My first pair of shoes with ‘I CAN MAKE SHOES’

Long overdue, I’m finally sharing with you the amazing experience I had at the ‘I Can Make Shoes’ workshop in London this past summer. During a 3 day course, I was able to create a pair of shoes start to finish and they’re without a doubt my proudest make of 2018!

Finalmente partilho convosco uma das melhores experiências de 2018! Fiz um par de sapatos do início ao fim num workshop de 3 dias que tive oportunidade de participar em Londres na escola I CAN MAKE SHOES!

I never thought it possible to make a pair of shoes from home. But Instagram and its wonderful crafting community quickly broke this myth to me, and that’s when I stumbled upon the ‘I CAN MAKE SHOES’ shoemaking school in London. At ‘I CAN MAKE SHOES’ you can attend several courses depending on the kind of shoe you want to make and if your intent is just to have some fun and learn the crafting techniques while making a pair of shoes or to take it to a more professional level.

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Being obsessed as I am with shoes and crafting I immediately got excited about taking one of their courses. I thought I could do it after I finished my PhD when I would have more flexibility to go to London and my colleagues and friends knowing about it decided this would be a great present for my PhD defense. Together they offered me the opportunity to go and learn shoemaking at ‘I CAN MAKE SHOES’ and I’m so glad and grateful for it!

The course starts with a general introduction to the different parts of a shoe after which we start working on the shoe design. It is important that before starting the course you have some idea of which kind of shoes you would like to make and how you would like them to look, as to make the design step easier and faster. There’s no time to loose during the course, so do you homework!

Having finished the design and passed it to paper to create the pattern, it is then time for what I think is one of the most exciting parts of the course: choosing the materials you will be working with! There’s a large assortment of leathers, vegan leathers and even faux fur to choose from. I wanted to make a pair of shoes that I would wear a lot, so I picked black suede for the whole of my project. Classic, versatile and super comfortable!

The pattern is then traced on the back side of the leather with a special silver pen.

The different pattern pieces are carefully cut and the lining is attached to the uppers, first with special glue and then stitched together with a regular sewing machine.

The insoles are prepared and curved according to the desired heel height. I also added straps to my shoes so that I can tie them with a bow while wearing them.

The teachers are very knowledgeable and are always there to help in each step of the process. Below Amanda explains how to apply the counters.

With the help of a heat gun I applied the toe puff stiffeners to my shoes. For the heels I chose a mid block heel which I lined with the same suede fabric I used for the rest of the shoes.

It is important to remove all excess fabric on the insoles while trying to achieve a flat surface.

We used cork filler to fill the bottom of the shoes and afterwards glued the soles to the bottom.

The heels were prepared and attached to the shoes with a drill – shoemaking really is hard work!

To leave the screws out of sight, we added a foam and lining layer to the insoles. This extra layer also provides extra comfort.

And there you go! My handmade slingbacks are ready!

he rest of the class did extremely well too. I mean how gorgeous are all these?

I really enjoyed the workshop and can’t wait to give it a try to a new pair of handmade shoes. I think what’s really valuable is how every step of the process is thought on a way that could easily be reproduced at home, without the need for heavy machinery. The hardest part really is to find all the materials, but luckily most of it is also available at the ‘I CAN MAKE SHOES’ webshop.

What do you think of my first handmade shoes? Have you tried shoemaking before or do you think you would like to give it a try after seeing a bit of the process? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Um beijinho,

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  1. Oh wow this looks like so much fun! thanks for sharing all the steps in the process, I’d never really thought about how to make a shoe before, it’s so cool you can DIY it! :)

    Hope that you have been having a wonderful weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

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