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Posts Tagged ‘made-to-measure’

It has been a year since I made my first pair of shoes by hand. I’ve completed three sessions of the Shoemaking Evening Class at Prescott & Mackay – the two pairs below were made during this period. I’ve gained a lot of confidence on my shoemaking skills via these courses. Some of the students might ask why they can still feel uncomfortable wearing their handmade shoes. Shouldn’t all the handmade shoes be super comfy?

从做出自己的第一双手工鞋到现在已经一年多了。我完成了P&M的三个晚间制鞋课程,下面这两双鞋子就是在此期间做的。觉得自己已经比较好地掌握了手工做鞋的大部分要领。有同学会发现,我都已经从头到尾自己动手做鞋了,为什么鞋子还是会有不舒服的地方呢?不是说手工鞋应该是最舒服的吗?

Flat Fishskin Shoes made by Florrie 

Kid skin Shoes made by Florrie
The answer to this question is the shoe last. The lasts are supposed to reflect the shape of human feet, so someone can easily feel uncomfortable if the last of his shoe doens’t duplicate his foot, which is a common case. Before we attend the advanced course, we can control the materials and style of the shoe, such as choosing our own leather, drawing our own design, and assembling the shoes ourselves, but the shoe lasts we use are still the standard ones.  They might have thousands of differences with our own feet, not to mention the fact that they mirror each other, while none of us have completely symmetrical feet.  Why Salvatore Ferragamo’s shoes were so famous for being comfotable? Of course it was because he tailor-made the lasts for those celebrities.  

这个问题的回答就在于鞋楦。鞋楦,概括来说是人脚的尺寸复制,如果你做鞋时使用的鞋楦并不是你的脚的复制品,那么当然舒服度有限。在没有参加高级课程之前,我们能够控制的只是鞋子使用的原材料(你可以亲自挑选上好的皮,自己设计鞋子的款式,颜色搭配,然后动手把鞋子的各部分组装完成),但所使用的鞋楦仍然是市场上能够买得到的标准版本,这些标准鞋楦的长、宽、高都和你真正的两只脚有十万种细微的差距,更不用说两只鞋楦完全呈镜面对称这一点,是如何影响脚有大小的同学的舒适度的。意大利近代鞋匠名师Ferragamo做的鞋之所以如此出了名的舒适,当然是因为他为每个订制鞋的名人都量体定制了鞋楦。放眼现今的世界,除了十个手指头都数得过来的那些订制鞋专家,还有哪个奢侈品牌卖鞋之前先给客人量双脚做鞋楦?

Salvatore Ferragamo in its workshop with the lasts - 1955

The second important reason for painful shoes are down to the materials. Except for those sandals which expose the wearers’ toes and back heels, bespoke shoes all use carefully selected vege-tanned leather to make the toe puff, counter stiffener, insoles, soles and heels (People who have taken P&M’s courses will understand what I am talking about! :p).  However, non-bespoke shoes use self-adhesive non-woven for toe puffs and counter stiffeners, pressed cellulosic paper board for the insole, resin for the soles and plastic or wood for the heels…How big the differences are!

导致鞋子不舒服的第二重要原因还是材料。除了露趾露后跟的凉鞋以外,定制的鞋子的鞋包头、后踵里衬、内底、甚至鞋跟和鞋底全部都是由精挑细选部位的植鞣皮制作,而非定制的鞋子的鞋包头和后踵里衬是自粘型的无纺布,内底是冲压纸板,鞋底是树脂,鞋跟是塑料加皮包面,或者木头。差别是有多么大呀..

So I booked onto the Advanced Shoemaking Course at P&M: Made-to-Measure. This is the only sort of ultimate course I can find in the market. The tutor is Sebastian Tarek, who has rich experience in artisan bespoke shoemaking and coming from the 18th generation shoe maker family background. One pair of his bespoke shoes start from £2,000.  

于是P&M的这个高级课程无疑是目前市场上能找到的手工鞋终极课程。老师是已经有十年高级定制制鞋经验的Sebastian Tarek,他的定制鞋子两千英镑起。

Simple Oxford by Sebastian

The course has two modules with three days in the first module and two days in the second. At the beginning of the first module the tutor taught us how to measure people’s feet. The picture below is the shape of my feet, with the right one slightly bigger than the left one, which is normal.

课程分两个阶段,第一阶段三天,第二阶段两天。第一阶段一开始老师就教我们如何测量脚的尺寸。这是我的双脚轮廓,右脚比左脚大——很正常,老师说没有谁的两只脚是完全一样的,谁要是一样,那他可能不是人,是阿凡达。

Shape of My Feet
 The next step is to duplicate these measurements onto the shoe lasts. We use cork sheet to do the scuplture. After a half-day’s cutting, rough rasping and sanding, the width and depth of the lasts finally meet my measurements.

测量好尺寸以后,就要把这些尺寸复制到鞋楦上了。我们用可塑性很强的软木塞板来实现这个过程。经过整整半天的切削、粗磨、精磨,鞋楦的宽和深度终于和我的脚的尺寸一致了……

Altering The Last

Once solving the issue of the lasts, we move to the components of a shoe: the insole, toe puff and counter stiffener (in Module 1).  The material for insole is very thick vege-tanned calf skin but relatively soft, whilst the toe puff and counter stiffener use the belly part of the leather, which is much stiffer. Before putting these components onto the last we need to hand-skive the edge, which is the most tiring part for me.

鞋楦的问题解决以后,就开始学习制作全皮的各种配件。在第一阶段里我们学做鞋内底、鞋包头和后踵里衬。鞋内底的原材料是很厚的牛皮的肩膀部位,而鞋包头和后踵衬是稍微柔软一些的肚腹部位。在给这些部件上楦之前都要先人手削薄边缘,这对我来说是最累的部分。

As the focus of this class is made-to-measure instead of designing fancy shoes, I briefly make a pattern of a very simple court shoe, cut a piece of silver leather and complete the closing of upper as soon as possible, then waiting for lasting.  

为了专注于手工量体的主题,鞋子的式样不是这门课的重点,所以以简洁为主。我就使用一块银色小牛皮设计了一个最简单的样式,以最快的速度做好了纸样,裁好皮并缝制,就等着结合配件上楦了。

lasting the leather toe puff

After lasting, the first module of this course is competed. Two weeks later we are going to have the second module of this course, in which we will do the fittings and make the soles and heels with leather. So excited! I have to say lasting the all-leather shoe feels so good, and the shoes there have so much more contents as if they are telling stories, which the artificial shoes have nothing to compare to.

最后就是上楦了。整只鞋上好楦以后,第一阶段完成。两周以后的第二阶段课程里我们要学习调整鞋的尺寸,用皮制作鞋底和鞋跟。不得不说全部采用皮料的鞋子上起楦来手感妙得难以言传,捧在手中凝重踏实,和使用人工材料不可同日而语。这就是我的作品上好楦的样子,看着它们好像看着自己的双脚,感觉真奇妙~

The Lasted Shoes - Module 1

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