September 4, 2014

8 common mistakes that beginners do

How to make shoes on your own and resolve problems?

Today, I'm excited to present a detailed post specifically designed to address the usual challenges faced by newcomers to shoemaking. Every craft comes with its own set of hurdles, and shoemaking is no different. Beginners often find themselves grappling with similar issues. These aren't just errors but valuable lessons, crucial in perfecting the art of making shoes. Whether it's getting to grips with leather choices, honing the skill of upper and lining sewing, or achieving the ideal fit, each challenge is a learning curve. Through this post, I aim to highlight these typical blunders, offering practical solutions and advice. By addressing these topics, we hope to provide you with the insight and assurance to navigate the world of shoemaking with greater ease. So, get ready, and let's dive into this enlightening exploration together!

 8 common mistakes of beginners

 It is really just a small and unnoticed mistakes usually, but in shoemaking every millimeter counts, each wrong line of a shoe pattern, a crooked  seam can make your shoes look bad and give you a lot of frustration and extra work.

 1. Most common mistake happens when you measure the height of your heel incorrectly and here is an excellent shoemaking tutorial about measuring of the heel height : "Stacked Heel: How To Make Heels". You will attached adhesive pattern from the last to cardboard lower/higher than the height of the heel.   

 You can see the full solution in  "How to fix loose sides of your shoes upper"

 2. When you are checking your paper pattern on the last, your central lines of the pattern don't match the central lines of the last. Never leave it as it is, it must match the central lines. It will reassure the correctness of this check. To learn how to find central front line on the shoe last, read this article: "2 Lines In Shoe Making That You Should Know"

 3. When you place two nails (one in the toe and second in the back) to attach midsole to the last,  you forget to take them out. It will be very crucial, when you will discover that after you already finished your shoes.

 The solution is,  always to band front nail towards the heel and back nail towards the toe. This way you will see the edges of nails over the layers of lasted leather and will not forget to take them out. 


 4. You don't check the direction for your leather stretchiness. This will  change your pattern dimension as leather will stretch not where you need it to stretch.

Checkthe direction of leather stretchiness before you start to cut your pattern. Place it along the direction where leather stretches less. Thisis one of the shoemaking tutorials that I give in this article: "How to make shoes-Best free shoe making tips an tutorials for beginners", so make sure to read this one, to learn more techniques.

5. Using cheap thread is always a bad idea, you can't work with it.

If you use nylon or polyester thread for leather check the thread if it does not tear when you pull it by hand. If it does, it will rip during sewing for sure.

6. You don't secure the ends of your thread in the seam.
  Burn the ends of the thread with lighter and hit it with the hammer to secure that last stitches of the seam will not open and it will make a clean look of the seam as well.

7. You having not so sharp knife or still struggle with skiving and you stretch the leather during skiving, because of this your pattern will be bigger and wrong. Here is a shoemaking tutorial where I teach how to skive, and here is a shoemaking tutorial on how to sharpen a knife.

 Quick fix is, to place the cardboard pattern on it and cut the extras.

8. When you last your upper, you over pull it and you lower the sides. In the end, you will have too low top line in your shoes.
Leave the allowance of lining only on the sides (when you will cut out the allowance of lining at the top line of the upper). Place nails in this lining allowance, this will help you to hold the upper on the right place during lasting.



For conclusion, learn to trust your eyes. Although, In shoe making each mm has a value and it's better to be precise, but many things in shoe making you can't measure with a ruler, so you need to trust your eyes. This is one of the best tools you got, which you can always trust. If you want to learn shoe making, but don't know where to start, what shoemaking tools and materials you need, time commitment, you are limited in your budget to invest in your shoemaking learning, want to get inspired by success of other beginners in shoemaking, don't miss this shoe making article: "How to make shoes".

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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