September 4, 2014

8 common mistakes that beginners do


How to make shoes on your own and resolve problems?

I have a great post for you today and as always it’s all about solving shoemaking problems. Talking about solving problems I want to start this post with an exciting announcement, something that I am working on it right now and it will be soon launched on the website.

I have already shared it with some of the members, (running small kind of survey )and it is the creation of a new section of this site, VIDEO LOG.  
VIDEO LOG is a new addition to this platform, where I will resolve your shoe making problems.

How will it work? 

It is simple! At video log members will upload a video of their work, a process that they are struggling with and I will resolve their problem with a video as well. You can look at it as one on one lesson with me, but we don’t really need to be in the same room.

It will be very easy and not complicated process which will be supported online. When Video log will launch you will get a full explanation with step by step tutorial on how to do it.  
I think it will be very helpful and super easy now with Smartphone’s available almost to everyone.

Although, this idea was in my head for some time I was not up to it, now  thanks to the positive responses that I got from this short survey I know it is really needed.
 It will be a great resource and kind of my way to help you in your process to overcome obstacles and to learn from mistakes that other members do.  
This resource will be for members only.  

“It better to see once than to hear a thousand times”


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 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. 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.


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.

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.


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.


Do you think the VIDEO LOG is a good idea and can help you in your shoe making process?

About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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