We have been designing and manufacturing quality children's shoes since 1870. A know-how transmitted from generation to generation. From the first sketches to the finishing touches, a model requires more than 200 different steps of realization. Sometimes unsuspected, always demanding. We wanted to share a little of our passion for this exceptional craft.
Secrets of manufacture
The drawing on form
It all starts with the expertise of the shape. The first idea of the shoe must be materialized in the form of volume. This step is paramount and extremely precise. The width of the shoe, the volume of the instep and the degree of front lift are all characteristics to be taken into account : at the millimeter! Then, a plastic shell is molded on the shape to allow the pattern maker to draw the upper.
From the sketch provided by the style office, the pattern maker will reproduce the upper on the last using a fine graphite pencil. Years of experience are necessary to acquire the precision required by the drawing on the last. The shoe will be identical in every way to the result obtained, down to the smallest detail.
The pattern making
An adhesive canva is applied on the shape. It will enable to transpose all the elements of the upper by transparency. Thoroughly removed, the canva is then applied in flattened on cardboard. After a precise cutting of each yoke, we obtain the shoe pattern.
The obtained elements will allow the cutter to cut out each piece of leather which compose the upper of the shoe. This include the inner liners. After the realization of the pattern for a given shoe size called base, the dimensions of the parts necessary to the making of adjacent sizes are obtained by scaling. Several close bases are essential to the realization of a sizes range. This, because the foot morphology evolve enormously during the first years. Each of those bases will be subject to a drawing on form et to a pattern. When the first sample is assembled, several fittings are realised to check the model’s shape and the accuracy of its fitting. We talk about « development ». The patternmaker will bring the possible changes to the initial pattern.
Towards stitching and assembly
To sum up those various steps : the idea is materialised in shape, on which the patternmaker draw the upper. From this drawing is realized a pattern from which are cut out all the parts of the upper. In parallel, the insole is also prepared. By adding the other elements which can compose the model, like the buttress and the toe-cap (rigid parts which are disposed respectively at the level of the heel and at the front of the shoe between the liner and the leather) or the elements of closure (zip, buckle, eyelets…), the model is ready for the stitching and the assembly.
All the distinct elements which compose the shoe are prepared, it now remains to assemble them to each other. The upper is the first part to be built. A last preparation step is then necessary for the leather parts which have to host a strap or a particular lacing.
The leather parts, external and liners, which compose the upper are assembled in the closing workshop. The stitching requires a great dexterity and a lot of precision in each action of the hewer to guarantee a quality result. The upper is then placed on a plastic shape, ready for the assembly.
The assembly consists to assemble the upper and the mounting insole. There is different types of assembly. Each one has its particular characteristics depending on the way the upper and the insole are assembled.
From the stitching to the mounting are chained a multitude of operations that we have not mentioned. However, each of them has a space required in the manufacturing process. For example, once the upper and the liner assembled, all the slices are tainted by hand, with a paintbrush, using a blend of natural colorants similar to the leather color. This meticulous attention paid to the details fully participates to the quality of a product.
The last manufacturing step consists to assemble the outsole to the assembly upper-insole which just has been formed. In the case of a traditional mounting, the outsole is fixed to the upper by a bonding method. We speak about welded construction. This one requires a lot of discipline and preparation upstream in order to allow a perfect link insole-upper. The carding, for example, is an operation which consist in sanding slightly the underside of the insole before going into the oven to encourage the adhesion of glue.
The mounting insole is maintained on the shape by the adhesive strips. The upper fits closely the shape and covers this mounting insole. The assembly is then hot-dip glued. Once cooled, this assembly is either buffed or carded depending on the need. A filling action by leather or cork complete this operation in order to make the assembly homogeneous. Then, the outsole and the insole are glued and put to rest in order to release the solvents. Finally, these two elements are assembled and the glue is reactivated and hot-pressed.
The finishing process
The pair is then cleaned and pampered by hand depending on the final appearance that we want to give to the leather. All these different treatments are called finishing.
The Boxing Process
Once the finishing is made, the pair of shoes is carefully controlled to ensure that it has no manufacturing defaults. Then, it is carefully wrapped in a silk paper and boxed. This settled this way the more than 200 steps necessary for its manufacture.