The manufacturing stages of Soulor

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Depending on the model, almost 120 steps may be necessary to make a shoe. To detail them here one by one would be long and boring for you, the reader.  We describe here the 5 main operations involved in making shoes at the Atelier Le Soulor.

Patronage coupe piece chaussures

01

Pattern making

The patterning of the upper is the development of a model on a last from a flat drawing, resulting in the creation of templates for the different parts of the model. In our company, they are made by hand by our “in-house pattern maker”.

Coupe du cuir à la main

02

Cutting

The leather or fabric cuts are made either by hand (with a cutter) or with a punch (for the largest pieces and the thickest leathers) in the most beautiful parts of the skin, free of defects. At the Atelier we do not use automatic cutting tables because most of our production is made to order and is bespoked.

This requires our cutters to juggle between the different patterns to optimise the use of each leather and limit waste.

NB: We participate in defining ways to recycle scraps through the initiatives of our inter-profession network.

For our most complex models (Ossau and Vignemale) this will represent up to 72 pieces per pair and 120 manual operations.

L-assemblage-la-piqure

03

Assembling, stitching

This is the heart of the reactor for us. The upper part is mounted on rigid forms. We have chosen to keep the assembly of our shoes by hand.

This is the case for the “double assembly” models or those with Norwegian welt and leather welt. This handmade assembly, more flexible than a machine assembly, will allow us to follow and modify our shoes throughout their life, if necessary.
Through this long and meticulous manual process, our footmen, experts in these ancient techniques, will assemble the uppers on the lasts “to size” or “to measure” using clamps, poissé thread (more resistant and allowing a more flexible assembly than simple nylon threads).

 

Le-montage-et-la-pose-des-semelles

04

Assembly and installation of the soles

This is the heart of the reactor for us. The upper part is mounted on rigid forms. We have chosen to keep the assembly of our shoes by hand.

This is the case for the “double assembly” models or those with Norwegian welt and leather welt. This handmade assembly, more flexible than a machine assembly, will allow us to follow and modify our shoes throughout their life, if necessary.
Through this long and meticulous manual process, our footmen, experts in these ancient techniques, will assemble the uppers on the lasts “to size” or “to measure” using clamps, poissé thread (more resistant and allowing a more flexible assembly than simple nylon threads).

 

formes

The wooden shoe lasts

Each model has a different wooden ( or resin) shoe last that defines the shoe’s fit. This sort of replica of the foot indicates the curve of the arch and the way the body weight should be distributed on the foot. At the Atelier we have kept a “stock of lasts” inherited from the 4 previous generations who have worked there. Some are made of wood, the most recent ones are made of plastic.

The upper will remain on its form for several days. The base of this “last + upper” assembly is made up of layers of leather tanned with chestnut bark (Garat tannery) which we separate into “first assembly” and “first cleaning”. So, when your foot comes into contact with the leather: no chemical products (vegetable tanned first layer), glue without toluene and poached threads (vegetable pitch).

After these few days of “shaping”, the “form + upper” assembly will be stitched (Norwegian welt machine or “small stitch” stitching machine). The last step will be the gluing the rubber, natural crepe, or leather soles.

Finishing

At this stage, the shoe is almost finished. The soles still need to be glazed and the original size adapted to the shape of the customer’s foot. The finished shoes will then go through the polishing station (cleaning, waxing, lacing…), and will be made available to the customer…. With a smile and the pleasure of a job well done.

 

Find all our shoe care product on our online shop !