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Bespoke Shoemakers: The Best Sewing Machine To Use?

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Hello there,

this question is for any shoemakers or anyone with some input out there.

I am interested in getting into bespoke shoemaking and am looking for advice, recommendations, and input from those of you with experience. I have been doing plenty of research and am still unsure what kind of sewing machine might be the best fit for me. I have been looking into walking foot machines but i would have to say that the majority of the videos and images I've seen of people actually sewing vamps and uppers on machines using a roller foot rather than a walking foot. is this better for cobbling or are these, roller feet, designed to do things specifically that walking feet are less compatible to?

some other questions I wouldn't mind answered:

-places I can purchase single pairs of rubber, silicone. shoe soles that I could cement to shoes I make. (I want to work with canvas shoes too)

-tools: where to buy them, or how to make them. which ones are essential.

-suggestions on books, videos, websites, etc. that have useful tutorials and instruction.

- anything else you can suggest

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I'll give you somewhere to start.

Singer 31-15 or 31-20 or better with a roller foot.

Cobra 5550BB

Singer 52 post machine

Southern Leather

Panhandle Leather

Watch Lisa Sorrell videos on YouTube.

Crispin Colloquy


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Art's suggestions are good to start. It's a process.

Also, you might want to loose the "cobbler" reference. It's a derisive term to makers. Use cordwainer.

HCC.org for research. Some tools to start - http://www.unitedglobalsupply.com/shoemaking/shoe-machine-supplies.html

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Thank you both for your feedback. I will definitely give these machines a look, and online stores.

Art, I agree. Lisa Sorrel is amazing. Her Craft in America video was one of the first things that spurred my new interest in this.

Leatherimages, thanks so much for pointing out this distinction to me. It has increased my google search returns quite a bit as well, lots of good info and blogs coming up now.

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