Day 2: Cutting Leather

Materials: your chosen "upper" and "lining" leather. I'd recommend at least 6 square feet of each. Use kidskin or calfskin. Midsole fiberboard (if you're a man, get two pairs). Shanks (they're two metal strips). 

Tools: leather scissors / sharp box cutter, pen, a dremmel or skiving machine.

Today, you’ll have to cut leather for the upper (outside) and lining (inside) of your shoe. The general idea here is to use the patterns made in the first day to mark the underside (the unfinished side) of your hides and prepare them for sewing. 

Lay the patterns out and trace them against the hide with a pen. Don't forget you'll be making two shoes! Once they're traced, cut them out with a knife or leather scissor.

Next you'll want to prep them for stitching. It’s helpful to have either a leather skiving machine or a dremel in order to thin the areas of the pieces where you will stitch the seams. Don’t worry about skiving the parts that will wrap under to the sole. The idea behind skiving is that it basically strips down the thickness of the leather on the edge. Doing this thins the 1/2" on the edge, which makes it easier to fold over the seam allowances for a more finished look.

Finally, you want to prep the midsole. Take the fiberboard and trace the sole of your shoe. Since your foot has a natural arch and slope to it, you'll want to double-down on the back part of the foot. Cut little notches near the ball of the foot of your pattern and mark them on the fiberboard. Slice out an extra portion for the back section of the foot. Take your shank (the little curved metal piece) and hammer it until it's roughly matching the arch of your "last". Sandwich the shank between the fiberboard pieces. You will glue this all together.