He’s Crafty, and He’s Just My Type

Ryan Noel's handmade Roman Caligae (leather hobnail sandals)One of the things I love about my boyfriend, Ryan, is his crafting skills. No, I don’t mean scrap-booking. His sort of crafting, or ‘projecting’ as he likes to call it, is in the form of creating garb. You might think it’s slightly feminine for a man to make his own clothes, but his response to that is, “sewing is a useful skill and sewing machines are power tools.” hehe

One of the latest projects he finished; A pair of Roman Caligae.

I helped make the pattern which we based off another pattern Ryan found on the internet.

Pattern for Roman Caligae hobnail sandals

Next Ryan cut out the leather using the pattern. He stayed up for hours cutting with a little exacto knife after I went to bed. I’d wake up the next morning, look at how much he did and ask, “So, exactly how late did you stay up last night?”

Cutting out leather for Caligae.

After the pieces were cut out, they got oiled and in the next picture, Ryan is poking holes along the back seam where it will get stitched up.

Oiled the leather for the hobnail sandals - Roman Caligae

A lot of the time he would work faster than I could photograph the process so, in this picture he is stitching the sole on and you can see the back piece of leather that got stitched over the back seam.

Stitching on the sole of the Caligae.

I didn’t take a picture yet of the hob nails, but this is the finished pair. I skipped a few steps mostly because he was working too fast, but you can check out other sites online with a more detailed explanation of the steps you need to take if you ever decide you need a pair of your own.

Finished pair of Roman Caligae - Leather Sandals

In the end, the pattern ended up being a bit too big, and the hob nails didn’t all go in straight due to a variety of factors (off center shanks, lack a proper anvil for doing shoes, first time making a pair, ie. trial and error). The next time he needs to make a pair we’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done and there’s the all important part of knowing what NOT to do. All in all, they turned out pretty good considering it was his first pair.

7 Responses

  1. no, i havent made them before, but i have a goodly number of years working leather, these would be my first major project, and i plan on making 3 sets… 1 for hiking, 1 for reenacting and one modified closed toe version for LARPing…

    1. Highly possible 😉 I’m thinking about doing another, more detailed post since there has been a lot of interest on this subject.

      Have you made Caligae before? After recently talking to a friend who has made Caligae in the past, he pointed out that the soles should have been much, much narrower and the straps should be snug to the foot, because over time the leather will stretch. I’ll likely modify the pattern again, but for now here’s the link to the original site Ryan got his pattern from and referenced A LOT while making them http://www.legiotricesima.org/campusMartis/MakingCaligae/MakingAuthenticCaligae.html (The top pattern with red and green is the one we based ours off of).

Leave a Reply