Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Boot Making: BOG Version 1 (Last taping, Pattern development, Clicking, Closing, and Lasting)

The Boots on the Ground (BOG) team Headed by Jarret Schlaff contacted me a few months ago for help with making a sample of the boot they are working on.
With an excellent theme envisioned by Steve Schock (Proff, CCS) I developed a full set of patterns and the finished boot.
The process:

Getting from the sketch to a full set of flat patterns requires hours of development starting with taping the last.

This last is a size 11 from J&V.
There is a lot to know about lasts, this one was ordered for use as a boot last and as you can see does not provide any guidance above the ankle.
I added this hand made extension to the top for the purpose of pattern making only. Combining new and old tech, in the future we could scan this last, design an exact matching extension in CAD and use a 3d printer to create it.

I use masking tape and striping tape to get the basic proportions started.
The 1st iteration of the primary parts as they fall on the surface. As any one who has tried to create proper curves over a three dimensional surface can tell you; a line that appears straight may be curved and vice versa.

I carefully remove the tape from the outside and press it onto a sheet of paper. This is a tricky process because the tape will not lie flat and has to be coaxed and pulled in the correct places to get it to lie in a usable manner.
The 1st step is to start making "compensations" in the pattern so that the flat part will match the curved form as close as possible.
Above and below are the completely adjusted Master Forme and the Drape form, I make a "Drape," from tracing paper. The process of getting the Drape and the Master to work as well as possible takes me about 4 or 5 tries. Each time both the design and the Master are adjusted until each are beautiful.

This is only the 1st half of the pattern making process.

The next step is to create the patterns for all the pieces.This is done by 1st making an overall draft.
The back strap required tipping and schmoozing to get a workable piece.
In addition to the part break-up, I add all of the seam allowances, the tongue (straightened out,) the lasting allowance (on the bottom,) and the the two part lining, all on the same draft. I use different colors of pencil to designate the different parts. Yes it is confusing but looks exactly like an old 2d Body Draft from when I started in Body drafting (on the board) back in the 80's.
And yes to answer your question; this is done on computer in a production environment but the software is very expensive so no one but the big shops can justify it.
 A close up of the side panels. I make 8, 11 x 17 copies of the final draft and (secret method) tape the local areas with clear packing tape before cutting out each piece.
The final cut patterns, and drape are marked and stored together in a file.

The next part of the process is called "Clicking." Clicking is the process of marking and cutting out the leather.
 Depending on the color and or part you are working on you can mark the A side or the B side of the leather.
Now cut out all the parts.

Next comes "Closing." Closing is the process of sewing all the parts together before Lasting.

All of the part are carefully aligned and sewn. Edges are skived where necessary, thread choices are made and using your post bed - wheel feed sewing machine the closing begins.
The lining goes thru the same process.
The two pieces are interwoven and stitched together to form the complete Closed upper ready for lasting.

"Lasting" is the process of stretching the Closed upper over the Last.
The Closed upper has been pre-lasted and set aside till the next day. Pulling on each side then turning it over to see the alignment should be done with care and patience; pulling the Upper out of position is very easy and undoing it is very hard.

This boot is of course a "Sample" and not the finished design, but represents what we can do right here in Detroit.