Saturday, 26 October 2013

Carréducker Bespoke Shoes

I've just completed a course in making handmade bespoke shoes with Carréducker. It was an intense two week course, where Deborah Carré and James Ducker taught me everything I need to know to make my own shoes. Back in July I spotted a small article in Elle Decoration about the course, and that I could see Carréducker shoes in Gieves & Hawkes. So I visited Gieves & Hawkes in Saville Row to see the shoes and while I was there, I was allowed downstairs to the workrooms, to see where the shoes are made for their clients. I then arranged to visit their studio at Cockpit Arts near Holborn (see below) - I was hooked.
I decided "in for a penny, in for a pound" and ordered my own bespoke laste, as I knew I would want to make more than one pair. I chose a pointy toe which is more my style at the moment and the last can be slightly reshaped if I wish at a later date.
I had chosen to do the course because I make my own clothes and some accessories, but I've never made my own shoes. I was warned by Deborah that it would be really hard work and it would ruin my hands - and she wasn't wrong!
There were three of us on the course, where we learned something like 200 procedures including  hand-stitching the layers of leather sole with our own twisted hemp threads. You can read more about the course here. It was very tiring but by the final day, I really didn't want to leave. Hand stitching shoes is very therapeutic and at the end you have something so unique to you. I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity - absolutely the highlight of my year! 
Polishing up the almost finished shoes.