I Can Make Shoes!

Have you ever wondered how shoes were made and if you could somehow magically make them yourself?

If you have then the I CAN Make Shoes course are totally for you!

As a massive lover of shoes, you can imagine how over the moon I was when Amanda from I CAN Make Shoes, based in hip East London, contacted me about attending a class. It’s something I’d dabbled in in the past a few years ago but never really got going with it.

I figured this would be a great opportunity to learn some new skills and see whether it really is worth making your own shoes!

I chose to do the three day Start Your Future in Footwear class which covers all the basics of designing, lasting and finishing a pair of shoes of your own creation.

You can choose to do a flat, mid or high heel shoe and when it comes to design, the sky’s the limit! Well to an extent anyway! The teachers are on hand to help guide you with what’s feasible to achieve as a newbie shoemaker in three days…

I stalked Pinterest for days in the run up to the class to get inspiration for my shoes! I opted to keep my design quite simple and used this for inspiration.

Shoe inspiration!

I wanted a backless mid height mule with some sort of bow/ tie across the front. I’ve always had trouble finding mules that I loved despite that fact I love that style of shoe so I wanted to take this opportunity to make some now!

In preparation for the class, I premade the bows for my shoes. You don’t have to but I knew I wanted to have some sort of print/ funky colour there and that this would be the best way to get that. I used the leftover from the lining of my silver Marion jacket and cut 4 long pieces to use as ties. I sewed them together leaving one short end open and turned them out.

Day one of the class involved designing our shoes directly onto a taped shoe last (the plastic block in the shape of the shoe) which was then peeled off to create a pattern for the upper.

Testing the position of the bows!

After spending almost a whole morning sitting in a pile of leather offcuts, I chose a nude/ pink smooth leather for my main colour. It was so hard to decide on what colour and type of leather to go for! (They also offer some vegan leather options if you prefer that.)

By the end of the first day we had cut out the leather pieces and lining and sewn them together as well as prepared the insoles of the shoes!

All the parts cut out and ready to sew!

Day two got down to the nitty gritty of shoe making – the lasting process. This is when we pull the leather and shape it around the shoe block to actually create the shoes themselves.

This bit involved lots of glue and as you can imagine it got a bit messy!

The lining is lasted first and then stiffeners go in with the upper layer lasted over the top.

The lasted lining layer
Toe puff is in place!

We also picked out our heels and covered them! There’s a variety of different styles of heels in the differing height so it’s up to you to decide what you like! I opted for a chunky mid heel and in a stroke of luck managed to find some suede in the exact shade of blue that was on my ribbon ties!

Day three took us through the last few processes of shoe making. We finished off lasting the shoes and once those were done we used something called cork bottom filler to fill in the underside and then glued our soles on.

The undersides are filled with cork

The heels (+ power tools) came next – these were the most fun to do! Each shoe required two screws to go through the insole board to the heel to hold it all together.

The fun part!

The last bit to do was to add some foam and a pretty lining to the insole to cover the screws and make them comfy!

Check out that pretty scalloped edge on the inside!

I loved this course, in particular, I loved how achievable they made it seem to make your own shoes at home. It’s definitely something I want to keep practising and I know they’ll keep getting better and better with each pair!

As well as this 3 day class, they also offer a 2 day Fabulous Flats class, and a Leather Sandal workshop as well as some leather bag making classes. I also have it on good authority that they are going to start a sneaker making workshop soon too! (I’m going to be the first in line for that class. I love sneakers!).

Amanda’s really kindly offered a discount for my followers so head on over and the use the code selfassemblyrequired to get 10% any class!

6 comments

  1. LOVE this post & your amazing shoes Emily. This course is definitely on my wish list. Hmmmm birthday in August!!

  2. Oh wow! What an amazing class! I definitely want to take some of these classes! I’ve been telling my husband for the last few years that I wish I could learn to make my own shoes, because it can be next to impossible to find shoes that fit me and I often have to search for months or years to find a pair that will fit properly. So thrilling that these classes are being offered – and can be taken online, too! Yay!!!

  3. Awesome! I’m amazed at what you all were able to create in just three days! I’d love to follow a workshop like this myself, but unfortunately I live too far away 🙁

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