Upper Making Tutotial 1. – Derby Shoe I.


First things first – let’s check if we have everything. Pattern pieces – even we clicked the leather, we still need them for marking the overlaps, folding, etc.


This is the folding pattern. The folding pattern is shaped to the folded piece, so does not have the folding allowance on it. We use it for marking the line for the folding. We need to use something thin, preferable a silver pen, which is visible on everything and easy to remove.


Here is is. Please note the corner – this is the way we need to add the folding allowance on a corner, like this. There is a special gauge for this job, which makes it easy and unnecessary to create an extra pattern piece for this.


We are ready for the folding process. We are going to use a folding hammer and a topline tape.


Lay down the topline tape, right under the thin silver line. It will give a little extra room for the leather to fold to the right place.


Cutting some reliefs on the concave part is a good idea, which helps the work and make the result better. Cut only half way in and even distances apart – 2-2 mm.


Start a few centimeters away from the backline. It will be easy with the right tool and a little practice.


At the corners, we need to make little pleats, just like we would last a pointy toe.



The best and most precise way to make 2 pleats and then just continue “cut” them half as long as we can. It will result nice, even pleats, invisible from the other side and a precise folded edge.



Now it is time to reinforce the lacing holes. Tie a shoe is a lot of stretch to the leather, it must be carried with some reinforcement. I use a strong lining leather for this.


Time for assembly the backline.


We need to make sure they don’t slip away from each other and we manage to sew the same distance from both edges.



Now trim back the allowance. I use a clicking knife, but a pair of scissors give also a perfect result – I guess it is more like personal preference.


We need to finish the folding process. Don’t put it down to the table – it is a 3D surface, a flat table can result a poor looking edge.



Here is it. For the record: it is not a common way to finish a men shoe backseam, but as it is a casual shoe, I decided to use a little backstrap, which is also not common for men shoes.




Proper reinforcement is essential. For the backseam I used backline tape  for across, under the topline, reinforcement tape. (They are not the same, moreover very different – do not use backline tape instead of reinforcement one, as it can rip easily. It is just not for that job.)


Now, preparing the quarter lining. There are two basic ways. The first, when we just make a single cut on the bottom, like this. Easy, the result is pretty nice, a bit more difficult to last.


The other is like this – this is what we are going to follow.



We need to skive the edge a bit. Not that simple with that corner, but not too complicated. This is how it is gonna look like, after the skiving:



Backstitching is imperative here. Skipping that step means a ripped lining – just at the worst possible place.


Here is is, backstitched up and down. We trim the excess and use backline tape.


Gently hammering the seam with a folding hammer.

folding hammer2-800x800

Here is a folding hammer. Very handy, versatile tool, made from solid brass.



The seam from the inner side, which will be visible.


Now attach a little backstrap, making sure it will be symmetric.


Now we can attach the quarter lining to the quarters.




We sew the topline from corner to corner. The distance from the edge is up to our taste and preference.. and skills to be very honest. A seam gauge can help to draw the line – although a professional doesn’t use those for this.


This is the backstrap – time to get rid of the unnecessary part.



After cutting the trimming allowance off, we have the ready made quarters.






We can punch the eyelet holes and now it is time to assemble the vamp.


I use a water based glue, which lets me achieve strong bond only on one side, which is pretty cool. On the other hand it is extremely messy, so I would not suggest to use it for beginners. Rubber cement is just good.


The pieces are attached, there is a little trimming allowance. The tongue is not folded. It is also a personal choice by the way.


Note: I do not start the stitch at the corner.



Ready for trimming.



Here it is.


8 thoughts on “Upper Making Tutotial 1. – Derby Shoe I.

    1. I am a Nigerian that is blessed with the skill of making handmade
      shoes. Although i see my jobs as been good i still feel i need to
      learn more in other to expand my knowledge i write to your company
      requesting for an open contact so i can upgrade my knowledge thanks
      in anticipation

      1. Marcell tells me his sewing machine is an Adler 888 or an adler 4180, Marcell tells everyone that you are using leather, the thickness in millimeters, both of the upper and the lining, so the tutorial and more complete

      2. Marcell, I wanted to know your opinion on the forms for classic footwear for men, as I have to buy shapes, do I advise V or wedge shapes?

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