Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 18 May 2018

One to One Shoe Making Training

One more time, we welcome you to our blog and hope that you have had a great week

After an amazing London Craft Week last week, we have returned to the workshop and started the week with a new one to one student, Marion, who will be here with us over the next two weeks to hand stitch a pair of shoes with us.
She did the degree in footwear at de Montfort University but wanted more knowledge of hand skills, so she turned to Carreducker

We take quite a few one to one students through the year and they come to us from anything from two weeks to a whole year. We also tailor their timetable to suit their lives, so they might come every day; one or more days per week; or some other combination. For example, we have a Korean shoemaker, Jove, who comes to us three afternoons per week for six months
They come from all sorts of backgrounds and countries and have very different levels of experience, from complete beginners to more experienced shoemakers.

Marion started the week with preparing the insole. Here it is soaked and the blocking process is beginning.

Next she let it dry and carved the holdfast/feather with her knife and made holes with her awl.

Next came lasting - skiving the puffs and stiffs, lasting the forepart; lasting the heel; lasting the forepart lining and toe puff; and finally shaping the puffs.

And she finished the week with welting which she thoroughly enjoyed - "I could do this all day". That's lucky because that is exactly what she has done today.

One shoe with the welting finished. She will finish the other one over the weekend.

One to one training is a fantastic way to learn. It is tailored to you and you can decide what to learn, from the basics of hand welting to a bevelled waist or storm welt. We are at your service!

We also offer much shorter spells to learn specific skills called masterclasses. These are aimed at more experienced shoemakers who want to learn a new technique.

So whether you are a complete beginner looking to make your first pair of hand welted shoes or a seasoned pro who wants to add another string to your bow, Carreducker can help. All you need to do is ask -

And that is it for this week. Until next time, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Carreducker Shoemaking School, the Launch

Hello once more, dear shoemaking folk f the world. Welcome back to the Carreducker blog, we hope you have had a good week

We have had a very busy week with London Craft Week, we had an event every day. Although, as you will see, things did not quite pan out as we had planned

The week started on Tuesday with a visit to Number 10 Downing St after an invitation from The Prime Minister to a drinks reception to celebrate the UK creative industries. We were there with a small display of bespoke shoes and a short demonstration of hand welting.
It was a great boost to be invited and we got to meet Theresa may briefly as she made the rounds to see all the amazing craft works on show.

Unfortunately they take your mobile phone from you so we were limited to a few official snaps

Wednesday saw us scheduled to speak at an event at the Leathersellers Hall organised by Cockpit Arts called Makers Stories - Live where they paired up craftsmen with other significant people in their professional lives. We were paired with the amazing Bill Amberg of Bill Amberg Studio who specialises in all things leather - interiors, accessories, furniture - the list is long.
The idea was that we shared our experiences of our professional interaction over the years - mentoring, support, information, introductions, inspiration etc and how this has helped our businesses grow and thrive.

This is where the week took a funny turn and we had to start improvising. On my way to the venue, I was knocked off my bike and broke my little finger which meant that I obviously couldn't go!

Unhappy shoemaker

Luckily Deborah and Bill, being consummate professionals, went on and carried the day. Apparently it was very interesting and well received, so thank you to the two of them for saving the day.

Courtesy of David Mirzoeff

This slight hitch meant that our plans for Thursday were also thrown out. I was supposed to be demonstrating at James Purdey And Son on South Audley Street in Mayfair to showcase the bespoke service which we offer there and Deborah was supposed to be preparing for our open day at the new carreducker Shoe Making School the following day. Obviously this was not possible so we reversed roles and Deborah made a great success of her day at Purdey where she described our wonderful craft; showed her hand welting skills and answered the questions of the curious public. Again, well done and thank you to her for saving the day!

I mopped floors, cleaned windows and filled the fridge with bubbly - the glamour! And with one hand.

And so to Friday and the official launch of our new shoe making school. We are super excited about this project and were thrilled to welcome people through the doors to see the place - finally!

We were open from 11am and had a steady stream of visitors through the day including students past and present, fellow tutors, friends and supporters of the business

Prestat Chocolates very kindly supplied us with a supply of delicious truffles, so a massive thank you to them.

Prestat Chocolates, yum, perfect for the Chocolate Studios

We showed our Design Museum film - thank you to Camilla Corr for your help.

Bill Amberg assessing the amazing student work on show

More Prestat chocs - yum!

And gorgeous George was suitably impressed

Several happy customers came in Carreducker boots to celebrate- we ,love you all!

The Barkan Family

 We had a display of the new courses we will be running including three small leather accessories - an iPad case, card case and key fob. These will be short Saturday courses, perfect for a taster of hand stitching.

And the 5 new styles available on our one day Blake stitched course in the five new colours - stylish. This will be a one day course and you will have a beautiful pair of leather shoes at the end of it. Roll up, roll up!

And at the far end of our beautiful new table, a selection of students past and present's shoes they have made with us - a very impressive display of handsewn shoe making.

And then from 6pm onwards we had a party! Yay. And it was awesome.

It was so lovely to have so many people share the new school with us and share in our exciting new venture. The place was buzzing.

And I think the school exceeded peoples' expectations which is always good. Guests said what a warm, inviting feel it had, but also how luxurious and professional it looked. Glowing I think you could call the feedback! And you can't argue with that.

We wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who came and to say what a thrill it was to have you there, to have the school full of people and to share our excitement with you. Long may it continue.

And so we are up and running. The new website will be live soon and you will be able to book the new classes we will be holding in the new school

Deborah and I can't wait to welcome you through the door

See you soon, guys

And until we meet you face to face, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Catskill NY Pattern Making Class and London Craft Week

Hello once more, gentle shoe folk of the world. We hope you have had a wonderful week and are looking forward to London Craft Week next week.

We are involved in four events during the week, culminating with the open day and launch party for our new Carreducker Shoe Making School in Shoreditch, London next Friday the 11th of May

The week starts with a bang on Tuesday with a drinks reception at Number 10 Downing St, hosted by the Prime Minister herself. We will be demonstrating shoemaking and displaying our bespoke shoes. Very exciting!

Wednesday sees us participating in a discussion session about the relationships between creatives and their mentors at the Leathersellers Hall in the City called Makers Stories Live. It is a free event and should be lively and interesting - and the Leathersellers Hall is an amazing venue, worth a visit in its own right

Thursday will see us demonstrating hand welting at James Purdey and Son Ltd on South Audley St in Mayfair. We have 3 time slots (11.00, 15.00 and 18.00) when we will be talking about handsewn shoe making and doing a few stitches. Come along and say hi if you are in the area

And then on Friday the 11th we will be hosting the open day and launch drinks at our new school in Shoreditch. We are both super excited about it and can't wait to start teaching classes there - watch this space!

This week also saw our Pattern Making For Bespoke Shoes class take place at the new venue in Catskill, NY.

Jesse Moore was the tutor and, having moved to Catskill from Williamsberg in Brooklyn to a beautiful art deco shop, it seemed a great idea to move the classes there to give a more rural feel to the week.

And to show curious neighbours what goes on in her shop, she put the daily progress in the window

So day 1 was about the basics of pattern making to set them up for  the rest of the week.

Getting started with some basics

She guided the students through the core skills of pattern making - taping the last, making a forme etc

And then went on to make several classic styles including the Oxford, the Derby, and a loafer.

Getting to grips with an Oxford pattern

She said the students were super able and fast and so they covered more than expected which is great. Well done guys!

Chelsea boot pattern, that's a first!

The last couple of days have been spent doing the Clicking and Closing Course, but more of that at another time.

So, if you are in the UK, we hope you enjoy the bank holiday and if not, then have a fabulous weekend. Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Student Shoes

Hello once more, old friends and new, we hope you have had a great week

We are in the middle of the great fit out of our new shoe making school at the Chocolate Studios in Shoreditch. Things are developing well in time for the launch on the 11th of May

Our Pattern Making Course in Catskill, New York also started yesterday to  great success. The tutor, Jesse Moore has put an amazing display in her shop window to chart the progress

We will cover more of this next week, along with the Clicking and Closing Class which runs right after.

As part of the launch at Chocolate Studios, we will display some previous students' work to showcase the work we do at the Carreducker Shoemaking School and we thought we would show you some of the shoes that will be there as a little taster.

Most of these shoes are all made by students on our Intermediate Evening Class which runs on a Tuesday evening throughout the year. This class is for students who have completed at least one pair of shoes and who want to continue with this fantastic craft - once you start, it's hard to stop!

First up is a current one to one student from Korea, Jong Oh, who is here with us for six months to learn as many hand stitching skills as possible. This is a great way to kickstart your shoe making career or learn the various constructions that we can teach.

This is his second shoe and we hope you agree that he has done an amazing job.

Lovely moss green suede and a dark natural finish - gorgeous

Great finish on the sole edges, really good work.

Here he is in the workshop learning how to make shoes. This could be you - contact us if you want to learn -

Next up is a pair of sky blue, slip-ons with slashed covered gussets made by Fanni. The trickiest part here was welting the very pointy toe which is difficult because there are so many stitches packed into a small space. But she did a great job and the shoes look amazing.

 The stacked leather heel was also a challenge but looks great on the finished shoes.

The last pair is a leather and tweed boot made by Derrek in navy blue leather and contrasting blue tweed. This is quite a unique design and it shows the freedom that the students get after making their first Derby with us. This is quite an important point because we restrict students to a simple Derby to start with because they are easy to last and we are often time constrained, but after the first pair, if you carry on, the sky's the limit in terms of design, leather and colour

If you would like to see these shoes and more, then contact us for an invitation to the open day on May 11th -

That's about it for this week. We wish you peace and fulfilment for the week to come and until next Friday, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Chocolate studios and Catskill Workshops

Welcome back good shoe folk of the world. As you can see things are taking shape at the new Carreducker School premises.  The signage arrived and went up this week, so no excuses not to find us when you come to party on May 11th!

But the big news of the week was the arrival of the work table. It's been a work in progress and has come all the way down from Sheffield.

As you can see, it's a robust but beautiful piece of kit, nothing fancy. The thick top is good, honest scaffolding planks (sanded and varnished) on a repro. Industrial Design Co. Sheffield Engineered base; chosen to easily survive the nicks, knocks and bumps of shoe making and to improve with age. 

And don't the '60s vintage chairs look great around it?

They are fully height adjustable so we should be able to make everyone comfortable when they are  sat welting or finishing for a few hours!

All set and looking forward to welcoming you to unit 50 on May 11th

We're not the only ones getting our workshop ship shape. As you may remember Jesse Moore has moved from Brooklyn to Catskill and this is her beautiful Art Deco store front...

and now she's getting the workshop out the back all set for the Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes and Clicking & Closing courses which start this Friday, 27th April.

There's still a little way to go, but the shop front and work space are looking warm and welcoming...we only wish we were going! There are still places left, so if you fancy finding yourself an Airbnb or B&B and hot-footing it to Catskill, drop us an email.

That's all from us for now. Until next week happy shoe making!