This section is from the book "The Manufacture Of Boots And Shoes: Being A Modern Treatise Of All The Processes Of Making And Manufacturing Footgear", by F. Y. Golding. Also available from Amazon: The Manufacture Of Boots And Shoes.
Although the -sequence of processes may differ in fitting, caused by the adoption or rejection of certain machines, the principles may be classified under two headings, "flat" and "round " fitting.
"Flat" fitting is the term used to describe processes that, for the most part, consist in the fitting together of the various parts of the upper on a flat surface, which generally is a marble slab. This class is largely adopted for the women's trade, and great care is necessary that the parts are fitted with a due calculation for the alterations that are effected when the flat-fitted portions assume the rounder form of the upper, or when it is placed on the last. This mode of fitting is adopted for cheapness; but the general quality of the work produced is not equal to that produced by the round method. The linings especially are improperly fitted, a shortcoming that, with thought and attention, could be largely obviated.
"Block," or fitting-on-the-round, is used to denote the class of fitting where the parts are placed in position on a block or last before stitching. The "blocks" or "dummies " used are shaped in the top portion very similar to a boot-tree, but the bottom is made quite flat, so that it can stand firm on the bench or table before using. The last is used in some bespoke houses, where the "closer" is responsible for, and practically decides, the shape of the upper. Block-fitting is mostly used by the bespoke houses and for best men's trade.
A combination method is adopted with advantage in high-class factories, the linings, legs, etc., being fitted on the "flat," and the vamping or goloshing being executed by the " block " system.
The work fitted on the round or block has a much better appearance or set, and the materials used are less handled, than that fitted on the flat. The fit of the upper upon the last is greatly enhanced.