Day Two, Oklahoma Boots

Day Two: the making of the Oklahoma Boots which are now part of the Oklahoma State Capitol permanent art collection

The Oklahoma boots have a one-piece top; instead of a seam up each side of the boot there’s a single seam in the center back. Omitting the side seam provides two large areas for design. With a normal side seam construction, the area for design is kind of an H shape because the top dips down and the tongue reaches up, narrowing the center design space. Squeezing the Capitol or the flag into the space between the top band and the tongue would have been difficult.

Original design sketch for the Oklahoma State boots. The red tail hawk feather was replaced by a frog on the actual boots.
This is what an actual design pattern looks like. I’ve stitched the design into the poster board with no thread in the needle, to create little holes for the pattern markings.
The very first part of the boots I did in leather were the top bands so this was an exciting day!
Many boot makers break off a needle and sharpen it like a little blade, then use their sewing machine to cut out inlay holes. It works well and I’ve done it that way, but I prefer to cut out each part of the design by hand with an X-Acto knife. It’s fun to see how precise I can be, and then exactly again only reversed.
I cut paper pattern pieces for *every* part of the design. That way I can accurately do the exact same thing for the right and left boot.
It’s always so fun to put little oddly-shaped bits of leather together, turn the piece over, and see a frog! Or a bison, or a bumblebee!
Putting in the inlay pieces is exciting, but it’s the stitching that truly brings it to life.

About customboots

I'm a custom cowboy boot maker. I own a business, Sorrell Custom Boots, and I create bespoke cowboy boots using vintage machinery and hand tools. I also own, a company that specializes in tools, supplies, and leather for the boot and shoe making trade.
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