Kirby: Part 1

Disclaimer: This post contains a very old attempt at shoemaking, during the very beginning of my journey. I really didn’t know what I was doing at this time, and the post is left online for archive purposes only. Please do not “learn” anything from it, as the post is certainly riddled with mistakes. It’s just a documentation on some of my thoughts as a beginner in this venture. For a more updated view of my shoemaking, please see my latest posts instead.

Kirby was my favorite character in the Nintento party game ‘Super Smash Bros’. He was also, at least in my circle of friends, considered to be overpowered. A certain other Kirby is my favorite shoe aficionado. This shoe being bulbous and pink (matching one Kirby), and being a shoe (matching another), I could think of no better name for it.

I made the pattern design on my favorite Springline 977 lasts.

01 Pattern.jpg

I cut out the upper leather from 4 oz madras printed calf in pink, with margins around the edges. (At the back of the shoe, there’s a straight back strap.)

02 upper.jpg

I folded the skived edges over using contact cement and an awl.

03 folding.jpg

I punched out some holes for sewing aprons.

04 apron holes.jpg

Then I sewed said aprons, using 1 mm waxed polyester thread in pink.

05 sewing apron.jpg

Alas, I didn’t succeed in springing the pattern properly. As a consequence, when pulling the uppers over the lasts, the top line was sloppy. I decided to continue anyway by considering this an experiment shoe altogether, and building it on different lasts than the pattern was made with. (“Don’t try this at home.”) 

I lasted some 2 oz veg tanned baby calf as lining on bigger lasts, cemented on the uppers and trimmed of excess. In hindsight, I should have left some excess lining on there to pound nails through while lasting, but didn’t think to do it at this step.

06 attached lining.jpg

It’s not the shape that I designed, but I think it works. Even though the pattern wasn’t made for this last, this produced a top line that I hope will suffice. To close the uppers and lining, I used the same thick thread in pink as used to sew the apron, as an aesthetic feature as well as function.

07 sewing lining.jpg

I also put on the loafer top pieces, whatever those are called, and sewed them with the same thread. Trying to keep the shoes light, I had prepared rather thin insoles out of hard tempered 9-10 oz veg tanned butt, and made holdfasts and holes for welting.

Then I talced up the lasts and lasted the baby calf lining.

08 lasted lining.jpg

Before long, with lasted stiffeners in place, the shoes were lasted for a final time.

09 lasted.jpg

Continue reading Part 2 »

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