Pattern Making – Derby II.

Here we go – let’s turn that meanform to a pattern pieces. I believe the photos tell the whole story, just to remind you  for the allowances you need to use:

folding: 5 mm
trimming: 3 mm
overlap (upper): 6-12 (thinner needs less)
reverse seam: 2-3 mm

And the photos (and this time we can say thanks to my wonderful student, Mary – thanks!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pattern Construction – Derby I.

Let’s start to make some more difficult patterns – a derby this time.

What we have to know about a derby shoe?

– Casual and not a dress shoe, so a real gentleman would’t wear it at evening.

– relatively easy to find the lines – as this is the school-example for the pattern guidelines – but not easy to find the right proportions.

– it can open wide, so the one most used construction for comfort shoes.

– still holds the foot well, and can fit a wide range of foot.

After this let’s jump to the middle. I enclosed a gallery – the photos made in the classroom by on of my student, Mary – so I believe you can pretty much learn the steps (if you have any idea, what happens there). This time let’s just get until the mean form, then we continue next time with the pieces.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Flip – Flop Tutorial

OK, I won’t post a lot of pictures this time, but I believe this will not going to be that difficult. Usually I teach a flip-flop making for to make students understand about the cemented construction, and how to get the product from scratch to finish.

Step 1. – pattern

Flip-flop is most probably the easiest pattern you will ever meet. A simple footprint to start – you need to make it slightly longer and a lot wider. Upper pattern – that is also not difficult. If you don’t know how to make it – just copy an old piece and tune it up a bit.

Step 2 – materials

Choose something heavier for upper – the same can be the insole lining as well. For midsole I would suggest a 2,5-3,5 mm thick veg tan leather, sole can be leather or rubber. Maybe rubber is better this time.

Step 3 – Asembly

Cut the materials to the right shape, which means insole lining should be a 3 mm bigger, midsole should exact. Glue them together and cut off the extra from the insole. Adjust the size of the upper on your own foot (do not make it tight, it is not an oxford), and mark the right place on the upper. Now you just need to glue the upper to the insole + midsole combo and put the sole on. You are done.

Step 4 – make it personal

Use your mind to be creative, paint, use crystals, metal stuff and don’t worry if it not perfect – the next one will be better.

Step 5 – Post the result to “shoemaker’s community” on Facebook ( (and feel free to join to it)


ps. no, your are not a shoemaker yet, but I am sure you are on the way.


Some old story

1945 WWII. A middle age bootmaker somewhere close to the front lines in a workshop. The workshop is tiny, but practical – a table for clicking, a small chair and a small table to work on the officer’s boots. The masters name Szabo Geza, he is a good and relatively famous bookmaker in his town neighborhood. Just a the highest peek of his carrier he has been called to pay his duty in the army – making and fixing boots for the officers. In that day a couple visits him, running away from a starting bomb attack, searching for a shelter. During these bombings the normal process is hiding under a strong table – as there is place only for two under the table, Geza offer this to the couple, trust in his luck. That wasn’t his lucky day. A bomb hit close, so the building collapsed. The couple survived he hasn’t.

Weeks later a package arrived home with his wooden luggage, with his tools inside. Some old stuff, needles, a hammer head, some threads and pegs, nails. That is how much left from a talented craftsman. I heard a story from my beloved grandmother. Geza was her brother.

Now that luggage is in my workshop, just aside my table, with all belonging it has arrived back, 67 years ago, reminding me, that I have to put something into my luggage, before my time will come. That should be the craft I learned – making shoes.