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Feet are: Delicate, different shapes and sizes, ugly!

Shoes therefore need to be: Protective, adjustable, give support, breathable, waterproof, durable, decorative, sometimes cooling, sometimes for warmth.

Materials

Should be strong, durable, slightly stretchy, breathable, waterproof.
Possible fibres: Cotton,Polyester, Nylon, Polypropelene
Fabrics: Usually woven - Canvas, denim, corduroy, Fur fabric, velour
Leather/suede - animal skin
Plastic- manmade material made from oil.

Finishes

Possible fabric finishes that could be used on shoes are:
Waterproofing - Silicon spray stops water soaking into shoe.
Stain Resistance - Silicon coating that stops stains or dirt soaking into shoe.
Anti Bacterial - Chemical that could help the shoes to stop smelling, useful for trainers.
Brushing- A mechanical finish that raises the 'pile' of the fabric to make it soft and fluffy. Could be used on the fabric inside the shoe or on slippers.

Construction

Seams on the shoe must be strong and flat. Raised seams inside the shoe could cause blisters. Therefore the best seam to make shoes with is a:
Double stiched seam.also called a Flat Fell seam. It is strong, flat and decorative especially done with contrast stitching.

Slippers are made with plain or open seams which are often enclosed inside the lining so as not to irritate the foot.

Edges are often finished with Bias Binding to cover up raw edges, protection and decoration. Find out how to sew on bias binding here.
Bias binding around edge
Bias binding around edge


Wadding is often used to pad the ankle area of trainers and slippers.

Fastenings (components)

Fastenings on a shoe should be adjustable, strong, secure, have some 'give' and reasonably easy to do up.
Popular fastenings are:
Buckles- gives a range of sizes with multiple holes to do up in.
Laces (with eyelets, hooks or loops)- totally adjustable
Velcro - Can get fluff in so don't stay secure, sometimes used as a secondary fastening.
Buttons - need multiple buttonholes to give a variety of width fittings.
Zip - Limits the size of foot/leg that can fit the shoe or boot. If it breals it is difficult to mend.

Other components for footwear

Thread - used to sew shoes up, can be decorative - embroidery, top stitching
Interfacing - used for strengthening behind embroidery
Wadding- used for padding
Bias binding - used for finishing edges and decoration
Ribbon - used for decoration. as a tie up.
Beads/sequins - used as decoration
Eyelets - used as part of the fastening or decoration
Studs - used as decoration

Decoration

Decoration on a shoe needs to be hard wearing (durable), strong and quite bold as shoes get alot of wear and dirty. It also needs to be quite simple to make it suitable for batch production.
Suitable types of decoration are:
Applique
Molar
CAD/CAM embroidery
Roller printing
Top stitching - often in a contrasting colour


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