Stitchdown Or Turnout Shoes

This is a great course for beginning shoemakers.

7 Day Workshop Course
For many years we have taught Renaissance Moccasins, an unlasted, side-entry boot usually made from bull hide or American Bison leather. Frankly, they can be unique and stunning. On the other hand, moccasins are extremely difficult to cut out and skive, are made inside-out and very difficult to turn, have some monster seams to negotiate, and are a little dated and “folksy” for most people’s taste.

So, what to do?

Why not teach stitch down construction?

Just about any low-heeled shoes style can be made using stitchdown construction (think of Rockports, Wallabees, Clark’s Desert Boots) including heavy boots, hiking boots, lightweight casuals of all kinds, renaissance style shoes and boots, and even children’s shoes.

Great examples of this construction can be viewed at: conkershoes.com.

What is unique about the stitchdown construction method?

Instead of the upper being tucked UNDER the sole and sewn to or glued to the insole, the upper is turned OUT, therefore enabling the maker to easily hand stitch the upper to the insole, midsole and outsole.

Stitchdowns do not require a heavy walking foot sewing machine as with Renaissance Mocs and all the sole work can be easily done by hand. Using our techniques, they can be refined and dressy or casual and laid back.

In addition, stitchdown construction lends itself more easily to the new water based, solvent free adhesives. While there have been great improvements in safety using traditional adhesives, many shoemakers would prefer to limit exposure to harmful fumes*.

*Note: Our school has a fume extraction system second to none. No matter which type of adhesive you use, we maintain a safe working environment.

Stitchdowns are the perfect shoe for the hobbyist who wants to make real shoes at home that look professional with minimal investment in time, skills, and money.

A Great Introduction to Shoemaking

Should you find yourself captivated by this time honored construction method, it is a short step to our Men’s Dress Shoes Class (for both men and women), Advanced Men’s Class, Hiking Boots, or even our Western Bootmaking three-week class. And, if you were thinking of making a ballet flat in our High Heel Fashion Pump, this Stitchdown Class could be a sensible, alternate choice.

Dates: See Registration page for current workshop dates »

Cost: $1975.00
All materials provided.

Class Duration: 7 days

Prerequisites: No prior shoemaking experience is necessary.

Class Schedule

(one hour for lunch)
DAY 1: 8:30am-5:30pm, Basics

  • Measuring your feet
  • Discussion of styling, what works/what doesn’t, review of several different classic styles
  • Choosing your last and altering, if necessary

DAY 2: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Basics

  • Taping your last
  • Discussion of styling, what works/what doesn’t, review of several different classic styles
  • Begin our discussion of pattern making and design on the last

Day 3: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Patterns and Parts

  • Taping your last
  • Creating mean form (paper representation of both sides of the last averaged)
  • Assessment of your skill level and style selection
  • Stylizing of your pattern
  • Turning your patterns into working patterns with seam and lasting allowances
  • Cutting of the parts of your shoe
  • Skiving (thin the edges) of appropriate parts, turn edges, perforate, gimp (serrate) edges.

Day 4: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Assembly and Lasting

  • You continue and complete assembling your shoes
  • Create your insoles
  • Last shoes (stretch leather over the shoe forms)

Day 5: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Stiffeners and Lasting

  • Cement liners to insole
  • You create and cement the stiffeners at the heel and toe
  • You re-last the heel and toe, cementing the uppers to the liner and insole

Day 6: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Sole Attachment

  • Hand-stitch your precut sole to the shoe bottom
  • Dye, wax, and finish your sole edges (several methods demonstrated)

Day 7: 8:30am – 5:30pm We’ve got a shoe!

  • Attach and finish your heels
  • Clean up and polish, learning professional finishing techniques.
  • Group discussion and positive critique
  • Group and individual photos, shoe photos
  • Distribution of class notes and source list

Go to Shoemaking Workshop Registration page

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