Hips, Hair & Lipstick
DIY Velour Shoes
Shoemaking

Learning Home Shoemaking with My First Pair of Pumps!

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. 

Fabric: 

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. 

Errors: 

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. 

Cost: 

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.

DIY pumps

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