I learned to make patterns by hand. The patterns are based on a profile of the last. You can see more information about the profile method in the Handmade Shoes for Men book, or on-line from one of the scans of the Golding books that DW Frommer makes available through the Crispin Colloquy Library.
I have been thinking of digitizing my pattern templates so I would have a backup in case of fire, flood, mice or a disgruntled elf. Last week I put my pattern on the scanner for the first time. As long as I had it on my computer, what the heck, why not trace it out. There was one modification that I wanted to make anyway, so I thought, “Why not just make the change to the digital pattern?”
A minor change to a paper pattern template can be a hassle sometimes. It was not, however, as much as a hassle as working the whole thing up on a computer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally happy with Fedora and Inkscape, but whoo boy was this tedious! As long as I went through all that effort, why not throw a little leather on the scanner too? I proudly present for your amusement, the pattern for Pair Number 29. Actually, I was so happy with the way the image looked, I almost decided that the pattern was really all I needed. Why make the shoe?
I made the shoe anyway, maybe because I wanted to see if the pattern really worked. It did! No surprise, really, because it was still just a scan of the paper pattern which is already pretty reliable. If you look closely, the parts for each piece of the shoe are all there on the pattern template – backstrap, quarters, collar, toungue and vamp. This shoe is unlined. If it were lined, the template would also include the pieces for the liner. There’s a white border covering the bottom 1.5cm to help me visualize this as a shoe and not just a pattern. I’d say this digital shoe pattern is 2 parts old school and 1 part new school.