Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shoe Making: Men's Practise Derby V1

After getting home from my Carreducker's pattern making workshop I decided to put the whole system to work ASAP.

I have an old pair of lasts that I have modified to fit me and so started from page one of the course book that Jesse made for us.

The initial drape form required a "spring" in the joint area and the tracing paper worked very well.
The full set of forme, master, outer, and lining patterns. It is a lot to take in and the book indispensable, having been trained as a Auto Body draftsman from back in the "board days" it was so much fun (and a little strange) to get back to drafting.
FYI, there are two types of drafting: one where the picture of the object is mostly reference and the dimensions are the absolute part of the draft (Machine drafting,) the other is Body drafting where the line is the absolute and there are very few dimensions. Pattern drafting for shoes is of the later; there are small critical modifications, and the smooth, beautiful, and sensuous curves you are drawing will be what you end up making.
In preparation for the next day I put the over-sized mid-soles on and wrapped them for over night forming.
Closed linings I used the "round the heel" style lap seam to offset that stitching from the outer heel stitching. I like to use a ZZ stitch for the sides; allows for stretch during lasting. And I mistakenly stitched down the little tabs at the front of the facings; I had no idea hoe it was to fit together at that moment.
I decided to go with a hem all around certainly good practice but not worth it on a V1 practice piece. I put my top line tape in this pattern as an experiment, the jury is still out.
Closed outer ready to be combined with lining. The order of assembly is tricky and so I tried it both ways; sew the heel 1st and then along the sides of the vamp, vs sew each quarter to the vamp and sew the heel last. I think sew the heel last is the way to go.
1st form over night form lasting, my tendency is to treat this lasting too seriously; it's really about getting the leather to know where its headed and not about any finish perfection. Using the air stapler at this phase it is important to stay away form the edges where you will want to have good clean edges for the final lasting tomorrow.
Final lasting allows for a nice row of staples near the feather edge.
Fully stitched around the edges, I had a hiccup with the 77 stitcher and had to get the book out to reset the needle height. Unlike most machines the needle height is completely adjustable and so can get pushed out of position.

These things are a disaster and will go straight into the garbage as soon as I have completed V2 (already in progress) and have learned all I can from them.

I did learn a lot from this exercise and V2 are looking much better.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shoe Making: Men's Sandal Development V2

My current obsession is Men,s sandals; I wear them all the time, winter in the house (with socks) summer all the time.I have made several attempts over the last few years and have slowly learned what is different about making a sandal vs. a fully closed shoe.
The primary difference (if you are going to last the sandal) is that the foot does not conform to the shape of the shoe as it does in all other types of closed shoes, it floats within the sandal ; you cannot constrain, constrict, or otherwise conform, the foot inside a sandal.

The Process:

For V2 I started with adjusting the last length to increase the toe room but most importantly I added 0.12" on the sole (because I use a neoprene insole, liner, or sock) and I widened the heel 0.25" per side.This in the normal world of last modifications would be unheard of but we have to remember that a last is a form that makes a good shoe not a sculpture of a foot.

I use leather and skive it, rough up the last, and use Gorilla glue to attach it. This is a time consuming project requiring planning and overnight dry time.
Several things make this process effective:

  1. I use a clamp to hold the thick leather so I can skive it dry (although it could be done wet)
  2. I use Stretch tape to compress the change onto the last while the glue drys
  3. The next day I use a pattern transfer tool to make the two lasts the same

I had a new design in my head so I went directly to tape. The themes that interests me most are sandals that cover the majority of the foot (?) I like the most closed style of sandal for daily use (not around the water) they provide the best comfort and lots of air!

So just to be clear; there are way more parts to coordinate then in a typical closed shoe, but as you will see the final "closed upper" look surprisingly familiar.

Although there are many parts, keeping each strap assembly together for the patterns works better than separating every piece.

Each piece has hem & lasting allowances added and the combined strap patterns end up being the lining patterns, there are fewer lining parts than show side parts.

After several hours of skiving I use 3M 2 sided tape # _______ for both the hem and to attach the linings before sewing. The common complaint about 2 side tape is the affect on the sewing machine needle, it is critical to use the thinnest tape meaning the glue is as physically thin as possible thats why I use the # _____. Also it is not a burden to clean the needle with goo gone once each session and I have had good results with Sew-Ease.

To the shoe maker these completed "closed" uppers look like what we expect, just in a few more parts.

Because parts of the insole are visible thru the openings the edges have to be finished. Also each of the straps that are lasted over the edges require offsets and channels cut into the insole before edge wrapping. 

Fully lasted with air stapler.

Stitched all around with the McKay 77 for security.

In order to get a tight fitting ground edge on the Vibram out sole I created an over-sized assembly of one layer 10 oz. one layer of Vibram, and one heel riser. I glued them together and clamped them to the lasts overnight. 

Hard to see but they have been ground to match perfectly and the interesting accident is how the leather peels up as it is ground so you have a lip to cover gaps!

The last step is glue the fitted out-soles to the lasted uppers. Here you can see my patented Best Ever clamping solution; Stretch Tape. Stretch tape is cheap and the amount of evenly distributed pressure that can be applied can only be matched by a machine that I don't figure on getting anytime soon.

To Be Continued: