12 August 2015

Developing a Moccasin Boot Pattern using Prototypes Part 2

Last time we had concluded with a prototype to fit the shoe last.


Assuming everything looked good and fit properly, you could conceivably be done at this point. However, my husband decided he wanted a slightly taller boot, so i cut out a rectangle shape and added it to the top.



Next, I had him try it on his feet and marked any places where it was too loose, too tight, or just seemed like the fitting was a bit off. The main area of concern were the fitting across the joint (the area where the foot bends at the ball of the foot just behind he toes) and the space at the end for the toes. To fix these issues, I took in a little on the outside of the foot at the joint and took in a fair amount along the top piece of the upper.


At this point, there were enough differences with the first prototype that I decided to make a new version. The adjustments I made to the pattern at this point can be seen in green. I also marked where the puckering started and where the top rectangle piece would connect to the tongue. I have a green circle to indicate this point. This would help me to make sure I didn't start the gather at the toe too early or too late, and that the seams were lining up properly.


I assembled the new prototype and my husband tried them on. I trimmed the extra from the rectangle to and tongue at the top to make everything line up nice and even around the top. This time, they were fitting much better, though the joint was puckering a bit funny on the right side. To fix this, I took in the tongue just a bit more by the toes and  on the outside edge.  got this idea from reading this article from one of my favorite shoe-making blogs, Bespoke Shoes Unlaced. This seemed to fix the problem. I made lots of marks along the way and switched out pen colors to make sure I knew what was the most recent adjustment.


I cut out cardboard soles and sewed them to the bottom of the prototype shoe and had my husband try them on once more. I wanted to be sure I didn't waste all my efforts getting the fitting right if I managed to attach the sole crookedly! He tried them on and walked around a bit to make sure his foot fit on the sole and wasn't pulling the uppers around to the side or making it twist into an uncomfortable position. Here he is sporting my classy footwear at Burgie's.


This step I got right the first time, so I made sure to mark where the soles were attached around the bottom and called it good. I also marked any seam lines, holes for laces, and some points to line up along the seam.


I then disassembled the prototype and made my pattern. I added these marks to the final pattern and made sure to transfer them in chalk to the leather when I was cutting out the real thing later. Here is how it turned out!

Conclusions: 

I was very happy that I did not have to fuss with the tongue too much.

It is much less stressful and easier to adjust a prototype several times rather than the final product.

It was encouraging to see that in the end, the pattern was not altered too terrible much from my initial hypothesis!

I am curious to see how this pattern will translate over to different sizes, and whether or not I will have to start from scratch for each size, or each foot even. I am hoping not.

I am happy with the way I finished off the heel. I didn't really mention this part in the tutorial since it did not need much altering along the way. I did not add the flap that most traditional moccasin patterns have, and I think I was able to get a much more comfortable fit this way. I also kept the seam with the edges pointed out, and I think this was a very simple and minimalist way to add a lot of structure to the heel without having to add a layer of either stiffeners or an extra layer of leather to keep the heels up and in place along the back of the foot. Here is a picture of the heel on the final product so you can see what I mean.

Here is how the final leather shoes look!

TADA! CLICK HERE to buy!

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