Site last updated: October 2020
Make Your Own Shoes by Mary Wales Loomis
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My local newspaper heard about what I was doing and came to interview me. They wrote an article about me and my shoemaking — they called it "Feminine Cobbler Creates Colorful Wardrobe."

After that, several other San Francisco area newspapers wrote articles about me and my shoemaking. I was also invited to appear on several TV shows.

For several years, I gave classes on shoemaking. I noticed that my students were taking notes, so I decided to write a book. I have rewritten my book four times, each time trying to improve it.

My book, MAKE YOUR OWN SHOES, is 87 pages and contains 81 professional illustrations, from making a pair of lasts (by casting your feet in plaster of Paris) for a truly custom fit, to making basic ladies' pumps. With this knowledge, you can make a shoe of any height heel and style. The last determines the heel height — I have several lasts for different heel heights.

The shoes are put together with shoemaker's cement. When I first started to make shoes, I visited many shoe repairmen and discovered that very few of them made shoes! I was told many times that I couldn't do what I was doing. Then one nice shoe repairman told me about using Barge® Cement to put my shoes together. This cement is stronger than nails. In the back of my book, I list several sources for cement and for the leather you will use to make the soles. Nowadays, with the Internet, it is easy to find shoemaking materials.

My best source for heels is a thrift store. If I see a pair of shoes with heels I like, I take them to my local shoe repairman, and he takes the heels off for me. With the covering off, they are just like new!

I use tooling leather for the soles of my shoes. It's easy to cut with a pair of leather scissors (which you can get from a shoe findings company).

Other materials you'll need for shoemaking are listed in my book. These include buckram, fabric stiffener, and felt for the lining. You'll sew the tops of your shoes using a regular sewing machine.


Dancing feet
Picture of shoes
Picture of shoes
Picture of shoes
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