My friends, I have been on a bit of a shoe making binge recently. Someone needs to stop me! After attending Lisa’s Shoe Camaraderie shoe making workshop last year I was dying to make more pairs. I would love to have a collection of handmade shoes to use in all our sample shoots, wouldn’t that be amazing? Handmade from head to toe! So with that in mind I decided to get the Ines sandal kit to create a nice pair of neutral clean lined sandals for an upcoming shoot of a new pattern.
I decided to bring my kit home and do it on the kitchen counter rather than work on it at my studio and i’m so glad I did that. My approach was to take it slow, and I basically did one step at a time for a week until I had finished my shoes. I love the workshop i went to, and i learnt SO SO much, but i think this slow pace of making shoes is more my style. I really enjoyed being able to take my time with every step and think carefully about what i was doing. At one point i was unhappy with how i had attached the sole and i just ripped it off and started again the next day!
These shoes are obviously not perfect, but i’m so happy with them! Lisa’s instructions were a joy to work with. Very detailed, well illustrated, lots of tips and she even provided free video content. I would really highly recommend these kits, they really make shoe construction achievable at home. I like that you can also pretty easily customise things on the fly. This style comes with ties, but after I was done I had extra leather left over and realised it would be really easy to make an ankle strap too! So i just sliced a strip of leather, added holes and a buckle and ta-da an ankle strap. The thing i like about this is that now when we use these shoes in the studio we can swap out the ties or ankle straps for a different look!
I thought you might enjoy seeing a few snaps of the process of making my sandals – and at the end a few peeks at how they looked when we used them in our shoot!
Side note: I would like the record to show that at one point in my life my kitchen counter was clean. You are all my witnesses!! hahahahahaha
Lasting the shoes on my feet was a lot easier than i thought it would be. I was really worried about making my shoes too tight for some reason i can’t explain… and i think i actually made them a tiny bit too loose. So that’s a lesson for next time, not to make shoes loose on purpose and just trust the process.
Attaching the randing is one of my favourite steps. Once that little trim goes around the outside edge of your innersole your shoes suddenly start looking like real shoes.
Cutting the excess outer sole off was probably the part i liked the least. I found my sewing shears were not up to the task, and after this realised that i had actually broken my own rules and USED MY SEWING SCISSORS FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN FABRIC> gasp. the horror. I hung my head in shame and took them in to be sharpened immediately and ordered a pair of leather scissors for next time.
One of the lessons I learnt with these shoes is the importance of sanding your shoes when you are finished. The difference it makes is truly remarkable. I would liken sanding your shoes to ironing your handmade garments. You can’t skip it without your end make looking terrible. Here’s a little before and after of the heel of my shoe. Doesn’t it look so much better sanded?!
My sanding trick was to use my little hand held orbital sander. Honestly this is a pretty inexpensive wood working tool which i use a lot when i’m building things at home, and it worked a treat sanding my shoes. So much better than trying to do it by hand!
And here are my finished shoes!! I’m so happy with how they turned out – and can’t wait to show you our new patterns in a few months *wink*