black Oxford shoes, with pinking


I’ve made another pair of shoes.  They’re a bit shonky, dodgy and clutsy, and clearly home-made, particularly those rough n’ ready heels, but y’know what?  I LOVE THEM!!!

Pattern; classic Oxford shoe style, drafted by myself; my tutorial for drafting your own shoe pattern is here.

Fabric; black faux leather from Spotlight, lined completely with very dark navy cotton denim from Spotlight, the two layers are lightly glued together with PVA fabric glue.  Rubber soles and heels cut from black rubber matting from Bunnings, two layers of cork inner sole linings from an old set of placemats, black eyelets from Spotlight, black shoelaces and foam inner soles from Coles.

Details:  I whimsically pinked various pieces of the shoe, not sure if this looks cool or just emphasises the homemade quality, not in a good way, mind you, but meh, it’s done.  Actually there’s a little bit of a pinked theme throughout the shoe and the detailing…


Pinked edges to the vamps and upper edges, and below, the little bit of pleather that covers the centre back seam has a pinked edge too.


Inside; pinking to the edges of that half-circle of denim at the back of the shoe… this contains the counters, which are bits of stiffening to keep the back of the shoe stiff and standing up straight.  DSC_2691

Confession time, I cut my counters from milk bottles… yep, household rubbish; whoops! am I going to be booted out of the cobbling club now?!   😀
Well, our milk bottles here are made of a strong, sturdy plastic that I thought is totally perfect for this purpose… it is stiff, strong, pliable, can be cut very easily, coaxed into a new shape fairly easily and holds the new shape well too.  And of course; free! since it’s rubbish.  What’s not to love?


I covered the inner soles completely with the same denim so they match and blend in with the interior nicely.  The inner soles are removable, ie. not glued down inside of the shoe.  Inside the shoe you can see the long nails that I used to secure the shoe to the sole and heel… Not seen, but between shoe and sole there are also three shorter tacks holding the sole to the heel along the straight edge of the heel.  I did this because I knew this heel/sole joint would be the weakest point in the shoe most prone to coming apart under pressure.DSC_2687Sizing; they are moulded to my own feet, so obviously the sizing is good on me.  They are sized to fit my just-slightly-larger right foot.   My feet are a touch wide compared to the average so the shoes look a little wider than most you see in the shop;  actually I was so worried about making them too tight I think I overcompensated and made them just a touch loose… ! This is ok though, since I’ll need to fit warm winter socks in there at some point and at least they are very comfy and totally not tight!


How do they go with socks?  Phew, they still fit.  Yes, I knitted these socks too…


Technique and finish-wise; far far far from perfect but I’m still pretty happy.  Actually, all was going swimmingly in the beginning and I was very happy with them, then ran into difficulties and self-doubt, decided they were crap, almost threw them in the bin a few times; realised that, contrary to what it says in my book on shoe-making, shoe lasts are actually INDISPENSIBLE to shoe-making… then things started to look up and I got a bit optimistic they might even work out ok.  Limped in to the finish line in the end, in spite of a little glue splodging mishap on my nice black binding which downgraded my happiness factor considerably.  *sad violin*  and resulted in a decision to use my “failed” stacked heels rather than my good ones.  Those, I’m saving for the next pair.

heels a bit nasty… but trying not to beat myself up over it

DSC_2681Yes, there is a next pair in the works, sneaky-peeked here on IG;  I’ve constructed the uppers already and have found and ordered a pair of shoe lasts.  We’re all just in a state of suspended animation, patiently waiting, waiting, waiting; just for those lasts to arrive.


Final thoughts: pretty bad really, but they’re quite tough and totally wearable, even though not pretty.  Let’s just say, I’m embracing the homemade look, ok?!  😀
I’m anticipating that these ones will be hardwearing workhorses during winter; everyday things that I can just chuck on for day-to-day everything.  I think they could even look quite cute with tights and my little winter mini-skirts, a go-to winter uniform for me  🙂  At least I’m starting to get some confidence that I may just actually have a small range of wearable winter shoes for my Year of Handmade.  Woot!DSC_2632

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31 Thoughts on “black Oxford shoes, with pinking

  1. My first attempt went off too early, sorry if I am repeating myself. I said that you never cease to amaze me Carolyn. How I love to follow your adventures even if you lead me astray sometimes. It is a good job I am half a world away. I can’t wait to see your next pairs [because there will be many more, I know] and also your gathered skirt pockets you so tempted us with.

  2. They look great. We are always critical of our own work.

  3. They look so comfortable which makes the so great! I have difficult to fit feet (small and wide), I wish I had a drop of your talent to attempt a pair. Maybe one day. Bravo on the shoes, I’m in awe with your talent.

  4. This is amazing. I just can’t get over how you are making your own shoes.

  5. I just love getting your posts…you are so interesting/inspiring that I am nearly tempted to make my next trip from the US of A to Australia…where are you located actually, and also where is this Spotlight from which you get such interesting fabric?
    Getting to Australia may be only wishful thinking, but nice to think about.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Shams on 10/03/2016 at 11:38 pm said:

    Wow, Carolyn, you are just un-friggin-believable! Those look amazing.

  7. It’s been fun watching your adventures in making your own footwear. You’re a totally amazing maker of many things! Looking forward to seeing your next pair!

  8. LinB on 11/03/2016 at 1:11 am said:

    “Hand-made,” not “home-made.” Don’t sell yourself short!

    We still differentiate between “hand made-en” and “store boughten” where I live. To many of us, the old ways are the good ways; and hand-maden always to be desired above store boughten.

  9. Oxfords are my favourite winter shoes and these are fabulous. I love the pinking – it gives a really nice finish.

  10. I love them. Absolutely adore the pinking, particularly the back pull bit. They look like the jazz dance shoes I used to wear in dance, comfortable, sleek, plus that pinking. So cute. I am so impressed with your evolution as cobbler. You are so inspiring!

  11. These are so awesome. Almost makes me want to give this a go!

  12. OMG! You’re becoming a pro at shoe-making! They look amazing!

  13. There is no stopping you now, love the Oxfords and look forward to seeing the new improved versions.

  14. Amazing! Although you think they look homemade, they have a really appealing avant-garde factor!

  15. These are really great and I love the pinking. You are doing an awesome job of making your own shoes!

  16. sankati on 12/03/2016 at 12:11 am said:

    1. Love your out-of-the-box thinking. Shoes! Adventure is your middle name. Exciting idea, process and result.
    2. I will try not to complain about the high cost of shoes any more. They are a complex piece of engineering, and if they’re cheap in the store it means that skilled craftsmen somewhere didn’t get paid enough.
    3. I doubt I’ll ever make my own, but it’s fun to think that I *could* make my own shoes if necessary. Only because I saw you do it. Thank you for the confidence boost!

  17. as early attempts go these are quite good. I expect it is like sewing, once you get a bit of knowledge and practice you will be making custom adjustments and be even more satisfied. I have always though that making shoes would be the ultimate handiwork that I wanted to try and thought that it would be necessary to go to Italy and do a course. maybe not? although doesn’t that sound like fun?

  18. Eleanor on 12/03/2016 at 10:47 am said:

    If you can get hold of the latest Mountfords brochure there are some snappy looking shoes on page 10, at bottom, worth considering having a go at. Nice wotk on the shoes so far!

  19. My mind is literally blown off – you made shoes without any pre-made parts!!!!! ….

  20. I am so glad you took up shoemaking — I am planning to also, and I already have got some vintage lasts! I will be following your progress (hopefully in action too). Are you a reader of

  21. Edina on 13/03/2016 at 3:15 am said:

    Amazing, wonderful, great job!!!!

  22. Great job! I think you’re really improving! I started my first pair, wheeey, thank you for motivating me 🙂

  23. je n’en reviens pas !!!!! whaouh !!!! faire ses propres chaussures !!!!!

  24. Emily on 14/03/2016 at 10:56 am said:

    I have made a few of pairs of what turned out to be slippers, unfortunately, only one shoe fit from each pair, and if I remember correctly, it was the right in all of them. My goal is to make a wool lined oxford style shoe. I found the pattern on etsy, as well as some soling supplies – Shop is shoeology, she has a few different patterns. You mentioned a book in this post – what book is it, if you don’t mind my asking?

  25. Great job! This is amazing. Thank for sharing

  26. Brilliant! These are an inspiration.

  27. It’s so much fun to follow along on your endeavors and adventures and your go at shoe-making is so interesting! These look fantastic for a first pair, and your attention to detail is ever so evident. Your unbridled enthusiasm for all things handmade is so inspiring…. and contagious! Look forward to seeing what you do next. 🙂

  28. They might not be perfect in your eyes….but YOU.MADE.SHOES!

    BTW…is this site of any use to you?

  29. Not bad at all! Especially for a first effort. And looks like the next pair is much more polished. How cool to make oxfords – I live in them all fall/winter – so definitely a perfect staple for your year of handmade.

  30. It’s so cool that you’re actually making wearable shoes! I really like this pair!

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