Day 1: Making a Pattern

Materials: Shoe lasts, manila folders, masking tape.

Tools: X-Acto Knife (or boxcutter), pencil, sharpie

  • Tape the sole of the shoe last with masking tape beginning with one vertical strip down the center lengthwise. Repeat with horizontal strips down the length of the sole, overlapping each piece halfway over the last. Repeat with vertical strips.
  • Using a pencil, feather the edge of the sole.
  • Remove masking tape shape from last and paste onto manila folder. Cut along the feathered edge. This is the sole pattern piece.
  • Tape the upper of the shoe last with masking tape beginning with vertical strips. Repeat with horizontals until the entire shoe last is covered. Tuck ends over the edge on the sole.
  • Use a pencil to mark the back height of the shoe - 58mm for women, 68mm for men.
  • Draw a line across the widest part of the sole. Using a measuring tape, continue the line across the upper of the shoe last. Mark the line in half, and into quarters.
  • Connect the quarter marks to the back height mark with a straight line.
  • Trace the design with a marker. Don’t forget to outline the sole as well.
  • Mark the shoe last down the center with a pencil. Use a cutter to split the masking tape shape into half.
  • Cut slits along the bottom edge of the masking tape shape to fan the design out. Paste the shapes onto the manila folder without wrinkles. Label the two halves to differentiate.
  • Cut along the edge of the shape. Cut perforations along the marker lines where there will be seams. Repeat for both halves.
  • Create a median forme from the two shapes. The idea here is to ultimately “average” the two and come up with a symmetrical pattern. Trace both halves onto the manila folder again, using the corner of the heel as an anchor point. Make sure that the heel areas overlap perfectly. Draw a dotted line between the two shapes where they differ, making an average line. Erase the initial tracing and complete the dotted line for the median border. Cut the shape out. This is the median forme.
  • Trace along perforations to transfer the pattern piece edges onto the median forme. Draw a dotted line between the two lines where they differ again, and use French curve template to perfect curves. Perforate again along curves.
  • Align the top of the median forme where the pattern was halved along the folded edge of a manila folder. The idea is to copy and then cut out a final pattern that folds open double but connected, much like the technique used crafting a paper snowflake.
  • Trace the individual pieces along the perforated edges, adding ⅝ inch seam allowance to the bottom edge (wherever the pieces meet the sole, to allow greater inseam allowance), and ¼ inch along all the other seams.

  • Draw design onto the masking tape.

Finally, cut these pieces out (including the extra seam margin).