep an eye out here!!

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  26. Ooooooohhh! I want to make shoes too! These are adorable and perfect for summer!

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  27. Your shoes look amazing! Did you choose the colors with a certain dress/outfit in mind? Otherwise, I am sure they go with everything!

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  28. Hi Tilly, amazing shoes - what an great skill to learn - on another subject I have just made your Mathilde blouse and I am so please with it I wanted to share with you
    http://pinterest.com/pin/234398355578912880/
    I will definitely be making another one. Jeannie x

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    1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing your photos.

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  29. Ooh you're so lucky! Maybe this is how I can finally get a reproduction of my favorite sandals someday.
    Although I am a little worried that it appears you gals weren't wearing respirators! They didn't talk about much on safety on the Renia adhesive site, except about how they try not to use as toxic materials, but having worked in shoe repair, I know "shoe glue" is generally really bad to breathe in. Just hope you are safe!

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  30. WOW. - I love love love these shoes! & your blog for that matter!

    http://leexplorer.blogspot.co.uk

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  31. Wow! This is so cool! The colours are amazing and that feeling of making your entire outfit must be thrilling. What's next? Hat? Handbag?

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  32. Well done. Sewing with leather is easirr than everyone thinks. I started with leather and I am now planning my new leather biker jacket. Just started dress making but would rather make it up as I go along than follow instructions from a pre made pattern as there is more of a buzz when its finished.

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  33. but where do you find the glue?

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    1. B&q sell it just get one without rubber in as this dries and cracks.

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  34. Amazing!! I have been wanting to try this for a few years, but was intimidated. This is great inspiration!

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  35. I love your sandals. Well done!

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  36. You picked a great colour combo and style. I've been wanting to learn some leatherwork for a while now, and am happy to say I convinced my London-dwelling sister to come on this course with me - hooray!

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  37. Awesome skills!! What empowerment making your own shoes. I'm feeling your joy and would love to have a go myself too....but that could be soooo dangerous. My shoe love has to be kept under strict control...if I could make them, I don't think I could control myself and I'd end up with shoes everywhere!

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  38. Very, very impressive and they look so comfy!

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  39. Wow! It never occurred to me that it wasa even passible to make your own shoes or sandals. But now that I know it is a possibility, I soooo want to try it some time!
    And yours look so nice by the way!

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  40. Wow! This is so cool! Your shoes are CUTE! Now I'm off to see if there are shoemaking workshops in NYC!

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  41. that is so cool! And the shoes are very pretty!

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  42. Wow! This is fantastic. I am really interested in making sandals & slippers and I am so glad to see this tutorial.

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  43. Hi Tilly, how can I get train please? What type of leather did you use for the strap. Thanks

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