The Make Den Makes Boots!

The second the doors were locked for the Winter Holidays at our little studio, Irene and I hightailed it to Chicago to pick up some new skills at The Chicago School of Shoemaking.

irene makes boots

After a 12 hour overnight bus ride (we caved and bought plane tickets home) we arrived.

The beginning of a Make Den vacation requires a few things. So we picked up our friend and gracious host Jenn and headed out into the world.

Step 1: Nails

After some extensive research, we decided on Naughty Nail’z. These girls were serious artists and we will most definitely be going back to see them again.

Step 2: Burgers

A post nails stop a Kuma Burger, where the burgers named after metal bands were as hardcore (and as delicious) they sounded. Plus the burger was a great backdrop to showcase Irene’s amazing nails.

kumaburger nails

Step 3: Bourbon

And Dahlilias to the rescue! No trip is complete without discovering a gem of a local watering hole.

Now that we had our nails, burgers and bourbon it was time to get to work. The next morning we arrived at The Chicago School of Shoemaking and met the owner and our teacher Sarah. The studio was beautiful. A bright wide open work space, a wall full of leather to choose from and so many cool leather machines to try! We were in nerdy crafter heaven, which is clearly the best kind of heaven.


The first day we tackled custom sandals and picked up a few tricks for leather bags. Both of which we are planning on sharing with all of you soon!

walking foot machine boots

But the real excitement was day two and three, where we drafted (with some help from our talented and patient teacher Sarah) and made our very own custom boots. It was strange to be on the other side of the teacher/student relationship for a change. But I have to say I loved it! Now I know what keeps you all coming back to our studio. Learning a new skill and coming home with a finished project is so rewarding.

Our last day we had one more stop before heading back home to Toronto, The Art Institute of Chicago. This art gallery is seriously amazing, and huge. We spent four hours there and had to run through Ancient Egypt at the end so we wouldn’t miss our plane.

Now that we are back in Toronto we are working on collecting the machines and tools we need to make more shoes! Now we can really say we make our own clothes from head to toe.

boots finished product

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