Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 13 October 2017

Intensive shoemaking course - week 2

Last day under James' watchful eye.

Welcome back good shoe folk of the world! Here's the second post about our intensive shoemaking students, a stalwart group of guys and gals aged mid 20s to early 60s for whom this has been their first time making shoes by hand!

Unsurprisingly there have been sore hands, sore backs, sore knees, sore almost everything...with one exception, Travers, who has smiled through....until Wednesday that is, when heel building got the better of him. Thankfully he's back on form today 😃 

But if you were ever in any doubt about how intensive the intensive course is...there's a clue! 

This week the group have stitched soles,

Jodie - "squeeze with the knees!"

...shaped sole edges,

...built heels,

Miya pull skiving the split lift edges

Travers paring in the 'teeth' in the split lift

...shaped heels,

Peening the heel layers

Cutting the heel breast

...and begun finishing.

Bob rasping the heels

Matt rasping his heels

Leaning forward and in 

Miya rasping the heel breast

With 24 hours to go we'll show you the results next week. Wish them straight edges and smooth soles and until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 6 October 2017

An International October Intensive Course

Welcome back good shoemaking folk and HUGE apologies for the blogging break...there's just been too much going on!

Anyway, we're back into the flow and mid way through the autumn intensive course with students from the UK, South Korea, Singapore, the USA and Spain.  Here's our photo diary of the group in action. 

From size 3 to a size 11

Settling in to the class rhythm

Bob appreciating the joys of 'skiving'

Getting ready to block the insole

Jodie blocking the insole

A wide range of sizes

Matt shaping his insole waist

De-fluffing ready to prepare the holdfast

The holdfast prepared

Skiving the surface smooth to create a smooth entry for the awl

Travers preparing his holdfast

At last, lasting!

Matt and Bruno lasting the toe and trimming the excess of the upper

Matt lasting

Bruno trimming

Jodie and Miya lasting their uppers at the toe
Welting gets under way on the first shoe

...and then the second

Travers welting up around the toe and down the other side
The photos don't really do justice to just how hard everyone has worked this week and we'll be sharing more of the group's journey next week. Until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Shoemaking School - 10 years on

Welcome back good shoe folk of the world.

We had a lovely party on Wednesday night  celebrating 10 years of the Shoemaking School. We were so busy chatting and drinking that we didn't take any pics - sorry!

New York 2012

It was great to welcome new students joining us this and next term, to catch up with past students and to welcome our new Intermediate Evening Class tutor to the London team.

We reckon we have taught over 250 students over the years, here in London with Fiona and Alistair and with Jesse and Marika in New York.

London 2015

We're proud that the courses have proved so pivotal for so many people, spurring them on to realise their own ambitions, to take the plunge and change career, to simply give themselves a fresh challenge and to  continue shoemaking.

Our alumni include:

Alistair Raphael who has just finished his apprenticeship with us

Jesse Moore who co-founded  Brooklyn Bespoke and has relocated to Catskill to run her own shoe shop and studio.

Marika Verploegh Chassé, footwear lecturer at RISD and FIT. Also runs her own bespoke shoe company Stiefelwerk in Brooklyn

Kevin Rowley who founded children's shoe company, The Little Shoemaker, along with the 'elves' on the south coast

Tom Murphy who founded Chapter 2 shoes amongst other things

George Georgiou who runs our favourite repair shop in London, George Shoe Repairs

Ved Dhadphale who runs sneaker brand SVED

Frances Tobin who founded The Maker's Atelier which sells clothing patterns and making kits, very chic

Nicole Everett who has launched her own label "Shoes of EVRT"

Seiji McCarthy who runs his own shoemaking business in Japan

Nathan Baxter who runs a high end repair shop in Sydney, Baxter and Black

Michelle Quick who lectures in shoemaking in Savannah, Georgia (not strictly an alumnus but we mentored her while at Cordwainers in London)

We know a lot of our students make shoes in their spare time which is quite an undertaking. If we've missed anybody out, we apologise, memory not what it used to be! If you have studied with us and are making shoes, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.

This week we also finished a one to one course with the lovely Zada Ong from the Philippines. She was a great student and made a pair of shoes to be proud of.

Here's a pic of the finished shoes - nice job!

And that is it for this week. Have a great week and see you next time. Until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Win a Tor Boot

Welcome back shoe fans of the world. Forgive us, but this week's post is a blatant plug. We're excited to have reached our Kickstarter campaign target, BUT we'd love to have an even bigger order book. 

The campaign ends on 25th September so there's still plenty of time to grab a bargain
If someone backs us on Kickstarter...
  • They get to pre-order their boots for delivery January 2018 onwards
  • In a size and colour they want (don't worry, we will exchange boot sizes if necessary)
  • At great prices from £225 (the boots go on sale next year for £450).
Now here's where you could help AND be in with the chance to WIN a pair of Tor Boots.

Simply share the campaign via social media AND mention us, so we know that you've shared: Facebook @carreducker; Twitter @bespokeshoe and Instagram @carreducker or #carreducker

...and we'll enter your name into a draw which will take place on 25th. The first name out of the hat will win a pair of Tor boots in a size and colour of their choice.

Many many thanks for your support. We're back to regular shoemaking news next week, we promise. Until then, happy shoemaking!

Standard UK prize draw rules apply:
  • Entry to the competition is restricted to one entry per person
  • The closing date is 8.00am UK time on Monday 25th September 2017
  • Entrants must be 18 years of age or over
  • One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
  • We will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent
  • The draw is final and no correspondence will be entered into
  • There is no cash alternative
  • Members of the organiser's family are excluded from participating in the draw

Friday, 1 September 2017

Tor Boots are go!

Welcome back dear shoe folk, it may be mayhem with the Tor Boot campaign on social media but all is calm here in the workshop.

Zada joined us earlier in the week for some one-to-one shoemaking and got straight down to it despite a 7am arrival after a lengthy flight from Manilla via Hong Kong. There's true dedication!

James has been making alongside her...finally finishing the show pieces that we shoed at London Craft Week. They were in a very deconstructed state back then!

We thinking they are shaping up to be a really elegant pair of handsewn shoes.

Some great news....we hit our Kickstarter target in a record six days, so the Tor boot is going into production. And there are still great early bird rewards to be had - vastly reduced priced boots - so please do share the campaign far and wide - especially to friends in colder climates - and pledge if you fancy a pair!

We celebrated this afternoon in true Carreducker style with much mirth and a little jig!

That's all from us for now. Until next week, happy shoemaking!