Shoemaking Group Classes & Private Tuition
The group classes are one lesson a week for three hours run over a 6, 9 or 12 week period depending on the course you are enrolled in (sandal, shoe, boot, or sneaker). As there are only four students per class it is a very one on one experience.
Private tuition is for a more intensive course, running over 3 full days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) of 8 hours per day, this allows interstate and international students to enrol on an intensive short term basis.
All students will design and make a pair of bespoke shoes for themselves learning all aspects of the footwear factory.
Once upon a time when the shoemaking industry was more prevalent within the Australian landscape the factories had four different rooms dedicated to each key shoemaking process. During your course at the School of Footwear you will learn about the elements of each of these rooms and then put them into practice.
PATTERN CUTTING AND DESIGN
All students are asked to bring examples of what they would like to make (magazine, internet, preloved) so as we can start with some illustration design and determine the shoe you will make for yourself. Once we have chosen the design a pattern is made on the Last (i.e. the wooden block). The Last is taped so that the shoemaker has a three dimensional surface to draw on and make their design. Once the design is complete, the tape is removed and flattened onto paper in order to develop the two dimensional pattern that will be used for cutting materials. Allowances are added to the paper patten to account for lasting folding and underlays. The shoemaker then makes a shell of the patter and pulls it over the last to ensure a correct fit and that balance to the design has been achieved. Any necessary modifications are made during this stage before the shoemaker moves on to clicking out their true materials for their wearable pair.
CLICKING AND LEATHER APPRECIATION
Clicking is the name given to the cutting of Leather by hand or machine. Leather appreciation is a huge part of shoemaking and can take many years to learn. Choosing your leather and cutting the pattern pieces in the correct manner is of the utmost importance to the finished product; knowing the differences between hides, their qualities, and their growth movements will ensure that you are selecting the correct leather for the style of your shoe. Choosing the correct leather will allow for a well designed shoe that will stand the knowing all your different hides and growth movements so the shoe will close and last perfectly.
CLOSING AND EDGE TREATMENTS
Closing is the process of machine sewing your two dimensional leather pattern pieces together and closing them into a three dimensional shoe form, which forms the basis of the upper. There are several different industrial leather sewing machines used in the footwear industry ( post, flatbed, cylinder arm) each of them doing a given process. Also in the closing room all edge treatments are carried out, skiving for underlays, folds and stich-lines, gimmping, punching and any broguing affects and all patten markers or balance points.
LASTING SOLING AND FINISHING
Lasting is the name used in shoemaking to refer to the process of pulling the stitched leather upper over the last (wooden block) and tacking it into place on the innersole. Heel and toe stiffeners are incorporated to hold the shape of the shoe in wearing. The lasted shoe is then roughed along the bottom to the feather edge ready for the attachment of the sole. At the School of Footwear we mostly use leather for soling and heeling with a topey finish on the heel for wearability, but there are other materials to choose from such as rubber, plastics or other resins.