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Sole Welting - Page 54

post #796 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

On sole welting specifically. I remember DWF saying that the current "traditional" method, hand sewing the welt to the insole and then welt to the outsole came to be around 1500. He did not elaborate on where, or by whom. I am hoping he, or others, can fill in the rest of the story. How were soles attached before that? DId one person invent this method? Did emerge from one workshop or regional guild? Or did the method simply appear in the historical record, with little or no documentation of where it came from.

As a guy who is never going to spring for a pair of bespoke shoes, not really my problem, but I find DWF's comments about fit disturbing. Like others, I would have assumed that this was the one thing that would be a given with bespoke. If not, then for someone who cares about fit, it would seem safer to keep trying RTW until you find something that works. Then you buy the specific shoes that fit, no mysteries. The alternative would appear to be to find a highy regarded bespoke maker, and accept that you may not get a really good fit until you had purchased several pair from the same cordwainer and together figured out just what to do to get a really good fit. I suppose someone who had the time and money to invest in trial pairs might consider this just part of the process, but how many people have that patience, and are willing to spend that kind of money?

If you can find that post, I'd be most appreciative. Maybe it would refresh my memory as to where I got that date. It sounds about right but I don't know whether I was quoting my friend at Colonial Williamsburg who sometimes posts on the Crispin Colloquy or whether I picked it out of one of the books in my library.

As for my comments about bespoke and fit...

First, a person goes to bespoke for any number of reasons, but except in rare cases,I don't think the first among them is looking for fit. I'd like to think that the search for excellence and quality was at least one of the main reasons. But I cannot think of any other product on the market where expediency and speed and lower quality raw materials are equated with quality. Where patience or impatience has such an impact on what we consider quality.

Nevertheless, over and over again people on this forum stress that...for them (fair enough)...price and quick access are the primary drivers of their purchases.

Coming back around, several people have stated here recently that they have bespoke shoes that don't fit so good...as well as RTW shoes that don't fit so good.

Think about that. When you buy RTW you have the ability to chose between dozens, maybe even hundreds of variations of fit. It's your choice. It's all in your hands. Why in the world, would you ever end up with a shoe that doesn't fit?!

Thing is, what seems to fit good in the showroom doesn't always fit so well after the shoe has had a chance to break in.

In the context of RTW some of that might be laid at the door of poor quality materials or faulty / inferior techniques and some of it may simply be that the person doesn't really know what a fit is, or should be (think about what I said regarding running shoes and perception of fit), and, as a result the shoes don't break-in properly or gracefully because the fit is "off."

Fact of the matter is, it has almost become a popular truth...worthy of Wikipedia...that shoes will always feel good in the store but not so much once the check is cashed. It's not about the money, per se. It's about what makers can do to make a good first impression. And no one cares what your second impression will be.

In the case of bespoke, despite any number of trial fittings, the shoes may not fit for much the same reasons. The customer is adamant that they should be in a size 7B when in fact an 8C is probably closer to actual measurements. But the customer doesn't want to hear that and doesn't communicate with the shoemaker beyond insisting that the shoes "feel" too long. And after making some adjustments, the shoemaker is left thinking everything is fine.

Fit problems are not limited or bound up with any method of construction. And neither buying cheap nor buying high will address those problems without some deliberation and some mindfulness on the part of the customer.

But the bespoke maker is at least trying to fit the customer and has to answer directly if he doesn't. The manufacture is just trying to make a sale. In the greater world of marketing even a hundred negative posts on StyleForum is unlikely to impact sales significantly...so the manufacturer doesn't really have to answer to any one individual once the showroom dazzle and glamour has faded.

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Edited by DWFII - 2/1/14 at 5:22pm
post #797 of 1641
PS...before 1500...probably mostly turnshoe construction. And remember no heels (as we know them) before the last quarter of the 16th century.
post #798 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

PS...before 1500...probably mostly turnshoe construction. And remember no heels (as we know them) before the last quarter of the 16th century.

Seems like a pretty big conceptual advance from turnshoe construction to hand welting. Did it happen all at once or did it evolve over several decades?
post #799 of 1641
I sure wouldn't want to go to any bespoke maker who didn't feel that fit was of paramount importance. I wouldn't be searching for some object of excellence to place on a pedestal and worship. I'd be looking for a shoe. A great shoe. And any shoe made specifically for me that did not fit exceptionally well would be far from great. It might be a beautiful and pricey piece of leather sculpture, but as a shoe it would be junk. Ill-fitting bespoke. Now there's an oxymoron for you.
post #800 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrybrowne View Post

Seems like a pretty big conceptual advance from turnshoe construction to hand welting. Did it happen all at once or did it evolve over several decades?

This may help--from R.A. Salaman's book Dictionary of Leather-Working Tools c.1700-1950 (I uploaded it large to make it readable--it might get bigger if you click on it)

It also addresses my initial uncertainty about my source of saying welts came about 1500.



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Edited by DWFII - 2/1/14 at 6:12pm
post #801 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

This may help..from R.A. Salaman's book Dictionary of Leatehr-Working Tools c.1700-1950 (I uploaded it large to make it readable--it might get bigger if you click on it) It also answers my uncertainty about my source of saying welts came about 1500.


Thank you. This is very interesting.
post #802 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


This may help--from R.A. Salaman's book Dictionary of Leather-Working Tools c.1700-1950 (I uploaded it large to make it readable--it might get bigger if you click on it)

It also addresses my initial uncertainty about my source of saying welts came about 1500.

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Turn-shoes with rands came about pretty early, and "Shoes and Pattens" (Museum of London) shows turn-welt construction from about 1450. 

post #803 of 1641
post #804 of 1641

With turnshoe construction did they make the entire shoe, then turn it inside out??? Was the leather so flexible that this was possible? DId they have to get it soaking wet to make it soft enough to turn it? Or was the upper stitched to the sole but not completely closed, inverted, then finished?

Rationale for bespoke. Great explanation DWF. I committed the cognitive error of assuming everyone shared my priorities. I don't know how many style-conscious women buy bespoke shoes, but there is a large group of fashionable women who famously wear expensive designer shoes that are implements of torture. So much so that they wear sneakers for the commute, then change into their stylish shoes when they get to work. But they happily pay large amounts for these things. I can only assume that men who are very demanding of the appearance and style of their shoes may resort to bespoke so they are not at the mercy of whatever a RTW maker is prepared to offer. Hence the SF interest in MTO specials. For such people the shoes have to fit well enough to wear, but that is hardly the most important issue. Each to his own.

post #805 of 1641

I don't know why this was posted, but it's like a lot of stuff on the 'net--full of misinformation and misdirection. The website itself is well intentioned but the page and the source it is drawn from fall more into the Marvel Comic or Nickelodean School of Shoe History than serious scholarship. It's the dumbed down version of history...for those who cribbed notes for their high school and / or college (?) finals.

My particular friend Al Saguto, (the head of the Shoemaking Faculty at Colonial Williamsburg and recognized as one of the foremost shoe historians in the world, and a protege of June Swann--past Keeper of the Shoe Collection at the Northampton Shoe Museum and widely acclaimed as the most knowledgeable shoe historian in the world) said this when he first saw the webapge linked above...
Quote:
“Sadly this propagates anew hoary chestnuts about shoe history that serious researchers like June Swann dispelled 20+ years ago. The illustrations look to be redrawn right out of Ruth Turner Wilcox, outdated (1948) ‘Mode in Footwear’. I’d say if this was a book, rather than a website, it might better be burnt.--e.g., shoes “straight” until 1850s, (symmetrical LASTS only dominate 1600-1800—shoe uppers still cut L&R largely); Medieval long toed shoes chained-up to knees, (zero evidence for, only one poorly translated ref to tying them up at all and that was supposedly to the belt I believe); 1850s hand tools were nothing like “ancient Egyptians”, and on and on….” D.A. Saguto

FWIW...

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Edited by DWFII - 2/2/14 at 12:07pm
post #806 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

With turnshoe construction did they make the entire shoe, then turn it inside out??? Was the leather so flexible that this was possible?

Fundamentally the answer is "yes" to both questions. AFAIK, hard outsoles weren't used until the very late 15th or early 16th century.

Heels make their appearance about 1590 according to June Swann. And with that innovation, lasts...which until that time had been rights and lefts...began to be made as "straights" simply because carving lasts by hand to accommodate the high heel and end up with forms that were mirror images of each other, became nearly impossible. With the invention of the pantograph...about 1800...lefts and rights again come back into vogue.
Quote:
DId they have to get it soaking wet to make it soft enough to turn it?

I don't know for sure---I skipped that step in the recapitulation of shoe evolution when I was a squeaker. But I seem to recall that in some cases the shoe was turned and then slipped back over the last to re-set the shape. So they would have had to have been wet.

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Edited by DWFII - 2/2/14 at 12:18pm
post #807 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I don't know why this was posted, but it's like a lot of stuff on the 'net--full of misinformation and misdirection. The website itself is well intentioned but the page and the source it is drawn from fall more into the Marvel Comic or Nickelodean School of Shoe History than serious scholarship. It's the dumbed down version of history...for those who cribbed notes for their high school and / or college (?) finals.

My particular friend Al Saguto, (the head of the Shoemaking Faculty at Colonial Williamsburg and recognized as one of the foremost shoe historians in the world, and a protege of June Swann--past Keeper of the Shoe Collection at the Northampton Shoe Museum and widely acclaimed as the most knowledgeable shoe historian in the world) said this when he first saw the webapge linked above...
FWIW...

--

So let me get this right...In an earlier post in this thread you made mention that we all have the right to comment and share. Now you question me about why I posted the link?
It was approved by:
http://www.cummings.com/history.html
I guess you consider yourself a bigger and better authority....as always.

Sympathies.
post #808 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

With turnshoe construction did they make the entire shoe, then turn it inside out???

Here is a video showing a turnshoe being made (by machine)



Important is a turnshoe has no insole, although a lose insole might be laid or glued into the finished shoe to give more stability. Most of the soft slippers (house-shoes) are still made in turnshoe construction.
post #809 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post
 

With turnshoe construction did they make the entire shoe, then turn it inside out??? Was the leather so flexible that this was possible? DId they have to get it soaking wet to make it soft enough to turn it? Or was the upper stitched to the sole but not completely closed, inverted, then finished?


For, say, medieval shoes, you sew the shoe (on the last or with no last, the last makes it easier but is by no means necessary), soak it, and then turn it. Carefully. Even though the soles aren't that thick, you have to be very careful not to break the stitches at the toe. You can sew the toe after the shoe has been turned, but it is a bit fiddly, and only really needed on very pointy poulaines and such. I have no experience making modern shoes, so I can't comment on those.
 

post #810 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post


So let me get this right...In an earlier post in this thread you made mention that we all have the right to comment and share. Now you question me about why I posted the link?
It was approved by:
http://www.cummings.com/history.html
I guess you consider yourself a bigger and better authority....as always.

Sympathies.

 

I know.  Unreal.  Thanks for the link.

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