Sunday, 24 July 2011

Making Turnshoes

So last night I started my newest leather project, making my first set of period turnshoes. I'm following the instructions from The Complete Anachronist issue 140 (The Basic Craft of Turnshoes). To be honest I'm finding that the instructions aren't terribly clear, but I don't know if that's just me because I don't know the terminology he's using. I may have to go a different route if I can't figure out what he's telling me to do.

Anyway, last night I started making my shoe pattern. To do this, I'm supposed to put on a double sock and then tape my foot (he's very specific to use masking tape, as other types of tape will stretch and change the shape of your pattern). I then mark specific points of my foot before cutting the top sock layer off with the tape attached.

I got myself all taped up and all, but the marking instructions were confusing, so there were some steps where I was just guessing what he meant. Eventually I got it all cut off and when I took it off and stuck it to a piece of construction paper, it looked something like a shoe pattern, but it's not the same shape as the picture in the book. (It may be because I couldn't understand some of his instructions, not sure). I'm not sure how this is going to affect the final shoe.

I expect this is one of those things that I'll just need to work on until I figure out a technique that works. Once I know what I'm doing, I'll be able to make the pattern pretty easily. The other thing I figured out is that this method of making a pattern is really hard to do on yourself, at least without help. I may need Avelyn to help with the next one.

Unfortunately, the other pattern making method he suggests is carving a last out of wood that is shaped like your foot. I think that's a bit advanced for me, not to mention time consuming.

Next step appears to be transferring the pattern to fabric, and adjusting it to reflect the particulars of the shoe being made (ie a pointed toe rather than just the shape of your foot). I'm not sure if I'll move on or see if I can fix the tape shape.

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