Of upper leather for shoes: it consists of two parts, viz, round and flat seams.
All grain leather is closed on the flesh side with a round seam, and wax leather is sometimes closed inside with a round seam. But, some years back, all wax calf leather was closed on the wax side with a flat seam, and all hide leather, whether grain or wax, was closed with a round seam; but now the general mode of closing wax calf leather is on the wax side with a round close, and set as if closed flat. Certainly a round seam is the firmest, if care is taken in the setting of it, that the stitches are not injured by the iron setter.
Round seam.—As the two quarters of the shoe are first closed together, let the upper part of them be placed even on the closing block under the stirrup, with the edges close to each other. Now, with a proper awl* and thread,
*The awl should be well polished, and round except at the very point, there it should be rather flat, that it may enter the leather with more ease; let the awl at all times be quite as full as the thread that you are using. For when the two threads enter the hole, and if the hole be too small, it will strain the threads, and free the wax from off them, and the wax will be left on each side of the hole, and the threads will he deprived of that wax, which should have entered with them into the work to render it firm.
Nor should the awl
be so full as the two threads, for in that case the thread and wax will not be
full enough to fill the hole of the awl with that extension or bulk for to enter
firm into the work.
rise a hold on each side in proportion to the substance of the leather, but never let it be too full, if it be grain leather, let the awl come out near the grain at the edge on one side, and enter the other edge at the same distance from the grain; but if it be wax leather, let it be split a little more than one half towards the grain, but not so near the grain as that of grain leather, otherwise. the outside seam will be too open.
By spitting the leather, the two rough ends will come in contact with the intervening wax that issues from the threads, and will form a solid firm seam. Let the threads form half knots, commonly called half cast, for, by that, there will be more thread and wax in the work, and you can draw the stitches as tight as you please without causing the leather to grin or tear: and in all kind of sewing, you should ob. serve the same method, except that of sewing down the heel of a man’s shoe or a channel.
The practice of closing the two black sides together cannot be so firm as that of splitting; for the two greasy sides of the leather coming in contact with the intervening wax, cannot adhere, from the natural properties of each: therefore, from the above reasons, splitting is the best method. I do not mean, from the above, that the wax is to issue out from between the seam in that quantity as to be always perceptible;—no;—but that you are to understand that when the threads are felt to come through the work full, there issues from the threads imperceptibly a certain quantity of wax, which enters into the ports of the leather and between the seam, as a defence to the threads in the work from wet and damp. Hence, the threads should be waxed at certain intervals to supply the constant drain, and to keep them nearly in the same state as when they were made. The necessity of paying strict attention to this article, causes me the more to impress it on the young mind as a very important part of the work.
Again to the subject: continue the same hold through the whole heel steam; and if there be any difference in the depth of the quarters, let it remain at the bottom, When you have done with the heel seam, the same threads will serve to close ‘the side seams, if they be of the usual length at first, about a fathom and a half. If the side seam be square, (though there are but very few of them now,) you must be careful to let the corner of the side of the vamp come up full to the angle of the side of the quarter, and begin at the bottom where they meet; and when you have closed up to the angle of the quarter, let a hold be taken in the length of the quarter right over the angle, and the thread on the quarter side be put through, and brought parallel with the length of the upper part of the side seam, that the corner of the seam may be square on the quarter side.
In closing the upper part of the side seam, let the quarter side be strained a little more than the vamp; and when you come to the opening of the vamp, be careful to let the end of the quarter lie straight on the vamp; but if inclined, let it incline down towards the edge of the vamp, that the upper part of the quarter may be strained, as it will last the easier, and fit the closer round the ankle when on the foot. But if it should incline upwards, it will have the contrary effects, bad lasting and bad fitting.
If there be a slit in the vamp to let the end of the quarter in, keep the quarter a little strained, and if the slit be not long enough, which is sometimes the case, you are to cut it so.
At the end of the quarter, stab a hole through the vamp, close to the last stitch on the vamp side, and let in the thread which is on the same side; then at the end of the quarter, about the distance of the breadth of the seam from the seam on the quarter side, let there be a row of stabbing to the opening of the vamp, and there let both threads be brought inside, and fasten them with a knot or a few stitches up the opening.
The other side seam to be done the same.
It is immaterial which of the side seams you begin with.
Is looked upon as neater than round.
If the leather be stout, you must
pare off about one third of its substance at the edge, from the flesh side; but
the inclination to the flesh side to be very little, nearly to a perpendicular.
The directions with respect to the awl, thread, and quarter, to be the same as
in the last article. Let the hold be in proportion to the substance of the
leather, but never very wide. Let the point of the awl come out at the lower
part of the paring slope, and enter the
other side at the same place, and so continue through the whole closing.
In the last article I mentioned only of square side seams; but the general mode of cutting shoes now, is to have but one straight seam to the opening of the vamp, and the end of the quarter to have two rows of stabbing. Be careful, before you begin to stab the end of the quarter, to let it incline rather downward towards the edge of the vamp.
If the leather be thin, it will not bear paring; therefore, in taking the hold, the point of the awl must come out at the edge close to the black, and enter the other side the same, and so on through the whole closing.
These are the only kinds of closing used for shoes.
With respect to
It partakes of both: for, in closing the tongues of cordovan boots, the hold in the leg is flat close, and the point of the awl comes out even with the grain or black side; but the hold in the tongue of the vamp is of the round close, and the awl enters in close to the black edge. Calf legs likewise partake of both kinds: the hold in the tongue of the vamp and back strap is round close; but in the leg it is flat close. The beauty of all kinds of closing is, that the hold is equal on each aide, and the stitches of the same length and regular. When setting the seams, you must be particular that the iron setter is not above blood heat, otherwise it will burn the seams. In setting the seams you should use a little gum water and colouring, which will make the seams smooth and hard: for without, the warm iron will not slide so well on the seams. But above all; be careful that there is no kind of cutting edge to the iron, but that it be perfectly smooth.
This article refers to the setting of the seams of shoes as well as to those of boots.
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