THE SANDAL MAKING PROCESS
When you step inside our studio you will immediately be hit with a rainbow of leather to choose from!!!
Students then have the opportunity to select their dream design and pick out their own custom detailing and finishings
ie. Upper straps, lining, midsole wrap, hardware, welt and soling colors
Once your combination has been chosen it is then time to start taking measurements and trace your feet to create your midsole pattern that perfectly meets your needs and preferences. Once you are happy with the shape and size of this pattern you will then use it as your template to cut out layers of bontex board, leather wrap and padding. All three of these layers will then get glued and wrapped together.
Once your midsole has had a chance to dry it is then time to tackle the design placement. For this we use paper patterns to drape/wrap over our own feet. With this method students can easily choose the positioning and proportions of their liking and then once we feel confident with the overall look we will use these patterns to trace and cut out our leather. Once you have all your upper straps cut out, glued to their lining and stitched (optional) it is time for the official fitting. To position the leather strap in place we have students stand on their leather midsoles and then wrap their leather straps around their foot and then tape them onto the bottom of the midsole. Sometimes this required a bit of wiggling to get both feet looking the same but when you are finally pleased with the look and feel we then glue the straps to the bottom of our midsole.
Once your glue has dried it is important to then get the bottom of your sandal as flat as possible. We do this by skiving the leather with a safety beveler or xacto knife. The goal is the get the bottom of your sandal as flat as possible so you do not feel any bumps or lumps later when walking around.
When you have the bottom of your sandal smooth enough to the touch it is then time to tackle the welt. The welt (also known as randing) is a leather trim that walks around the entire circumference of the sandal. Pictured below you can see the leather welt has been died black to match the midsole but you can always leave it natural was well. For those who decide to use dye, once your dye has dried you can then move onto the glueing stage. We use contact cement to glue along the teeth of the welt in addition to the bottom of your sandals feather line edge. This glue requires 20 minutes to dry before you can stick the components together. Once your welt is secured in place we then fill in the hollow sections of the sandal base with cork and then proceed to glueing it to our soling leather.
After you have given the sole a sufficient amount of time to dry it is then time to trim your edges using a sole cutter or xacto knife. These two options will remove the bulk but will still leave rough edges. In order to achieve a nice smooth edge you will want to take your sandals over to a belt sander or dremmel and take your time smoothing them out. Once you are happy with the amount of sanding you will want to apply another layer of dye to seal them up!
Et voila! After roughly 12 hours of studio time students are able to proudly walk out the door wearing their own custom pair of sandals! Pictured below is Alix wearing her sandals in front of our studio at 315 Algonquin Avenue in North Bay, ON!
If you are feeling inspired to make a pair of your own feel free to click the link below to see all upcoming workshops and dates: