Let’s go back to professional details… sole stitching. This is the most challenging area for us, shoemakers. Those few, who mastered it in a level, which doesn’t even seem like real – well… they don’t share much. You can’t blame them. The fine sole stitching is a hard to earn skill and it costs, years, traveling, courses, experimenting – you just don’t spit it out for a casual “how did you do this?” comment.
Here is a couple of idea to learn this skill.
Welting. This is where it starts. Without a pretty good, straight welting and very importantly – excellent quality welt – you do what you want. The top of the welt will be sloppy and will not hold the shape. Those welts are expensive, you are looking for 7-8+ USD/meter. The welting should be nice and flat, flash to the feather edge and that feather edge should be really, really sharp to compliment the straight line of stitches.
This is probably the most crucial thing. You can use an accent color, which can emphasize the perfect, straight line – or put the maker to shame if it is not that straight. Using black on black or brown on brown – or generally: matching colors – can hide minor mistakes. What you cant hide, is the stitch mark. Let’s just straight thing out – a fudge wheel only is not quite enough. You need to make those marks a lot deeper if you want to make them look all right.
Another detail, which can cause problems – the width of the welt. You don’t need a very wide one. The wider the welt, marking those stitches gets exponentially more difficult. Stick to 4-5 mm, that will be fine. All of those old shoes you can see in museums or private collection – they have thin, very narrow welts. That saves you a lot of headache.
Finally finishing it – that is another crucial detail. You need the right edge iron, you can’t do it any other way to look all right. This picture shows the welt after dying it and before the final edge ironing.