We just returned from our second trip to Portland, visiting Mike Friton who is currently helping us with the slipper pattern, indoor and outdoor sole.
Kaye & Mike have been working on ironing out our slipper pattern to ensure the slipper has a round toe at the front (it was edgy before) and a nice neat finish at the back. Whilst our pattern is called the “Simplicity Pattern”, with it being made out of one piece of fabric, the pattern is not quite as simple when it comes to sewing it together in all the right ways to make it a snug fit with a polished look and no excess material.
We feel Mike has done an amazing job in advancing our slipper and taking it to the next level. We now just need to learn how to grade the pattern to all the different sizes.
Rachael Noon, who has designed a cheerleader shoe and has been working alongside Mike in the past as an apprentice, has been giving Kaye an introduction into Adobe Illustrator to use for Pattern Making and Grading.
Steph aka “Silicone Woman” and Dani have been working on testing adhesives and choosing material for our insole and indoor sole. Their job was to test which adhesives bond best with our Harris Tweed, Anthill and Guatemalan fabric by putting a small strip of fabric with the adhesive in the Heat Press. This allows the adhesive to melt and bond together with the fabric by applying pressure.
Steph and Dani also experimented with various fabrics for the indoor sole, from rubber to synthetic leather. At one point they even played with Silicone. Steph looked so confident with the Silicone in her hand as if she’s been decorating a cake. That’s how she got the name “Silicone Women”.
We called our slippers jokingly “Panini Slippers” since the slippers came out flat after we put them in the heat press. You can see what tough a job this was getting the slipper and indoor sole to bond together. Steph and Dani have been sweating while applying pressure to the slippers. Okay, we’ve been slightly exaggerating, no actual sweat was shed.
No worries, our slippers won’t actually look flat in the end.
To give ourselves a break from all the hard work, we went to the Nike Campus at the end of our second day to buy ourselves and our family, discounted Nike shoes. This is us with our “tiny shopping trolley” and our “small purchases”. We finished the day with a yummy Vegan Chocolate Cake. Yes making slippers is a tough job.
On our last day in Portland, we browsed through the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store which is located next to Mike’s workshop. The store makes their own woven fabrics with Native American patterns. We couldn’t resist to take a few Pendleton fabrics with us to use for more high end premium slippers. Having come back from Portland we’re now focusing on what fabrics and designs to use for our first batch of slippers and cuffs. We’ll also be setting up a small production line in our newly found workshop space in the next upcoming weeks (more on that another time), getting our work flows nailed from start to finish, sourcing fabrics for insock and indoor sole, getting the pattern graded to different sizes and get a bunch of testers together to test our slippers before they are ready to go out in public. Not to forget we need to design our logo, decide on packaging and create little tags for our slipper quotes.
Our aim is to have our first batch of slippers ready for the Wordcamp Edinburgh Event Iain is hosting on the 20 & 21st November in Edinburgh, as well as have a batch of slippers to sell and pre-order at the Tenterden Christmas market in Kent on the 05th December. Watch out for more details in the coming weeks on how to purchase and pre order your pair of slippers in time for x-mas.
The countdown has begun, 71 days til we need our first batch of slippers ready. That’s exactly 1720 hours or 103222 minutes or 6193331 seconds…but hey, who is counting 🙂