Archive for December 2015


The first time I saw a seamless wholecut, I could hardly believe my eyes that this is possible. Seamless wholecuts are somewhat of a rarity, to my knowledge the industry has not come up yet with a machine which can mass produce them. So, until they do, a seamless has to be made by hand.

Disclaimer: This is just MY WAY of making a seamless. I could not find much about it on the internet, so this is what I came up with. There might be much better, smarter, “correcter” ways of doing it…

A few things are important though in my mind.

The last should be perfect, both in shape and in fit. The shape of the last is the only real design element. There are no broques, stitches or other embellishments on the shoe, so the beauty of it is determined only by the beauty of the leather and the shape of the last.

A perfect fit is always a nice thing, but on a wholecut it becomes even more of an issue. A bad fit will result in excessive ugly creases, the wholecut will show a bad fit without mercy.

The leather should not be too thick and have some stretch in it.

Recommended are brass nails because the leather needs to be lasted wet. Iron nails will leave nasty black spots, something which can be avoided with brass nails.

Making a seamless is actually easier than I initially thought, the key is that the leather needs to be “blocked”.

Actually, I block it twice. For the first time, I just stretch the wet leather over the last and let it dry.

This is just a rough stretch and I don’t use too many nails, important is just to put in the nails as far away from the featherline as possible and stretch the leather as much as it allows for the first time. There will be some creases at the featherline which is unavoidable – you try to fit 30 cm of upper onto 15 cm of insole, there must be creases and a lot of extra material….


I then put in an already prepared heel counter and block the leather a second time, this time using more nails and making an effort to have as little as possible creasing beyond the featherline. A little bit is fine, since this is not final anyway. Again, make an effort to stay away from the feather as much as possible with the nails. Since the final pattern is not cut yet and also the lining is not present it is better to be safe than sorry later and discover you have some nailholes where you don’t want them. This also the reason why I put in the heelcounter at this stage.


Why the heelcounter you might ask? First, the leather is being abused at the heel, it is being stretched to it’s limits and compressed at some places, so a strong heelcounter is a good idea. Second, the heelcounter will give me a clean line where the upper meets the sole. My heelcounter is skived next to nothing on the top edge but I leave it at it’s fullest thickness at the bottom.


Once the upper is dry, I take it off and pre-last the lining.


I turn the dried upper around and cut he pattern.


On these shoes I don’t want to use top beading, that would make them look too bulky for my taste, so I just bend the leather over at the edges.

Now the upper and the lining fit together nicely. I first glue them together so they don’t slip, then I stitch them.


I last the lining only and glue on the toe puff and heel counter. They are both polished with a deerbone to make them as smooth and perfect as possible.


To get a low and delicate toe, I trim it at the featherline. If I would do it the traditional way the toe would look too bulky and I don’t want that. I want the toe to look like this:




Since there is so much extra material from the upper, I believe the best way is to use a 360 welt.



The heelcounter is trimmed at the feather as well, it will give me a nice, crisp edge.







I glue the material which I saved when cutting the inside channel of the holdfast back in to achieve a smooth surface.


The shank is embedded in the insole.


The rest is business as usual, but I want to mention that I use a piece of strong plastic to avoid toolmarks from the awl.


And here are the finished shoes…