Shoemaking and design was a half year intensive course that was taught by Anne Verploegh Chasse, a bespoke shoe maker. The class was split into two parts. The first part introduced us to the process of making shoes from start to finish. It covered draping, patterning, lasting, and different leather working techniques unique to the process of finishing shoes. This part of the course emphasized craftsmanship over design originality and prioritized gaining a basic mastery over the fundamentals of shoe construction. This was further complicated by the fact that class had to be taught remotely due to the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This meant that all work had to be completed with hand tools and couldn’t be dependent upon inaccessible machinery.
The second part of the class focused on students creating an original design and then executing it from start to finish. For my project, I choose to design a shoe for my partner. What this entailed was measuring and ordering a custom last to fit her feet as well as creating a design that complimented her personal tastes. This shoe in particular is heavily influenced by the designs of Sailor Moon. From start to finish, I had to create multiple patterns and test their fit and comfortability by making a finished shoe. I repeated this process till I created the first completed version of my design. From there, I went into selecting the finished materials for my last iteration of the design. These materials can be separated into four parts. The sole which is made from a compressed outsoling leather. The upper which is made from a full grain leather dyed white. The inset material for the moon which is made from a mirrored holographic material. Lastly, the liner material which is made from a softer thinner white leather. After being patterned, the whole design was then stitched and bonded together by hand with red thread.
Different patterns are tested by draping and lasting the pattern over a shoe form called a last. This is the only way to accurately test whether a pattern was made correctly and to see if it needs alterations, by actually constructing a shoe. Once a pattern is proven accurate it is then replicated in the final materials, in this case leather, before being sewn, lasted, and finished.