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Tallukkaat - Winter boots sewn from wool scraps

 
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I watched this video twice now and am officially obsessed with the idea of transforming my wool scraps from sewing into some warm winter boots.

Winters here are usually wet but when things get cold (like below freezing) it tends to be very dry here.  I would have loved some boots like this with the latest snow dump.

The big dilemma I see is that I don't have a last (is that the word?  wooden foot).  I also lack a pattern.  

But it looks like a fun project.  
 
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I've been fascinated with making my own shoes, for decades, but never really pursued it. Last summer, I made a pair of very simple leather sandals. It took me a while to figure out the straps, for comfort & fit, but they're awesome, now. My boots goal is above the knee, and the only way I'll get them, is to make them, myself, because, while my ankles are proportionate to my feet, my calves are proportionately too big. This video makes the process totally approachable.
 
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Regarding the last - apparently the best way to do it is to actually make a mold of your foot, rather than use a generic wooden last. That way you get the real detailed intricacies of your foot shape.

I have a few shoemaker anvils that hold shoes upside down for nailing and repair, but I do not have a last either. Apparently making actual properly fitted shoes is quite a task. I looked into it a lot, though admittedly thinking mostly about leather. I imagine wool would be a lot more forgiving.

Shoemaking is on my "probably never, but sure would be cool" list of things to do.

Someone had a good thread on wooden shoe making as well. Hopefully it will pop up in the related threads, otherwise I'll have to go hunt it down for useful links.
 
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I found another video.   It is in Finnish I think,  but the images are clear.

At the end we see various shoes and boots made with the method including some knee high one

 
Carla Burke
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I'd found this one, for making duct-tape lasts, for wet-felted boots (which, I'm sure, would work for extending, the upper as high as I want to go) and I'm sure it would work for soft leather shoes, as well -but it's not exactly something you can nail parts together with for stability:
https://feltmagnet.com/textiles-sewing/How-to-make-Wet-Felted-Slippers-or-Boots-with-Duct-Tape-Shoe-Lasts
 
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Looking around, it seems like a pair of lasts in my size will be about $50 after shipping.

Pros of getting:
- I can make these shoes!
- I'll have them for future projects
- they look cool

Cons
- this is the first time I ever wanted to make shoes before.  can't imagine I ever would want to make them again.
- I would still need to buy the bottoms of the shoes.

hmmm....

But I do need new slippers by next winter and the ones I get usually cost quite a bit more than that (but last 10 years).

There are also plastic lasts on etsy for about the same price after shipping.  I don't know if we can put nails or tacks into them like the wooden ones.
 
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This looks like a book about the boots, but again, it's in Finnish (I think). https://www.booky.fi/tuote/milla_helenius/tallukkaat_valmistusohje/TALLUKKAAT



Google translate gives me this for the description

The instructions for making tallukka is 23 pages, A4-sized and it contains the working steps of making tallukka with color pictures and comprehensive text. In addition, the instructions contain a pattern sheet with sizes 35-43.

I got interested in tallucks, but there didn't seem to be any decent instructions in the whole country. The instruction was made as a thesis related to my studies in footwear design at HAMK Wetterhoff.

Tallukashan is a traditional Finnish winter footwear, developed during a shortage, made by hand from textile materials in the Häme - Satakunta areas. Talluks are wonderfully soft, light and warm and are suitable for both men, women and children. Tallukkas are Finnish tradition and culture at their softest!

 
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I don't know why I'm so captivated by this, but I've decided to explore this idea further by learning more about shoes and Finland.

My library has zero books on shoes or shoe-making.  sucks.

But it does have four books about Finland so I'll start there.  I would love more about the history.  From the little bit I know about it, I imagine it's the best place in the world.  They do have salted liquorice fish after all.  although the fermented fish products would take some getting used to.  


But back to the boots.
What would I use for soles?  

The house has hardwood floors so if I wore it inside, I would need something that doesn't slip.  I imagine my first attempt would be house slippers.

If I wore it outside I would need to be strong enough to not get punctured with a nail or a bit of wire.  I wouldn't be digging with it, so I don't need a metal shank like I do for my normal garden shoes.  I like the idea of having something a bit more flexible for daily use.

These corded soles are an interesting idea: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/115658513/


It looks like a pdf pattern on how to make them with some crochet involved.  

Rubber soles might be the way to go with something like this: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/1302137919/


I don't really know enough about shoes to know which direction to go if I do this project.  Thoughts?  
 
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I've heard of people using the sidewalls, and occasionally even the tread of an old tire  - car or bicycle. For indoors, maybe some flexible hot glue dots, or squiggles? Or, even small psyches, made of bicycle tire inner tubes?
 
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We still have some holiday activities to do before I can dig out my sewing machine, but I think the starting place is some insoles for my current shoes and slippers.  It looks like I could quilt some pretty easily using this technique.  Or at least it would be worth a try.  
 
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Carla Burke wrote:I've heard of people using the sidewalls, and occasionally even the tread of an old tire  - car or bicycle. For indoors, maybe some flexible hot glue dots, or squiggles? Or, even small psyches, made of bicycle tire inner tubes?



I worry about using car tyres as they can have toxins in them from the car and the road.  

I've also been toying with the idea of how to make them fit with the PEP BBs for boots or shoes.  The requirements are


 - Must have a hard sole
 - Must not use petroleum-based materials
 - Must be sewn, no commercial adhesives



It would be fun to use this as limitations for the project.

 
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So, a cotton clothesline, coiled into the right shape for your sole, and sewn together might work.
 
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I asked google to translate this page: https://www.opistostakasin.fi/topposta-tallukkaan/

It gave me: https://www-opistostakasin-fi.translate.goog/topposta-tallukkaan/?_x_tr_sl=fi&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc  

From top to bottom!
June 14, 2021

Tallukas is a traditional Finnish footwear made of textile. Talluks were substitute footwear during the famine and all the textile material that could be found at home was used for them.

The history of Talluks
Talluks were especially popular in Hämee and Satakunta at the end of the 19th century and later during times of shortage caused by wars. At the time of the Second World War, even farm courses were organized so that as many people as possible could learn how to make them. Tallukkas were mainly made in the home for own use, but also in mass production, and were sold in shops and markets. There were different tall models, e.g. boot and sock boots, boots and overshoe slippers.

Bulk materials
The outermost layer of the footwear was usually made of sturdy woolen fabric, for example winter coat fabric, and the lining was made of cotton, wool or flannel fabric. Soft fabrics were used for the intermediate layers and the heel part was reinforced. The outer fabric layers and inner soles were cut using patterns and quilted together. The inner soles were attached to the soles of the slats with small nails while the upper was pinned. First, the covers were sewn to the edges of the insoles, and then they were attached to the insoles. The outer soles were made from the stems and thongs of old felt boots, or the top soles were made themselves, for which different linen, cotton and burlap fabrics were used, as well as cord twisted from the linen thread itself. A small platform could be made in the base and the soles were fixed in place by hand sewing. This resulted in warm, cold and dry weather footwear.

In modern times, talukkas are made largely according to the same principles as before, albeit with modern tools and materials. But as before, old clothes and extra textiles found at home can be used for tallukki. The production of talukas is therefore recycling at its best.

In the college course, you will make your favorite tallukkas
With the tallukas and slipper courses, we have created personalized footwear that fits your own feet. The most popular models have been the Strapless ankle boots and strapless slippers, but boots with zippers have also been made. Fabrics and old clothes, self-felted blankets and industrial blankets have been used as materials.

You can see the booties and slippers made in the courses in the photo gallery .

Traditionally, a so-called wool sock spare is left in tallukkas, because when going out, woolen socks are first put on, i.e. töppös, and then only tallukkas. Yes, it's accurate even in colder weather! On the other hand, somewhere in the country, töppönen has meant a tall caste.

While waiting for the snowy frosts of next winter - welcome to Malmitalo's course to make your own talluaks!



It did a pretty good job.  I especially like this bit


Sources:
Out of Pula and Shortages. 1943. Untamo Utrio.
Some people. 1944. Sofa Nurminen & Elli Saurio. The Publishing House of the Association of Rural Communities.
Tallukkas - preparation instructions. Minna Helenius. Thesis Hämeenlinna 2011.
Sarka.fi. 12/2011. The tall ones.

 
r ranson
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Here's another project with some great photos.  

Finnish (I think) page https://tiitikki.vuodatus.net/lue/2010/11/tallukkaat

and google's translation https://tiitikki-vuodatus-net.translate.goog/lue/2010/11/tallukkaat?_x_tr_sl=fi&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc


These keep mentioning the war.  They never mentioned what Northern Europe went through during the wars in school so I'm more curious than ever to learn about the history.  
 
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r ranson wrote:I've also been toying with the idea of how to make them fit with the PEP BBs for boots or shoes.  The requirements are


 - Must have a hard sole
 - Must not use petroleum-based materials
 - Must be sewn, no commercial adhesives



It would be fun to use this as limitations for the project.



A while back, I bought natural rubber to make shoes and to resole a pair of my favorite shoes, according to the PEP requirements. Alas, the rubber is still sitting on the shelf because I haven't gotten around to making my shoes, so I can't give you a report on how long-lasting or nice these rubber soles are....

If it helps, I bought mine from https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaestroShoeSupplies, but it doesn't seem like they sell it any more. The key words to search for are "natural rubber crepe soling panel" (I think this link might take you to the original listing I bought from: https://www.etsy.com/listing/837585623/genuine-natural-crepe-rubber-soling)
 
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Here is a way to make soles out of a doormat http://crochet-craft-santini.blogspot.com/2017/03/door-mat-soles-diy-soles-turn-slippers.html

 
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Some more about braiding a sole out of jute or twine http://ofdreamsandseams.blogspot.com/2011/06/making-shoes-1.html

general shoe making by the same http://ofdreamsandseams.blogspot.com/2013/02/shoe-shortage-making-soles-for-house.html

and some youtube videos by the same



 
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I would hesitate at permanently attaching a sole to a felted wool boot. The insole portion of the pac boot liners always wears out first. I would make sure it was easy to repair that area, maybe stitch down the sole like a leather boot and add a replaceable insole?

Maybe the sole could be waxed shearling leather, the shearling wool makes excellent cushion and insole that wears well (I got nearly twenty years out of a set of moccasin slippers).  If you added pine resin to the wax you could get a not slippery sole. I would start with the recipe for beeswax cloth Saran Wrap and use about half the resin.
 
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Flip flops could be used for outdoor soles. Pliable leather or an old vinyl tablecloth for indoors. Low cost way to see if your pattern works and if you enjoy making them.
 
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the more I look at shoes, I'm thinking I would make an outer sole and middle sole that are attached to the upper (boot part), but then be like a normal shoe with a removable insole.  

Actually, removable insoles might be a good place to start as I was going to buy some, but maybe I can make some with this technique.  
 
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r ranson wrote:I watched this video twice now and am officially obsessed with the idea of transforming my wool scraps from sewing into some warm winter boots.

Winters here are usually wet but when things get cold (like below freezing) it tends to be very dry here.  I would have loved some boots like this with the latest snow dump.

The big dilemma I see is that I don't have a last (is that the word?  wooden foot).  I also lack a pattern.  

But it looks like a fun project.  



You are a constant source of inspiration!
 
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Apologies in advance for being so vague, but quite a few years ago I was entranced by reading someone's DIY boot project online. Their idea was to wet-felt wool into what looked like a super-thick, custom-fitted sock, I think, and then use what was essentially a big leather sandal over the bottom. Of course these would wear out quickly, but be easy and cheap to replace - just cut a new sole and lace it on! I still think about this concept sometimes, wondering whether that might be achieved with many pairs of wool socks and scrap leather. Hmm.

In a thread here on permies some time ago, someone was discussing, and I think selling, boots much like these tallukkaat. It might be helpful to search for information on the Russian version, called valenki.
 
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I have recently embarked on a shoe making journey. Partly out of necessity at work and partly because I like to make things. Everything I can actually.
Last making is a big challenge with several options to produce them. If you do want to tackle last making or modifications, this playlist is one of the most comprehensive I've found on the topic.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7VzDraQKY1eJmxGNbCW3pA50woay30jJ

Turn Shoes have a lot of similarities to these boots and I think the pattern making methods would carry over well. This is a good video on the overview of the process. I'm about 75% done with my first pair.
https://youtu.be/Lcdh7ISAmI8

One option to attach a rubber sole without adhesive is to do a recessed stitch through from a mid sole.
I really want to make a pair of these with a few modifications because it's nearly all natural products and can be repaired or replaced easily.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=4vkmJz5fTw0&feature=share


 
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C. Lee Greentree wrote:Apologies in advance for being so vague, but quite a few years ago I was entranced by reading someone's DIY boot project online. Their idea was to wet-felt wool into what looked like a super-thick, custom-fitted sock, I think, and then use what was essentially a big leather sandal over the bottom. Of course these would wear out quickly, but be easy and cheap to replace - just cut a new sole and lace it on! I still think about this concept sometimes, wondering whether that might be achieved with many pairs of wool socks and scrap leather. Hmm.

In a thread here on permies some time ago, someone was discussing, and I think selling, boots much like these tallukkaat. It might be helpful to search for information on the Russian version, called valenki.



There are a lot of historical shoes done with felt (usually about an inch thick) that last several years of daily wear.  The bottoms would be wood, woven, or leather and used for muddy weather.  But shoes used to be repaired before they broke so I don't know how much of that factors in how long the shoe lasts.  

I find leather soles to be really slippery and I've had a few falls from shoes with this kind of bottom.  The only ones I like are my medieval shoes that we wear with a patten for outdoor use.  



But if I do make these boots, I don't want to go the patten direction.  I feel something affixed to the boot would work better for me.
 
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I don't know how or what to use for a sole per say, but.... one can make a shoe/boot from a triangle of leather/fur, straps,  and fill the soles with straw from the inside.
When I was young, the beds were filled with straw (sometimes, with little hay under a pillow for the fragrance) covered with starched  linen  sheet

 
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Once I made slippers out of wool fabric, felted in the washing machine. When they were worn out I knitted a pair out of felting wool, again felted in the washing machine (of course first made a swatch to see how much smaller it was after the felting).

For both pairs I used the same leather sole, cut out of an old leather bag. The leather was strong enough so it still lasts. But those slippers are for indoor use (though sometimes I walk a few steps out of the door ...).

I don't have a 'last', I take the sizes of my own feet. My feet are fairly broad in the front and I have a 'high instep'. I don't think they are 'ordinary size'.
 
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On the subject of soles, you might have a look at espadrilles or "alpargatas." This is traditional Catalonian Spring & Summer footwear made of esparto rope soles (now commonly Bangladeshi jute). They spread to the Basque Country in the 14th century and became the most common footwear there also. They are still sold and worn quite a bit as light summer footwear and have occasionally crept into high fashion circles:

Espadrille - The English Wikipedia article (with links to other interesting rustic shoes from around the world)

Since espadrilles are still being produced, worn and sold, you can even buy ready-made rope soles (website in Spanish):

Ready-made rope soles (Spain)

There are other versions with heels, and with vulcanized rubber frames, more or less, protecting the rope sole. Since vulcanized rubber can refer to the natural product or the synthetic one though, and I'm not sure whether that implies petroleum products, the link above is to the plain rope soles, though you can find everything if you poke around the site.

I wonder if you got a double rope sole and just made the lower one very easy to replace, if that might not be quite a nice permie piece of footwear, especially with the wool uppers and insoles and such you're talking about.

Oh, and breaking news, in poking around a little bit I found some artisan Basque espadrille makers still in production, websites in French as the traditional center of production of espadrilles was in the Basque town of Maule (Mauléon in French), on the French side of the Basque Country:

Prodiso, a site with a lot of variety/design possibilities (in French)

Armaité - another artisan maker - this page with rope soles and wool uppers! (French)

You can also find espadrilles on Etsy in English it seems...

 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
I don't have a 'last', I take the sizes of my own feet. My feet are fairly broad in the front and I have a 'high instep'. I don't think they are 'ordinary size'.



In the video it shows how lasts are adjusted to fit the individual foot.  Back in the day when shoes were made for the person, the last would be a bit smaller than the foot, then they used leather and other padding to build up the last to match the shape of the foot.

 
r ranson
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More common with home shoemaking is to take a cast of the foot.  But it involves some chemicals i don't do well with, so a project for better weather when I could work outside.
 
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When I lived in Aspen, there was a custom moccasin maker who made patterns by wrapping the customer's feet in duct tape. These were then carefully cut off.
The soles of the leather moccasins were made from old conveyer belts. For what it's worth......
 
Ela La Salle
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r ranson wrote:More common with home shoemaking is to take a cast of the foot.  But it involves some chemicals i don't do well with, so a project for better weather when I could work outside.


You could make the cast by making salt dough.
(Then, you could hang the cast on a door as an ornament just for fun of it  LOL)
 
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C. Lee Greentree wrote:Apologies in advance for being so vague, but quite a few years ago I was entranced by reading someone's DIY boot project online. Their idea was to wet-felt wool into what looked like a super-thick, custom-fitted sock, I think, and then use what was essentially a big leather sandal over the bottom. Of course these would wear out quickly, but be easy and cheap to replace - just cut a new sole and lace it on! I still think about this concept sometimes, wondering whether that might be achieved with many pairs of wool socks and scrap leather. Hmm.



This may be one of the versions of what you saw - http://www.askaprepper.com/make-coolest-wool-boots-ever-easily/. The felted boot is made with an old pullover and some additional needle felting. The sandals worn with them here are of a simple design and though not made by that person, should be an easy one to copy.
Another version shows how to make the sandals, which could be made of different material. http://earthandliving.blogspot.com/2008/08/viking-shoes-tutorial-sort-of.html.
And another felted version with bought sandals http://terrysifeltlikeit.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-leather-felt-boots.html.
 
r ranson
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https://neulanhaltija.blogspot.com/2017/03/turkoosit-tennaritallukkaat-ovat-valmiit.html



Some great photos of making these boots.
 
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I love the Etsy rubber soles!! Thanks for that link!  

In the Olden Days they used really thick, hard oxhide...I guess one could stack several layers of "normal" stiff leather, laminating with glue and a strong clamp; then cut out the desired shape by hand with a coping saw...Might be too hard to do that for a stacked heel, you'd have to cut and stack and clamp that already shaped I guess.  I know next to nothing about shoe and boot making but it is on my short list!!  Thanks for this thread!
 
Look ma! I'm selling my stuff!
Explore the possibilities: Permies.com where you can work from home, on the road and on the farm
https://permies.com/wiki/209054/Explore-possibilities-Permies-work-home
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