Patterns and more patterns

I haven’t posted in a while because I have been working on nothing but patterns and fittings which aren’t the most exciting moments of shoemaking (in my opinion). After giving it thought I realized I should explain the birth of a new shoe in my process. There are various ways to approach pattern making for shoes and boots but I mainly use a tape method.

It all starts with taking the last that the shoe will be made on and covering it in tape.

elrod shoes pattern middle line

A line is drawn down the middle of the last and down the middle of the heel. It is crucial to get these lines as centered and straight as possible. From here the design is sketched directly on the last:

elrod shoes pattern tape method art deco

The above pattern has both the linings and upper design drawn and it can get busy or a little confusing depending on the design and lining patterns created. This particular design above is a re-do of a art deco inspired shoe, after which the customer and I decided to alter the original pattern.

Once every line looks symmetrical and the design looks cohesive it is time to cut on the center lines dividing the last, followed by the removal of the tape design onto paper.

elrod shoes patterns oxford womens

Here I have the outside and inside pattern of the upper and lining.  First I cut on the lines and open them up allowing me to use them as stencils to trace the outlines. I trace the outside first then put the inside over the tracing and line them up as best as possible and trace again. The lines won’t coincide perfectly but where they deviate from one another a line is drawn between and the middle line is found. Do this everywhere and you get the pattern key like this:

elrod shoes womens oxford pattern key

Every pattern piece is cut from this key. Example below:

elrod shoes derby boot pattern key

^ Pattern key

elrod shoes derby boot upper pattern

^ Upper pattern

elrod shoes derby boot lining pattern

^ Lining pattern

So that’s about it! It just takes a while to even out and make nice with the design details and even longer for me to decide to go forward with a new design.

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2 Responses to Patterns and more patterns

  1. ady says:

    hello,i ask you too much if i want you to explain step by step /with pictures if possible this paragraph:

    “First I cut on the lines and open them up allowing me to use them as stencils to trace the outlines. I trace the outside first then put the inside over the tracing and line them up as best as possible and trace again. The lines won’t coincide perfectly but where they deviate from one another a line is drawn between and the middle line is found”

    i want to learn to make patterns,but i dont get it how you obtain straight line from a curve one?thank you!

    • reidelrod says:

      basically what I do with the tape is find a “mean” form of the pattern on the last. There are a variety of methods all of which need hands on training but there are some great books to learn from: “Modern Pattern Cutting and Design” by H.J. Patrick
      And if you can get copies the Golding series is awesome. 3 books of the series are digitized here: http://www.thehcc.org/library.htm

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