Archive for the ‘Tools and Techniques’ Category

Sewing the Treadsole of a Welted Shoe

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

I thought it might be illuminating to describe the manner in which I currently outsole a shoe, since I’ve recently started playing with a new technique and rather like the results. In two separate instances with two different and very knowledgeable individuals, I’ve had welted stitching described to me as “rice grains laying against each other,” or a similar variation thereof. As a result, I think I’m getting rather close to the ideal, as I hope the images will soon describe.

But, just to be sure that we’re on the same page, let’s first remind ourselves the construction of a welted shoe.

Currying Leather Properly…Part I

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

It’s been a while since I posted something on the topic of actual shoemaking rather than just showing off finished products, and we’re long overdue. I’m going to talk a bit about currying leather.

It’s not what you think – I’m not going to the Indian market to pick up the proper spices. Nor am I performing a mathematical transformation of a function with multiple arguments into a chain of functions, each with a single argument. In fact, the verb “to curry” is actually much older, and comes from the 13th century, from the Middle English currayen, from Anglo-French cunreier or correier, which was to prepare, curry, from Vulgar Latin conredare. It means to dress tanned hides by soaking, scraping, beating, etc. in order to make them supple and resistant to water. So, how does one do this, exactly? First, a history lesson…


Sewing the Heel Stiffener

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

I just posted a new tutorial on Sewing the Heel Stiffener. A very large percentage of historical shoes have some kind of heel stiffener in the quarters of the shoe. These stiffeners, usually a half-moon shaped piece of leather, were tacked in around the top edge and then caught into the lasting margin to keep the heel of the shoe in better shape. In earlier viking shoes, however, the sole actually extended past the back of the heel and up the quarters a little, negating the need for a stiffener. But for the majority of medieval shoes and shoes in the Renaissance, there was typically some kind of stiffener tacked in.

Grooving the Outsole

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

I just posted a new tutorial on Grooving the Outsole In early modern and modern welted shoes, the sewing that keeps the outsole attached to the welt is sunk into a groove on the underside of the outsole. This tutorial will hopefully help to illustrate the process I use to determine with the groove ought to lie.