I can make shoes!

A friend of mine found and recommended this shoe making course to me. Not that he’d been on it but he knew I loved shoes and making stuff and so it just seemed good sense that I’d enjoy it!

Pretty much as soon as I saw the I Can Make Shoes website and what they offered, I booked a course straightaway for the following weekend…

They offer a few different courses depending on the type of shoes you want to make- high heels, ballet pumps, sandals. They also do leather bag classes. I chose to do “Ballet Pumps for Beginners”, a one day course where, funnily enough, you get to make a pair of ballet pumps.

The courses take place at the I Can Make Shoes studio at Pillbox Studios in Bethnal Green. It’s just a single room studio set up to host 6 or so students comfortably. Leather hides line one wall and lasts another, with rows of their handmade shoes cover most free surfaces making for a very attractive classroom. They ask for your shoe size in advance so everything is out and ready for you at your designated work station though if you need to try the size there, you can slip on a pair of the ready made ones and change if necessary. The only thing to add was your pick of the leather!

 Ready to begin? I took lots of photos to try to document (and remember for future reference) the processes. I’d forgotten to bring my proper camera so I ended up just using my phone so please excuse the quality. I think I’ve missed out a few stages below but you’ll get the general idea of it…

To start: cutting out your pattern in your upper and lining leather. They gave up templates depending on the style we chose to do (high or low front). 

Followed by: lots of glue and stitching.

 Onto: making the foam and leather sock (squishy insole bit) and attaching to leather insole.  

And: pulling the leather into place on the last and over the insole.

 With: lots more glue to stick everything down.

 And: a stiffener hammered around the heel over the lining.

 And: some cork to even out the bottom.

 Followed by: attaching the heel to the sole.

 Finishing with: glueing the sole to the shoe and hammering out any air bubbles.



Aren’t they beautiful? Not too shabby for my first pair of hand made shoes!

I’d definitely recommend this course if you’re a shoe lover. Nothing better than your own perfectly unique pair of leather shoes. Toni (Tony? Not sure on spelling…) our teacher was super helpful and informative making sure that everyone left with a pair of shoes even though we ran over by an hour.
We also got a cute little shoe bag to take our goods home with the truism “Shoe love is true love” printed on the front.

So true.

 Cost: £195 for the one day Ballet Pumps for Beginners class held on either Saturdays or Sundays depending on their timetable. The 3 day high heel course is £500 and next on my to do list.

They also sell shoe making supplies if you want to use your new found skills at home.


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