Tuesday, June 28

More designs, B/W

While the ballerina project is on the works, I got this vision of black and white stripes mixed with an oxford cut high heel. Also, had a previous idea about a design for all the all-black lovers out there: combining three different leather types into one shoe... all black ofcourse! So I just had to draw that one down too, although I wasn't completely happy with the outcome. It's ok, but needs some tweaking. Enjoy!

The 3XBlack on top, and two identical designs along the bottom. My love for the contrasts is obvious and produced quite a dramatic outcome. Personally, I like the right one better, though it'd need a zipper somewhere to be practical. What do you think?

Monday, June 27

What happened to Helsinki? It was the Foo's.

After the concert, I felt like
somebody beat me up. Extremely
tired, extremely happy.
I'm wearing a pair of plain patent
burgundy derby's that were my graduation
work when I became an apprentice.
 Yesterday was a great day: Foo Fighters played in Helsinki for a large crowd of fans. The athmosphere was great and when the greatly anticipated main crew came on stage, people went crazy and Mr. Dave Grohl bolted straight to the front of a long stretch coming from the stage. And it was all good thereafter. So good that I had goosebumps from every song they played.

What's ever intriquing is the absolute and straight up feeling of integrity, honesty, fun, energy, passion and love that the Foos channel with their appearance. I don't know how they do it, and I quite frankly don't understand how it happens, but as a band they're just so... reachable. Humane. Alive. Real. Of all the bands I've liked, the Foos lack some kind of coldness and separation that's very usual for artists. Maybe they just genuinely care for their fans and see the band as a kind of a journey with them? Maybe that's their secret?
Anyhoo, a great show from a great band, to put it short :D
Just me and my 30 000 friends hanging out before a gig.

Thursday, June 23

Some shoe designing & resting

Dear readers & visitors, I'd like to thank you all for your interest so far. My blog has launched pretty nicely and got some good attention from people, and it's a pity that I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days. I'd like to post more often and let you all see how the ballerinas are done, but the flue's taken my strength.
Anyways, a few days back I had a vision of two different high heels that I just had to draw down, and I thought that today's a great day to share them with you all. These kind of designs would maybe be something I'd have in my own boutique for sell, so tell me: would you buy yourself a pair?

On the left is a white leather bootie with a tattoo inspired drawing on it and the left is a pink/grey striped canvas boot. Maybe satin?The left shoe feels that it needs some more designing, but to the right one I'm very happy with!

I would like to wish all my readers a very very happy mid-summer festivities and a great weekend! I'll try to get some advancement posts done on the ballerina project in a few days.

Sunday, June 19

Making Ballerinas - Part 4 Fitting & Fixing

Fitting is quite an exciting moment: the shoe with it's basic elements get to be tested on your client and you'll get a more wholesome view on how the shoe will look and work while worn or walked with. When making bespoke shoes, it's rarely that one gets a perfect fit on the first try, so it's common that some small adjustments have to be done. In this chapter I'll show you some phases of fitting and fixing.

The fitting showed two main problems: the small toes are squashed on the shown area and the nail of the big toe needs more space.
The inner side of the ballerinas. You can see the needed toe space to the left and some changes to the uppers that I marked with red lines. The inner arch looks very fitting nevertheless.
So it's back to building! I took some 3mm rubber-cork mixture sheet and cut it to approximate size for the needed areas. Then both the last and the corks were glued.
And here they are, glued to the last.
After some careful shaping this is what I came up with.
The added shape is quite unnoticable, but will make a huge difference once the shoe is worn.
With the last fitting, the client is happy with the changes and we're ready to go!

Next up is the making of the actual uppers. See you in a few days!

Wednesday, June 15

Making Ballerinas - Part 3 The Patterns & The Mockup

It's been way too many days in between, but it's finally here. My spare time is very limited so I'm squeezing it 'er I can.

So, now it's time to take a peek at pattern making and a mockup. Well, how on earth to make patterns to a 3D object? Well, there's a very handy technique, wherein the 3D shape is first copied and transformed into 2D, so that the pattern maker can start drawing any kind of design on a piece of cardboard. Eventually one'll have a full design and each necessary cardboard pattern piece ready to be used to cut the uppers and the lining from leather or cloth.

Let's see the phases:

First the last is covered with ordinary masking tape, starting from the tip.

Until we get to this point, cut the sole area and the top off. Then necessary markings are made.
When properly applied, the tape comes off in two pieces; the inner and the outer, differentiated by a central line cut.
The differentiated outer and inner halves of the last are flattened on cardboard as you can see on the left.
They are then combined as one template which is called a base copy. The base copy represents the whole
shape of the last, and can thus be used to making any kind of design on it. For each design of the
same pair of lasts, I can use this same template to start designing.
Ready to go! The base copy is drewn to cardboard with the wanted heel height. Now it's just your imagination needed! And maybe
a ton of other useful knowledge before you start drawing ;)
After doodling for a while, I came up with this. From here on it's easy to copy the pieces for the uppers on cardboard.
It's not a tutorial, so I skipped the making of the cardboard patterns, which are the two white ones on the right. You'll also see here
how I've drawn the patterns on leather before cutting them. Just one way of doing it. Traditionally clickers (the ones who cut the leathers for the uppers and lining are called by the industry) just cut the uppers straight away with a small and a very sharp
knife, cutting along the edges of the patterns.
Ooops! I skipped again, sorry ;) After cutting the uppers, I sew them together, made an insole on the last and lasted (I'll explain this word on the next photo) the uppers.
Lasting means that the uppers are placed on a last, stretched tightly and attached (and glued) to an insole as seen in the picture. This shoe structure is called cemented shoe, or glued shoe since it's just held together by contact glue. Fast and simple.
Next I took out the staples and did some grinding. I cut a piece of EVA to be glued as an mockup outer sole. EVA is very light and durable, used commonly in orthopaedic shoe soles. It will wear out quickly so many kinds of rubbers are glued on it for
wearing durability.
The EVA is then pressed with high pressure to attach the glued surfaces together. The excess sole is then grinded away with
a grinding machine. I made it thinner too.
So there it is: The mockup! With a mockup you'll see how the design and the last actually fit and work before using expensive
leathers to make the actual shoe.

And that means next up is the fitting of the mockup.

Saturday, June 11

Making Ballerinas - Part 2 The Last

The shoe is built piece by piece on a last. Last is the most central part in shoe making: the shape that defines basically everything that makes a shoe. There are some exceptions, to which I'm not going to now. Because of it's importance it's the most difficult and diverse to master in the art of shoe making.
I'll now show some phases of shaping the lasts to my specific purpose. This is not a tutorial, so I'm not going very deep on the subject but rather give all you readers a chance to take a peek at the phases.
The customers feet, pencil, paper and a tape measure is all one basically needs to  start the show.
The image of the foot is drawn on paper, and careful measurements are made from key parts  of the foot.
And this is more or less the template you'll end up with.

Shaping the last:
For lasts I took some old pair laying around my shelf at work. Now the ideal would be to have their heel height the same as the one you're making, but since this wasn't possible I did some fine tuning to them.
The heel height is transformed into a flat shoe.  Top left is the original last with a blue cut line. Next down is the  changed last with it's bottom shape to the right. The last last with the final shape.
The toe shape had a dramatic change.
To try out the shape of the last, a handy heat formable plastic is first wrapped on  the last and then cut to an estimate model to be fitted on the customers foot. Kinda like a pre mock up. I'll go with these!

I couldn't help myself to try on a peace of leather :D It's also difficult to see all the shapes of the tip, so  this gives a better view on how things are gonna look. I'm quite satisfied with the result :)
Next up is making patterns and a mock up. See you soon!

Monday, June 6

Making Ballerinas - Part 1 Design

I own this idea of making a pair of ballerinas to a great finnish fashion blog: the Paubella´s. I commented about ballerinas that at first I couln't understand them at all, since they offer much less opportunities for aesthetic expression, but little by little began to be intriqued by the different possibilities. She suggested that I'd propably get a pair done, being a shoemaker and all. So here we are, at the first phase of making a pair of shoes: the design. The sketches are quite quickly drawn and not very professional, but they'll do me fine.

There's three models of which I'm going to do the middle one from the right. The top one has a black lace part in the middle. The lowest model has an open toe design.

Next up, it's actual last shaping!
Thank you again Paubellas!
ps. you promised to comment ;D

Sunday, June 5

And away he went...

...But he came back! Mr. Shoemaker just took a cruise yesterday, and had the opportunity to try on those Spectators with an all black suit. And, even though the suit's nothing special, it brought the attention to the shoes quite nicely!

Luckily it's time for my trusted barber, Rody Maher in viisikulma, Helsinki to do his magic on my head, coz it's starting to look abit... hmm, bushy.

Friday, June 3

A good start.

Whoa! We broke the 100 visitors counter late yesterday night (thursday)! Thanks to all of YOU :D What a nice start for the first steps of my blog. Like I said before, my "showcase" shoes have now been displayed so next up are the more recent projects and thoughts... all related to shoemaking, shoe fashion, dreams, studies and career. I'm also going to put all the shoes I've made on the same page, so they'll be easy enough to find. And don't worry, there'll be more handmade shoes to be made, and you all can peek inside the different phases of making a pair. Maybe I should keep a lottery? And for the winner I'd make a pair of bespoke shoes?

I hope you all find my adventures even somewhat interesting. There's alot of stuff coming my way :)
And thank you visitors!

Thursday, June 2


The leather soles came out great! Thank you Christian Loboutin for the idea ;)

OOps! The left stiching went baaad.  Well enough this was a test pair, and not a client work.

This is the vision I had, when I heard there was going to be a fashion exhibition in the Sámi Museum in Inari, in 2010. Back then I had just started to be very anxious and interested in high heels and the aesthetic possibilities they'd offer, so I had just a couple of months to design, draw patterns, make the uppers, last them and finally build a heel and glue the leather outer sole to them. These were also the first high heels I've done.

The uppers consist of two very exotic items; traditionally tanned reindeer leather called sisna and reindeer leg fur. Sisna is commonly used by the Sámi in clothing and accessories (bags, pouches), and sometimes for footwear too. This sisna had it's fur removed, vegetal tanning with willow bark, softening and oiling all done by me. It was part of the education program in the institute. Sisna has also a very fragile surface atleast for shoes, but a nice texture to it.
The leg furs are pretty amazing too, coz they're with a very short and smooth hair, a rare item of a summer reindeer. The leg part of the fur is traditionally used to make winter footwear called "nutukkaat". Got all my leg fur from a dear friend in lapland.

I shaped the heels from two blocks of oak which I got from slöjd detaljer. And added pieces of actual reindeer antlers to create a nice whitish effect to them. They were in the Reindeer Fashion exhibition for a few months. This was the first exhibition for me, and quite exciting!


Wednesday, June 1

Working on it.

I'm working on my final showcase post so far, as far as shoes are concerned. I have lots of on going projects and ideas on what to do, and in the near days I'll keep posting some sketches on those.
Also, I'd like to remind that I AM still updating and have plans on different sections of this blog. Like the "who is this guy!?" section needs to be continued and filtered alot. And also a brief introduction to the beginning will be added. Since they're the "most-recent-shoes-made-by-me" post, It's going to be mainly sketches, plans, finds etc. posted on this blog, but I hope people will find it interesting :)

BUT next up is my first ever high heel creation from 2010, with a very heavy lean on Sámi culture, since it's almost completely from reindeer leather and fur!

See you soon!