In 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.