May 15, 2014

Solutions: Lasting allowance and design modification


In last week post I shared  with you one creative solution that I had done, due to the absence of a good and quality leather, back in a days when I just got started. You can read all about it here ” Creating solutions when you lack of good materials” . Also I asked you the most important question: What are you struggling with?
I received a lot of emails, comments and feedback which is great and what I noticed was, that a lot of problems are similar to most of you shoemakers. It means that you are not alone in this and that we can fix these problems in most dominant way.
As there were a lot of questions asked, some of them simple to answer and some need more of a guide or a course of their own. I will devote the next few posts to get your problems solved. So let’s get started with the first two:

1. One of the most common problems that you mentioned is that after you prepared your upper for lasting, you don’t have enough lasting allowance.
* Could be many answers to this problem, and it is one of the most common mistakes in pattern making.  It happens all the time when you work on new shoe pattern development, that is why it is very important to make the first prototype of your shoes. It is enough to make prototype of one half only, just to check the correctness of your pattern.

As you will create this prototype and test this pattern from leather, from the same leather that you will use for your shoes, you will see all of the mistakes, problems with your pattern including the shortage you have for lasting allowance. Those mistakes and corrections you need to fix on your pattern, so your real pair of shoes will be perfect. This is how it’s done in factory production, at lasting process of making shoes they already checking the correctness of pattern, that is why you need to make first prototype.

Shortage for lasting allowance can also occur because of the leather that you use. As you create your pattern from paper, your calculation include the stretchiness of your leather that is always stretch more than paper obviously, but If you use non starchy leather the allowance that you have left for lasting will not be enough. The reason for it, is that when you last your upper, you last it together with your midsole and you have even less lasting allowance to work with.
The solution to this problem, specially to those of you who can’t change the leather that they use, is to work on your pattern together with an midsole.
What I mean is, that before you even start working on your basic pattern, you should attach the midsole to the last and cover the last with adhesive tape as we always do, but together with the midsole. You can see how to create midsole in my ” Creating Factory Quality Midsole: Part 1” lesson . This way your pattern will include the midsole and you will avoid this mistake of shortage for lasting allowance.

2. Another question that bothered many of footwear design members was: “As we learned all rules of construction for each type of footwear, and different types divided into groups, by their rules of construction and each group has their own type of last. Then how in your 3 minutes test you created ankle  boot model on the last of pumps without applying the rules of ankle boot construction that we learned”.
The answer is in freehand pattern technique design. You must understand that using freehand technique, I created visual illusion of ankle boot, all rules that I actually applied were rules of pump shoes. Freehand and knowledge of construction allow us to manipulate the common models into designs that we want to create.

I hope my answers were clear as possible, and I will continue with more answers in my next post in a few days, so stay tuned and if you are not subscribed to my email list yet, do it now to receive all updates.
More questions and struggles, as always, you  welcome to share in the comments below, and I will do my best to answer them all.

Was this post useful for you?  Let me know in a comment.

Have a great weekend!

Sveta Kletina

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Sveta Kletina

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  1. This is a very good blog post by Sveta. I wish I was taught this technique a long time ago. I had to learn the hard way and toss out many leather pieces. That is when I decided to put the mid sole on first hahaha, I had to learn from the school of hard knocks. This is the heartaches of trial and error. Thanks for telling me now – haha!

    The technique that Sveta teaches using the crinkled up paper pattern saved me hours of work and pretty darn accurate, plus it saves you tons in money on leather.
    Keep up the great blogs!!


    1. Thank you Pete!
      Working with paper pattern it’s just a must process for me, and even when I know already how things will come out, just because you have this experience, I don’t take chances as I hate to do the same work twice. It’s a good thing you learned it yourself about placing the midsole, this is how you learn to appreciate stuff, through hard work. 🙂

  2. I never find a problem with too little allowance. when i start my pattern i always make sure the stretch of the fabric. In that way i know if i use non stretch fabric i must check my allowances. Thank you for being such an awesome teacher!! Greetings from South Africa.

  3. I never had a problem with the allowance on lasting except when i did the elastic boot lessons. There i had too much allowance when i wanted to last. When i do a lesson i only make one shoe so that i can see when i last if the allowance is correct then i will cut the other shoe. I always see if i cant find off cut remnants from the leather stores because that is much cheaper. So if i make a mistake it wont cost me a lot of money. Leathers in South Africa are very expensive.
    I also want to know; is it possible to use printed selfadhesive vinyls? Say for instance one give it a good backing to make it a little bit thicker?

    1. Hi Conrad, that is the way I test all my shoes with bed pieces of leather first. I really don’t get your question about the vinyls. “Say for instance one give it a good backing to make it a little bit thicker?” Please explain.

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