Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One-button moccasins

My latest homemade shoe. A one-button moccasin shoe.
One button mocs
The leaf pattern disguises a means to attach my dirty girl gaiters.

This leather was hard to work with. It is not very soft or stretchy. The pull loops on the heels really dig into my heels. But wearing them around a little bit seems to be softening them up and I think in the end they'll end up being really comfortable.

It took me a lot of attempts to make these. I bought a CD on how to make these kinds of boots from scratch starting with taping up your foot to make the patterns. I did all that but the patterns were too tight, too small. The resulting shoe could not be put on and cut against my ankle. I tried at first to make taller boots but after they dug so deeply into my leg, I cut them shorter. That didn't work at all. Only made them worse. They were ruined. I suppose next time I try this I will put on really thick socks before making the pattern, then add 3 times as much seam allowance to compensate for my hatred of my shoes touching my toes, and then I'll use much softer leather.

I have a whole side (of the cow) of this reddish leather, so I started over with my patterns that I bought and modified from Simple Shoemaking, thinking that maybe my tried-and-true patterns would be more friendly with this leather. I tried to copy some of what I could see on Shoemaker Sharon's site. I'm not very creative so even though I would look at her shoes, it was impossible for me to actually copy how she made them. I have to have a pattern, I guess. Anyway, I got the idea for the leaf pattern from her.

I know I make shoes completely wrong. For example, I stitched the uppers directly to some rubber soling sheet instead of to more leather. The CD instructions had me stitching to two layers of leather. This made the seams really thick. I probably should have stitched to one layer of leather for the insole, but I thought maybe I might try to sell the rest of this leather. Hmm, now I'm regretting not doing it right and sewing them to leather. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I wish I had a sewing machine so that my stitches would come out smaller and nicer, but I think they aren't too bad. I look forward to gluing on the sole and wearing them and getting them broken in so they don't look so stiff and shiny.

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