Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 24 March 2017

Summer Shoes Spring Sale

Welcome back shoe's spring time which means it's sale time in the Shoe Shop

If you're looking for a great pair of summer shoes you can kick on and off the Winkers Resort Shoe are for you in UK sizes 3 - 12 including half sizes. Our Easter Sale Price £144 (rrp £199) 

Winkers Resort Shoes left to right - Margate, Brighton, Cromer

Winkers Resort Shoes left to right St Ives, Southwold, Pembroke

Winkers resort shoes left to right - Dunbar, Whitby, Broadstairs


A few of the popular fringed Crays are still to be had in sizes UK 8 - 10.5

In tan 100% Irish linen... Irish linen...

And blue Irish linen
Finally here's another glimpse of our new, more formal, evening wear resort shoes...designed to get you out and about in style this summer... from beach and pool parties to dining al-fresco. 

We've also adjusted the lasts slightly, so those of you with a higher instep should find a more comfortable fit. 

Croc velvet, 'hair-on' or dappled velvet

Dappled velvet, 'hair-on' or croc velvet
Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Tool of the Week - Narrow Nosed Lasting Pliers

Hello, once more to one and all. Welcome to this week's post. We hope you enjoy it.

Following the great response to last week's post on the square awl, we thought we would continue discussing our favourite shoemaking tools, and no, I'm not referring to myself here.

This week we are looking at our beloved narrow nosed lasting pliers, small but punching well above their weight

The ones we use are made by Schein and have certain features which we really like. They are really well balanced and sit easily in your hand. This also helps greatly when you come to hammer in the nails.


They have really nice sharp teeth so that you can easily grip the leather - don't take nails out with them as you will blunt the teeth.

And they have good serration on the foot so that when you are hammering the nails in, you get a good grip for the pliers.

These lasting pliers are ideal for those hard to reach places, particularly the toe. And for going between nails that you have already put in and you want to flatten out the leather between them.

They can also be used as your main lasting pliers around the toe.

First you grab some leather with the lasting pliers.

 Then you put the nail in place.

Hammer it in with the grippy foot.

If you fancy trying a pair of these fantastic lasting pliers you can see them in action in below


...then you can buy them in the Tool Shed along with loads of other great shoemaking tools.

 And that's all, folks. Have a great week and we will catch up again next time. Until then, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Tool of the week - Square or Continental Awl

Welcome back, shoemaking enthusiasts! We've had a wonderful week of shoemaking with plenty of sole stitching. So we though it was time to make the square or continental awl our "Tool of the Week".

A mushroom-shaped awl handle is our preferred shape,
as it sits comfortably in the hand 

The square or continental awl blade is shaped like a hockey stick
with a thick side profile...

And narrow knife-like top profile


Angle of entry

Push through

And out the other side

Left bristle through first, pull it back and slide the right bristle underneath

Pull both threads through together...right hand up and left hand down

Wrap each thread around your first two fingers and
give a firm pull to settle the stitch onto the leather
and into the channel

That's all for this week. Until next week happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Happy Students

Hello once more, dear readers. We hope you have had a fruitful and enjoyable week. We know life, love and work (most frequently) can have their ups and downs, but a definite up for us, at work, is having happy students.

We teach a lot of people from all over the world in the wonderful craft of handsewn shoes (it's not an art!). They all go through peaks and troughs in an arduous 2 weeks with us, but the one time when they're universally happy is when they finish their beloved shoes and try them on - such a sense of achievement and fulfilment.

This happened this afternoon with a student from the January course who had to leave a little early to go back to Japan. So she spent yesterday and today finishing her shoes. And a very good job she did, I have to say

Here are the finished shoes. What do you think?

The contrast laces look very cool.

We really enjoy teaching and showing people what we do and letting them do it themselves. And this is the result - it could be you! Go on, you know you want to. Next Intensive Shoemaking Courses in May in Brooklyn and August in London. Plus other courses throughout the year.

Akari and Deborah

One of the last things we do is give the students their certificate which, we are assured, are hung in pride of place.

 And this was the last thing we did in the afternoon and seemed to sum up everything we do at Carreducker - handmade shoes

More next week. Until we meet again, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Beauty and the beast, the butler, buffing, bespoke and boots

Welcome back shoe fans....all together now....awwww! What a cute chap he is. The cheeky little face above (on the left) is of gorgeous Pug puppy, Elvis, who came for a visit today, with the equally charming and energetic, Charles. What a great end-of-week treat!

Their visit comes at the end of a week which has been all about polishing! 

We were very proud to add butler-training to our Shoemaking School repertoire, as we delivered a short, but comprehensive course on shoe-care to the butler of one of England's great houses. It was very Downton Abbey!

We went through the names used to describe different parts of the shoe, the different styles of shoe and types of leather he is likely to come across, and the range of cleaning and shoe-care products available. We then had a very satisfying session cleaning, conditioning and polishing a pair of well- worn shoes that he had brought in with him. Sadly we don't have a before photo, but the leather was discoloured and caked in old polish. After much care they are returned to their original condition allowing the natural, deep brown beauty of the leather to show through. They will do their owner proud now, when he next wears them.

The butler also brought some beautiful riding boots to refurbish. They were real works of art and we were especially taken with this wonderful hand stitching around the inside top of the boots. Masterful work.

The polishing theme continued as we put a high shine on the toes of this client order. A classic Oxford shoe in deep navy calf.

That's all for now. We were sorry not to join the Independent Shoemakers for the annual conference this weekend, on the Isle of Wight. We would like to wish them all a wonderful weekend exchanging ideas and techniques and generally a great time talking shoes together.

Until next week happy shoemaking!