Now that we've covered some of the basics of last making - it's time to move on to the rest of your custom cowboy boot! After your last is completed, we will hand cut a custom pattern on manila folder like paper specifically for your boots. Many people believe that you can use the same pattern for multiple people, a "one and done" mentality, however the truth is, the top pattern panels must be re-cut each time in order to fit and balance with your foot and calf measurements. A boot is all about balance and symmetry, and the pattern process is where that idea all begins. For example, below you will see two patterns, for two very different people with very different measurements and specifications.
Once the top's paper pattern is complete, we pull out your leather selections. At this stage it is vital to thoroughly examine the skin for scars, holes, as well as grain and color variations. This process is particularly important with exotic skins such as alligator boots or lizard boots. You want the scales/checks to match up. This may sound simple but it can be difficult as no two skins are exactly the same! After this, we glue the pattern onto the leather with a soft rubber cement glue. We use a rubber cement because it merely holds the pattern in place, and does not effect the leather as it peals off with ease. Additionally, we cut the vamps, lining, front and back stays, as well as pull straps.
From here, we glue down the lining, all the while, our lead artist is hand drawing your chosen custom design on the paper top patterns. Again, this is all about balance and symmetry. It takes time, a keen eye, and lots of practice. For example, a lot of times it is necessary to balance a big inlay design with some top stitching in order to balance the boot out for a more succinct look. Additionally, stitching is a great way to tie in your color way. Below you will see a classic pattern of Paul Bond Boots, the ever popular Tulip design.
After the artwork is complete, the stitching and inlay commences! Additionally the front and back stays are sewn down. It is easy to gloss over this topic but for those curious boot connoisseurs out there, your back and front stay is what enables your boot to stand tall and not bunch up around your ankles. This is a must for all you boot fans out there!
At this point, your boot isn't quite complete, but it is well on its way - stay tuned for more details on the custom boot making process! Comment below if you have any questions or just give us a call!