Hi there!
First up, let me say that this new-house-got-no-broadband-connection situation is starting to wear a little thin… to access that mystical domain that is the internet at the moment I have to:
Borrow Dani’s laptop, bring it to the spare room, turn it on, connect her USB modem, plug it in to the router and wait – usually for 4 spam emails and my daily eBay saved searches – and THEN i get to go online. What a pain, but it’s only for one more week….

So, after just doing all of that AND cleaning up the spare room, here I am with another weekly ‘what has he been up to now’ update.

This week I’ve had 3 projects on the go, and haven’t managed to finish any of them.
At least I’m consistent.

Project 1 is the elastic sided boots to replace Dani’s trashed favourite pair :

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Stage 1 : Transferring (aka copying) the existing design on to a pattern from my chosen lasts (the yellow ones)

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Stage 2 : Change pattern so as not to copy the existing design, make a mockup (from vinyl because its cheaper) and test out the results.

Stage 3 : Find that the new design looks shit. Draw changes directly on shoe. Cut shoe apart and remake pattern. Repeat Stage 2 + 3 for a few days.

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Stage 4 : Arrive at an uninspired but working design. Decide that a front seam is not cool…

* Insert Quick Summary Shoe Makin’ Lesson here *

As I was aware, but chose to ignore, boots pretty much all need some way to stretch in 2 directions at once, or they pucker up like one of those shar pei dogs. The leather can’t be pulled over the top of the last/foot (ie from ankle to ankle) AND also make that nice sloping curve you see going from the top of the boot to the toe without some help.

The proper way to do it is to BLOCK the leather, which is a tricky process in which you essentially pre-stretch the sloping curve in to the leather by pulling it over a rounded bit of wood and nailing it.
The second way to achieve a compound curve (as they are called) is to add a seam to the middle = easy, but it looks, well, like it has a seam in it.
The 3rd way that I came across is to do an armadillo style split up of the section in to many half-moon shaped pieces, and that takes the pressure off, requiring the many little pieces to stretch just a little amount.
Whew.
So I got out the ruler, did some crazy maths and ended up here……

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Stage 5 : Make new pattern with no seam and no blocking required.

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Pile of discarded patterns and mock ups.

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… you see what I mean? Curves baby, thankyou Mr Chircop and Mr Carland for the VCE maths.

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Stage 6 : Sew an upper from real leather, add in some sort of red elastic and get ready to assemble.

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Stage 7 :  Add a sole and heel. Show Dani and get her to try it on. Ready to make the real thing!

Stage 8 : Make a pair of them, add heels, soles, lining etc etc. Tune in next week for that…
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Project 2 is still TOP SECRET – I’m making a costume for a dress up party and it would be no fun to preview it here to all my friends before I get there and bust out the associated poses and dance moves!

Let’s just say it is a bit lame how much effort an ex-industrial design student can/will/does put in to a costume.
Our friend Troy built this for the last one we went to…. so he is setting the bar kind of high…

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Transformer Costume + beer = Hours of work destroyed in a matter of minutes after falling over.

Next week I will have some D.I.Y photos of my effort for you all to see.
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Project 3 has been beginning the long road to designing my first ever range of shoes! Yeeeehaw.

I have decided that my skills are now past ‘super-amateur’ and are moving on to ‘capable’ and I’m thinking that just remaking whatever odds and ends my wife / family are after is not leading me in the right direction.

I’m pretty set on making Chloe / Chanel / Louis Vuitton style ladies shoes, so making another dozen Desert Boots is a bit of a weird way to get there no?
I will continue to cobble for the sake of it, but I think the time has come to get some designs down on paper, some new lasts and start prototyping my own designs. Exciting!

So far this ‘journey’ has consisted of 3+ hours of sitting with a scalpel and a stack of Vogue mags from the last 5 years and cutting out whatever rings my bell, so to speak.

The issue I have is that I’m not exactly designing “what I’d like to wear” as a lot of brand designers do, I am designing for all the well dressed ladies out there – so I will need to construct a character and demographic that I’m designing for BEFORE I draw up another page of directionless shoes.

I’m noticing a definite pattern start to appear in who I like, colours, trends etc, so that’s a start.
Next is to collage together some sort of “muse” and a big fuck off mood-board so that I can gather all my thoughts together.

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The only other thing worth noting is that I added some SWEEEET assed drawers to my desk. These used to belong to Dani’s grandpa, and were salvaged in a big clean up recently. I think i’ll add some Dymo labels to them and try not to rub off the timeless descriptions on there like “cold chisels” and “knobs”… hehe… knobs.

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Hopefully my old bits and pieces will have just as much charm and history when I retire in 40 or so years time, and by then these ones will have double charm as they’ll be 100+ years old and will have lived through 2 careers worth of crapola.

I’m done! Only took an HOUR with this banana internet connection… I hope you like the pretty pictures!

Listening to : Led Zeppelin.
160 tracks on random shuffle, its like one long never-ending album.
I think this is what they have playing in heaven, with some Faces and Tom Petty in the mix.