In the Works

Eight pairs of sandals more than halfway finished. All that remains is to cement them to the soles...

Eight pairs of sandals more than halfway finished. All that remains is to cement them to the soles…

 

...which are drying on the deck, after have been shaped over lasts while the leather is wet.

…which are drying on the deck, after have been shaped over lasts while the leather is wet.

Footbed cemented to sole. Up next: add a heel, trim the sole, and finish.

Footbed cemented to sole. Up next: add a heel, trim the sole, and finish.

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Samples

Yahoo! I’ve been selected as a vendor for The Big Day indie wedding and celebrations fair! It takes place next Sunday, April 13. These are the sample sandals I’ve been madly working to finish. Now that they’re done, it’s on to business cards. Remind me why I thought it would be a good idea to make those myself instead of having them printed?

Oh, right…because I’m slightly nuts.

Sample sandals 1

Sample sandals 3

With a Minor Tweak…

The other day, the back strap of these sandals got twisted up when I put them on.

cranberry sandal 1And I discovered a tweak that makes an old pattern look new!

gray sandal 1

The original pattern is shown at top, cut out of leather. To tweak the pattern, I moved the bottom part of the strap underneath the upper part of the strap and stitched to hold it permanently, as shown at bottom.

gray sandal 2

Straps cemented but not yet stitched.

gray sandal 3

Uppers cemented to the soles; all that remains to do is sand the soles, buff them, and add a heel.
Frankly, I like the way this looks, especially around the toe area…some day, I’m going to make some sandals where the edges of the topsole and sole don’t meet flush!

gray sandal 4

Finished. The same, but different!

gray sandal 5

New Sandals, Step by Step

I started by covering the last with masking tape (just the areas I knew the sandal would cover--I'm lazy!) and "drawing" a rough outline of the location of the straps.

I started by covering the last with masking tape (just the areas I knew the sandal would cover–I’m lazy!) and “drawing” a rough outline of the location of the straps using a narrow black tape.

Other side.

Other side.

Carefully pull the masking tape off the last and stick it to stiff paper. To finish the pattern, draw the outlines of the straps and add allowances to their ends. I also drew a pattern for the sole.

I carefully pulled the masking tape off the last and stuck it to stiff paper. To finish the pattern, I drew the outlines of the straps and added allowances of 1 inch to their ends. At right, there’s also a pattern for the sole.

blog--peacock prototype cut and taped1

I cut out the paper pattern and traced it onto crappy leather so that I could check the fit without wasting nice material. After cutting out that leather, I shaped it around the last and taped it to the topsole.

It looked okay on the last, but the proof is in the pudding, and...

It looked okay on the last, but the proof is in the pudding, and…

blog--peacock prototype bad fit on pinkie

…the strap didn’t hold the pinkie in, dammit! Also, the fit over the toes was way too baggie. That was due to the bulbous shape of the toes on the last, so I changed to lasts with a flatter toe. (Kindly ignore my toenails-of-the-dead. I’ll get around to removing that flaking nail polish someday.)

I redrew a wider strap on the paper pattern and cut new leather for another prototype. After nailing the topsole to the bottom of the last...

I redrew a wider strap on the paper pattern and cut new leather for another prototype. After nailing the topsole to the bottom of the last…

...I centered the straps over the last and...

…I centered the straps over the last and…

...began taping the straps to the bottom of the topsole.

…began taping the straps to the bottom of the topsole.

I checked the placement/centering of the back straps, then taped those to the bottom of the topsole.

I checked the placement/centering of the back straps, then taped those to the bottom of the topsole.

It looked good. The next step was to try it on...

It looked good. The next step was to try it on…

Closer!

Closer!

So I made another adjustment to the paper pattern, as well as to the placement of the slit for the strap, and the resulting prototype kept that little piggie under wraps.

So I made another adjustment to the paper pattern, as well as to the placement of the slit for the strap, and the resulting prototype kept that little piggie under wraps.

I tried punching holes to embellish the straps. Thought the shape was wrong. No need to finalize that now.

I added a back strap held on with rivets and punched holes to embellish the straps. Circles were all wrong, but no need to finalize the shape of the cutouts now. My prototype work was finished. Time to move on to the real leather I wanted to use!

All that remains is to add the sole.

I made them in an iridescent purple-green and found a much more successful shape for the hole. Next time, I think that instead of a hole, I’ll try three brass spots in descending sizes. All that remains are the steps to add the sole and a wee heel.

finished

Finished.

Required Reading

I got all the most basic information about materials and tools for making those first few pairs of sandals from this 1973 book. I highly recommend it!

cover of Jonathan's book

I haven’t been able to find out anything about this guy, other than what’s in the book itself. Does anybody out there know about him? He apparently had a leather shop someplace and specialized in sandals. In a conversational tone, he drops a lot of “wow”s, addresses the reader as “Brother,” refers to the dough being low, and mentions his dog several times (right on!). Consistently light-hearted, he closes the book with “Remember that the people for whom I made my first hundred pair of sandals all have a bullet with my name on it.”  !!! The cover may not look like much, but check out the artistry of the interiors! (One of the credits says “Typography by what’s left of the right hand of Ms. B.J. Crim.” Indeed.)

P1000285 blog--interior of Jonathan's book blog--interior of jonathan's book (2)