Can I tell you all about a secret desire I've harbored for most of this year? I want to make shoes! Not the fabric covered ones, or embellished ones, or re-colored ones (although those are all lovely), but real, made-from-scratch, designed-by-me footwear.
As you can tell from the links above, while shoe decoration is par for the course for many DIYers, making actual wear-it-outside, made-from-scratch shoes is virtually unheard of, which makes it exciting, uncharted territory. My suspicion, of course, is that shoes are often left to the pros because they are highly technical, and probably require industrial equipment and special forms. But I'm tired of cheap overseas made flats that really just appear to be some rubber soles and fabric sewn and glued together. What is more, I'm allured by the idea of creating a comfortable shoe on the cheap that I can style however I want!
As an avid blog reader, blogs were the first place I turned to for help. But unlike our beautiful little sewing community, I had a hard time finding a group of cobbler-bloggers just waiting to fill me in on the deets with picture tutorials and tweet chats at the ready. *Sigh*
Not to be deterred, my internet searches over the past few months have occasionally turned to shoe-making, and a few little nuggets have shown themselves.
Barefoot Shoes: Many amateurs who make their own shoes come from the barefoot running/hiking camp. For them, minimal foot protection is key, and form and style follow much further behind. These are meant to be functional shoes, but they just weren't for me...
Shoe Kits: Next up were the sites offering shoe kits. These are kits with all the necessary materials and handy instructions for putting it all together. But for me I see very little point in spending the same full-shoe price on a shoe kit, especially if I don't have the opportunity to modify it. (Of course, some could probably say this about sewing as well.)
Inspirational Shoe Makers: You can sometimes find the online crafter who makes shoes. And some of them are very, very pretty. Inspirational - yes! Instructional - not so much.
|via Cloves on BurdaStyle|
Online Instructions: There was also the occasional blogger who posted about their adventures in making fashion shoes.While this got me very excited, I found that I probably need a little more instruction and support to make my first pair. My number one questions: how do you attach the shoes fabric to the sole? And where do you source the materials?
Tilly Made Shoes: A few months in to my shoe-making obsession, Tilly made shoes! Of course, she got to do it with the help of a professional, but I was more inspired and determined than ever. Plus, I was able to scour the post for some helpful information: neoprene glue. Lots of it!
|via Tilly and the Buttons|
Make Your Own Shoes Book: It was about this time I stumbled up on Mary Wales Loomis and her Make Your Own Shoes book. This woman tore her own shoes apart, figured how they were made, made her own, and wrote a book on it!
|via Mary Wales Loomis|
Books and Courses: A while later I came across another option for learning to make shoes - the trendy and cute I Can Make Shoes site. They offer courses, materials and books on sale at their site. And man do they look cute! I also found online shoe-making courses available at Shoe Making Courses Online and Svetakletina.com.
|via I Can Make Shoes|
Feeling inspired yet? Here's my plan: START SLOW. Before jumping head in and buying/making the shoe lasts, investing in a gallon of neoprene glue, and stashing up on leather and canvas, I think I'll try to turn a basic clipper patter into a wearable fabric flat and take it from there.
With a little slapdash proto-typing, I think I'll be able to tell about whether I want to pursue this or not. And if I do - imagine the possibilities!
But don't hold your breath on anything any time soon... I'm still recovering from the Fashion Challenge, have about a million garments I want to sew, and haven't even completed my last make-it-yourself adventure BraQuest 2013(-2014??).
In the meantime, has anyone out there in blog land attempted to make your own shoes? Slippers? Shoe embellishments? I am beyond curious about this new realm!
Update: I started a Pinterest board to keep track of my resources and all your amazing suggestions. Thanks to you, I'm feeling very motivated and a lot more informed!