I made shoes! Shoemaking has been on my mind all year.
I begrudgingly searched for a digital workshop after learning that the closest in-person option was in New York. Finding a program that would provide enough information for me to confidently make different types of wearable, cute and comfortable shoes was my main goal.
I decided to try the I Can Make Shoes Online Footwear Masterclass because:
- they offer lifetime access to the class content
- they send a component kit and tool kit that has almost everything that you need to make at least one pair of shoes
- and they walk through making eight different shoe types (and numerous variations).
The company is based in the UK, but shipping was quick, and I only had to do conversions from cm to mm a few times.
I was so eager to make these shoes that I just sat at my desk and worked on them for a day and a half. I have better results when I can take my time on a project over the course of days or weeks, which is what I’ll do for my next pair.
However, they came out great for my first time ever making shoes despite a few hiccups.
It was surprisingly simple to make them using the masterclass videos. Towards the end, I ran into problems with heels and the stiffeners (probably due to exhaustion and impatience). I should’ve also chosen a different size nail to add the heels.
My shoe design was simple, but you can create any design that you want. The component kit from I Can Make Shoes includes four-inch block heels. Block heels are always my preference over stilettos and platforms.
Leather is the recommended fabric for shoemaking, especially for certain types of shoes. However, leather is expensive. You have to buy it by the hide in most cases.
I spent a lot of money on the workshop and didn’t want to risk buying and ruining the leather. So, I decided to use a dark burgundy stretch crushed velour fabric from Mood Fabrics that I had leftover from a failed dress. (That’s another story for another post, but velour is very slippery for clothes but actually was pretty easy to work with for the shoes.)
I love the velour on these shoes!
Since I used scraps, I did not keep track of how much material I used. I used velour for the upper and shoe lining, so I cut four pieces with the pattern. I also used velour to wrap the heels and insoles.
If you use something other than leather, iron-on interfacing is recommended to add more structure to the shoe. My velour was fairly thick and I did not like working with the interfacing. It was in the way when I started stretching the fabric over stiffeners and the last and melted some when I was using a heat gun.
I should’ve folded the trim allowance instead of cutting it to hide the interfacing, which is still visible.
My shoe last was too big. A shoe last is a foot-shaped plastic that determines the size, shape and fit of shoes. I’m in-between sizes and incorrectly measured and converted my size, so the shoes don’t fit me properly.
I got a size 11 last but should’ve gotten a 10 instead. You can always build up a last to make a shoe fit, but you can’t take away from one.
There are options to ask questions throughout the masterclass. I just watched the videos and followed the steps. However, after I completed the shoes, I sent the admins a list of questions about everything from the proper last size, modifying lasts, returns, and fabric and interfacing. They responded the next day.
I plan to use some of the recommendations that I received from them to redo the pump course two more times before moving on to other shoe types. I’m confident that I can get a near-perfect pair if I take my time.
Shoemaking classes are expensive. Outside of the cost of the workshop, I paid $25 for a heat gun from Lowes. The masking tape that was in the kit wasn’t strong enough so I paid about $4 for a couple of rolls of masking tape. Everything else either came with the kit or I already owned.
I think the workshop will be worth the cost over time. I hate to say it aloud, but it was around 596£ or $822. Given what’s included, it was the best deal out of all of the digital and in-person shoemaking courses that I found.
Since I’ve only made one pair of shoes so far and I rushed through them. I waiting to do a thorough review of the I Can Make Shoes Footwear Masterclass until after I’ve had the opportunity to make several pairs.