Monday, July 3, 2017

Scandanavian Turnshoes - a quickie

I backed the kickstarter for Jason Hovatter's instructional DVD to make scandanavian turnshoes.  (DVD is also available on Amazon.)

It was a quick project, and he says it all so much better, but here's a couple of pictures of the shoes I made following the instructions on the DVD:

Pretty comfortable, but I should add another layer of the goop sole for more cushioning.  The DVD is great - really easy to follow all the steps, and these went pretty quick.

Shoe School! Laughing Crowe and Internal Stitchdown

Finally - another shoe post!

In late April, I made it to Portland to study with Jason Hovatter at Laughing Crowe.  Jason does a variety of non-lasted shoe techniques, and is a real innovator and super nice guy.  I met him at the footwear makers' symposium last June, and was very excited to take his class.  Lucky me, nobody else signed up for that session, so I got a *private* class!

This is his own construction method, that he invented. Sort of like a stitchdown, it turns the upper to the inside, instead of the outside.  Here's what we did in class....

Casting the foot in duct tape, and drawing the design:

Making patterns: 

Cutting the insole and making channels for the stitching, and punching the stitchig holes themselves

Cutting, skiving, punching and sewing the uppers; adding reinforcement where needed:

Stitching the uppers to the insole:

At this point, the shoes were soaked in water and given some vigorous shaping, and put in a dehydrator to dry back out.  Then, I added a layer of foam, for cushion, and a purchased sole.  Those were then trimmed, and laces added.

These are pretty comfortable.  I think there's still room for tinkering, to get the super comfy walking shoe I'm looking for in the long run.  But these are a huge step in that direction!

Catching up - Beaded Collar Dress

I haven't posted in *forever*, largely because a home remodel project and a convention took over my free time for much of the last year.  However, I did make a dress:

It all started with a piece of fabric I didn't buy enough of on a trip to New York:

I only bought a yard and a half, although, it is very wide.  So to make that tiny bit of fabric into a dress that would fit me, I made a wide, beaded collar to take up some space.  I started with a mockup in muslin: 

Drew the pattern for the collar on paper, cut it out of complementary fabric, and attached fusible interfacing to the back side: 

I made good use of the temporary fabric pencils to draw the design onto the fabric, and beaded it.  This was the first bead embroidery I'd ever done.  I attended a workshop at Westercon given by Theresa Halbert, and was inspired:

Then it was just a question of sewing up the dress with the collar.  There is almost no scrap fabric on this dress - it's not particularly flattering, but it's very comfortable.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Bookmarking this link here, for the future:

Jelinek Cork - Shoe Wedges

They also sell blocks of cork, granulated cork, cork sheets....  with an online store.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tolkien-Inspired Briefcase

Kevin's Christmas present, given to him in early summer (oops!) was a new briefcase for work.  The nice one he got after law school was stolen out of his car several years ago, and Tandy had this kit on sale just before the holidays.

Being the giant Tolkien nerds that we are, and given my map fetish, I wanted to cover it with maps of Middle Earth.  Here's how I did that. 

First, draw out the designs you want on paper, actual size (and shape):

Then, case (use a sponge to dampen) the leather.  Lay the paper design on top, and trace (hard) with a stylus.  In this case, yeah - that's a *lot* of tracing.

I really struggled with the dye.  I wanted the design to pop out much more than it did.  As it is, you have to get close to see that it's covered with maps.  I'm still looking for a better solution to this problem. 

Then, it was just a question of following the instructions that came with the kit.  Sewing it all together, adding the provided hardware...  Not having to design it from the ground up was a luxury, but one I would only take advantage of if the price was right.  In this case, it was - the sale price was about half the standard retail price. 

Either way, Kevin loves his new briefcase, and has been using it for work all summer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Giant Squid Sandals

Specifically requested to go with a costume: 

Shannon wanted some sandals, like my purple octopus sandals, to wear with her Giant Squid costume at Norwescon.  We made a few key changes to the design - most importantly shortening the ankle strap, omitting the toe loop, and adding both an arch cookie and anchor straps at the back.

To give a bit of an idea of how the pattern comes together, we started by wrapping Shannon's foot in some quilters cotton I had laying around, then covered it with masking tape.  A sharpie made the design we wanted:

Which was used to make the paper pattern pieces.

We traced the sole of a pair of sandals she had (and liked the fit of) for the insole pattern.  The insole was cut from 7oz veg-tan leather.

And the straps from 3oz veg tan.  The straps were tooled, and holes punched for crystal rivets.  Turns out, Tandy was discontinuing the green crystals, so I had to get them shipped in from California.

All the pieces were dyed green.

And I gave Shannon the choice of three different buckles I had in stock:

 Here's how the pieces looked with the crystals, and slotted through the insoles.

At this point, we did a fitting.  I taped together the(undyed) insoles, green straps (cut extra long), arch cookies, soles, and heel lifts with masking tape to sort-of hold them all together, and she put them on.  That allowed us to adjust the placement of the cookie, adjust the straps for better fit, and cut the ankle straps to the correct length. 

For the soles, I used sole bend (very thick, hard leather - I cut it with my jig saw).  Made an arch cookie out of EVA foam, and inserted a thin foam layer as well.

Stitched the pieces of the straps together....

And put the tabs through the slots.


In the thin foam, I cut channels, so that the tabs wouldn't make bumps under the foot (as much). 

Then glued the upper to the sole.

The edge was pretty rough, but that was ok, since I was going to sand it smooth on my sander anyway.  Added a couple of heel lifts:

And made it all smooth and pretty, with the sander.

Dyed the insole and the sides of the soles, and we were done!