Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finally, they're starting to look like shoes

I don't know yet if it's just this particular pair of shoes - the suede I chose is a little heavier than the kangaroo leather I'll mostly be working with in the future - but my sewing machine did not like sewing the lining to the outer suede.  Even with a walking foot, it did a really shitty job of keeping tension.  Since these shoes are for me, and they're sort of an experiment/learning experience all around, I kept the mostly-ok bits, and hand-sewed the rest.  Ugh.  
Then, trimmed off the excess lining material.

A couple of things had to happen before I could start lasting.  For starters, my home-made ghetto lasting stand was too tall.  So I had to unscrew the steel pipe, and take it out to the garage, and cut about 8 inches off it.  Now, when I put the last on the stand, I can brace it with my knee. 

Also, I made sure to test the hinges - to make sure that the glued-on modifications I made to the last wouldn't make it impossible to get the shoe off once it's done.

Then, I had to drive to Fred Meyer.  Because it turns out I don't have an old bottle of baby powder in the bathroom.  I didn't even know where they kept the baby powder at the store - I had to ask. 

Also, I'm going to be adding a 1/4" thick comfort insole into the bottom of these shoes, so I grabbed some fun foam sheets, glued them together (to get approximately 1/4" thickness) and cut out some insole shapes, so that the final shoe will have enough room in it to slip in the blue comfort foam.  I put the last on the stand, put the fun foam on the sole, and then the insole I made previously.  Nailed it on with three nails, positioned toward the middle, where I'll be able to get them out again after the shoe is lasted.

So - under normal circumstances, you'd powder the inside of the upper liberally with baby powder, to help get the shoe off the last when you're all done.  Because I'm working with suede, and it's a flat (which means it'll be easier to get it off the last anyway), I powdered the last, rather than the leather.

Then the nailing begins!  My lasting pliers are a little large - I may eventually invest in a second pair with more pointy grippers. 

After it was all nailed down, I sprayed it liberally with shoe stretch - I'm hoping that as it dries, it'll form a bit into this shape.  The next step (probably tomorrow) is to carefully take out the nails, and glue down just the lining to the insole, all the way around. 

Both shoes are at this stage - and they're sort of looking like shoes!  That's kind of exciting.  I started making the toggles that will hold those two straps down.  There are still a couple of different ways that could all shake out, and I'm not sure which way I want to go with that.