05 August 2015

Developing a Moccasin Boot Pattern using Prototypes

I thought I would share a little about how I developed the pattern for the current project I have just completed, my Moccasin Boots.

To start out, I am using cardboard lasts that I created from measurements of my husbands foot. I won't go into the details of how I made it here, but if you are interested in my process, let me know in the comments and I can make a tutorial for those as well. You can use any type of shoe last, provided it is the size of the person's feet who you are trying to make the shoes for. There is an intriguing tutorial on making cloth lasts, or if you want to try some sculpting, you can check out my tutorial for making foam lasts. Alternatively, you can just have the person try them on for adjustments. For the last few adjustments, I just had my husband try them on so we could make sure the boots really fit his feet well.

So basically I drew a pattern that represented my best guess as to what would be needed to make it fit properly on the last. The blue area represents what shape I got from tracing my husbands feet and averaging the two sides. The rest was a guess based on my puckertoe moccasin pattern. I basically just tries to add a little to the sides at the back to make it come up higher like a boot.

I then placed the last on top of the pattern, (the bottom piece, not the upper) making sure to match up the sole, and then sort of wrapped it up like a present and taped it down as necessary to get the paper to fit snugly on the last. I made sure the area on the top of the foot had a nice gentle curve, and did not overlap. I wanted plenty of room for the laces to wrap over the foot since the leather stretches slightly after wearing a few times. The tongue of the shoe will fill in this gap. I marked any place where there was a discrepancy between the pattern and the last. It is a good idea to use a different colored pen for this step so it is easy to tell which part is a new mark, and which part is from the original pattern.

The end result looked something like this:

Not too bad eh? I was pleased with how close the two ended up. I think the toe could have been left as is, but my last was just a bit taller at the front, and later in the process, my husband said he liked the extra wiggle room this extra length gave him.

For now, I just left the top piece as is, just placing it on the last briefly to make sure the tracing matched for the most part along the top at the toe. I wanted extra room for the rest so that the tongue part would have plenty of room to overlap with the bottom part of the shoe. I then cut out this pattern and traced it onto my prototype material. For the prototype, I used an old felted fitted mattress I bought from Salvation Army. I cut out the prototype, and then stitched it together. Here is how version 1 looks on the shoe last. I cut small holes for the laces to go through. I just sort of eyeballed that part.

I think I will stop for now and conclude this tutorial next week. Hope you have found this interesting and helpful so far. Please leave any questions for me in the comments section below and I will try to address them.

Here is a link to the next tutorial!

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