Accademia Riaci
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Lara Blevi

Nationality: South-African
Course: Shoe Making
Program: One-Year Atelier Course
Period: Sept 5, 2016-April 25, 2017

After Studying a BA degree in Fashion Design in South Africa, Lara decided that she would love to study further and focus on a specific direction in the fashion industry. During her studies, she followed an internship at a company where she was taught how to make and design handbags out of leather and exotic leather skins.

She knew instantly that she would love to study further and learn more about shoes and decided to come to Firenze, Italy, the most famous city to learn more of leather art and shoes! She found Accademia Riaci and knew that the shoe making course that they had to offer was exactly was she was looking for.

Here she wishes to learn the highest level of shoe making techniques and to be able to follow her dream to become a designer with the knowledge of not only fashion, but also the art of shoe and handbag design.




Nov. 22, 2016 | Posted in Reports, Shoemaking , | Tags:, Reporter: Lara Blevi | Course: Shoemaking

Shoe Making 9-One Year Course 2016

My shoes are well on its way, although I find myself working much slower now as I am making a real pair of shoes that I would actually like to be neat enough to wear.
This week I finished the insoles of my shoes that have to be left overnight to dry before they are de-nailed and shaped to the last. I also cut out all my pattern pieces from my leather, finished my decorations and finished my lining for my shoes as well.
Next week I will sew my pattern pieces together and will then start to finally last my shoes.


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Here is my final mock up for my shoe with the decorations that I will be using. As you might notice the front toe decoration is a bit too far forward, so I will be changing this when it comes to decorating my actual shoes.


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When creating the insole for the shoe, you must cut out the size of the shoe sole roughly out of thick leather. These two pieces then gets wetted in water to become flexible and then dried a bit before attached to the sole of the last with needles.


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This is what the process looks like after mounting the insole to the shoe last. This now has to dry at least 8 hours before removing the needles and being cut to the right size of the sole of the last.


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After the insole is mounted, a piece of metal shank is attached to the insole and heel of the shoe and then covered with another piece of leather that is used to keep the shape of the sole steady to walk in. Here, Prof Angelo is showing us the correct way to shape the metal shank to the insole.


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To last the insole takes quite some time and a lot of needles! To hammer the needles in correctly, sitting down is the best way, as you need your legs to help you balance your shoe last while hammering away.


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Decorating your lather patterns for your shoe is a somewhat stressful and very time-consuming task as you try to do anything is your power not to make a mistake!


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We were very lucky once again this week when Joanne made the most delicious carrot cake cupcakes for the class. I think we can all agree that her oven is working just fine.


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Bernardo giving me a quick hand with my insole lasting. I don’t seem to get the hang of it just yet.


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Here are all my pattern pieces out of my leather for the upper of my shoe and all my detailed decorations done with a lot blood, sweat and tears (maybe just a lot of sweat!). The only decoration left to do is my front toe decoration before I start gluing and sewing my upper together.


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Joanne very chuffed and happy with the upper of her shoes finally finished and ready for lasting.




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At Accademia Riaci, we are recruiting Course Reporters from our students. The students who are chosen to become Course Reporters are given 10 % of the tuition as their scholarship fee.
The Reporters who have submitted excellent reports will have his or her profile posted on our school website for the next 5 years as an alumnae and will be able to connect with their business chancesafter their graduation.

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