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Hand-Made

Be the cobbler.

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Ralston health shoe for men and women., Digital ID 1541683, New York Public LibraryIn no particular order, here are some recent gleanings on the theme of making one’s own shoes. Simple Shoes has created a diy shoe kit. This kit comes in different colors, and it lets you be the cobbler. Such a shortcut might feel a bit like a halfway measure, though, for people who are truly obsessed with the artisanry of shoe-making. Those people include Daniel Day-Lewis, of course.

Would aspiring shoemakers have been part of the readership of Vogue Pattern Book in the mid-sixties, though? In a series of issues I recently examined, there are recurring advertisements for a mail-order booklet that will teach one a “simplified shoemaking method” that will enable a woman to have “a pair of shoes to match every outfit.” Sounds like too many shoes to me, but I have a small closet. Plus, I’m not really shoe obsessed–in spite of multiple postings on the subject. The booklet’s author, Mary Lofthus Wales, promises: “Any woman who sews can make her own shoes,” but I personally am not really convinced that I would be up for such a challenge. Ads like this, flanking the introductory and closing pages of each issue of Vogue Pattern Book, provide an intriguing view of home sewers as a market audience. And NYPL’s run of Vogue Pattern Book stretches for about half a century.

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