Day 3: Sewing Part 1.

If your last two days weren't a complete failure, today you’re going to start sewing the pieces together and creating the midsole.

The Midsole

Yesterday, you cut out the sections of fiberboard in the shape of the sole and hammered the shanks to the curvature of your last’s arch. The shanks will help provide structure to the foot’s arch. You’ll need to sandwich the shank between the two pieces of fiberboard.

Bust open (our verbs are getting very dynamic here) the can of barge cement (the red and yellow can).

It is advisable to open the window and turn on a fan lest you get high off the fumes. Using a brush, apply cement to the pieces of fiberboard and to the back (the part of the shank that will face UP) of the shank. Let it dry for a while, as the cement is a “contact glue” and needs to dry before it becomes adhesive. Once dry, place the shank onto the full-length fiberboard, and the back-section fiberboard, as a sandwich, and press down all around so that they’re firmly sandwiched.

Bevel the edges of the midsole with a dremel or sanding machine so that the leather can be tucked under it later.

Beginning to Sew

Here, you may choose to hand-stitch or machine-stitch various parts of your shoe.

First, prep the back quarter piece (the part that covers your heel) by stitching the “pinch”. Yesterday, you cut this piece out and left two marked lines; today you’ll stitch them together and snip off the excess. This lends a curvature to the heel. Just mark where the pinch ends (usually about halfway from the bottom) and fold it in half symmetrically. Stitch directly in a straight line from the marks to the end, creating a little triangular area. Cut carefully along this stitched line leaving a 1mm edge. When you’re done, the back quarter piece will have a naturally cupped shape. Using barge cement, cut a strip of reinforcement fabric to secure the edge.

Next you’ll combine this piece with the “upper” of your shoe, sewing the upper body (the biggest piece) with the back quarter piece. Overlay the two parts so that you overlap the seam allowances of ¼ inch. It’s helpful to use a white wax pen or just a regular ballpoint pen to mark out where the pieces need to overlap. One good trick to help stabilize the leather (preventing it from shifting while you are sewing) is to apply a very small amount of glue to the edge of the piece facing inwards which temporarily holds the pieces together before you actually sew them. Avoid applying glue to areas where you will be sewing as machines don’t agree with glue. Excess glue can be picked up with an adhesive eraser.

Sew right down the middle of the seam allowance. Cavalierly slice off any excess flappy parts that will be visible and cast them aside. Knot the ends of the threads and trim excess thread.

For the lining, repeat the same process (with the back quarter and the body) for the lining parts. Also snip off excess seam allowance that will be visible (on the inside of the shoe).

Next, you’ll need to craft the top of the shoe and the tongue. This part is pretty easy. Relatively easy. Just take the tongue and top, provide ¼” allowance, and stitch across them, combining them LIKE A BOSS.

Note on Hand Stitching: If you are stitching any parts by hand (using a thick waxed thread and an awl), the technique for doing a quickstitch is to start by pushing the awl through two pieces of leather, pulling the thread through completely, pulling the awl out, then poking a new hole, then looping the initial thread through. Repeat this process until you hit the end. Knot the loose thread.

Next class: Redo all the parts you fucked up today.