18th Century Men’s Shoes – with improved stitching

March 20th, 2017

A new pair of 18th century shoes for John E., done at stitch pitches of 12spi. This is some of the more fine work that I’ve finished, but by no means would it have been considered fine for the day – in fact, it would have been expected for properly constructed shoes from a master’s workshop. In any event, you may already have read the earlier post on a more correct pair of 18th century men’s shoes, and this followed the procedure similarly, aside from the stitch pitch. Some corrections were also made, which I noted there. I did not attach the tongue as a second piece, but rather continued it as part of the vamp instead. As far as I can tell, it really did not make much of a difference.

As mentioned, I ended up making much finer closing threads. I used five strands of 60/1 which is incredibly fine stuff, about the same thickness as two strands of my normal 16/1 or one 10/1. Clearly, more threads plied together make a stronger thread, hence my decision to go with the five strands.
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1580s Pumpes

February 14th, 2017

A new pair of 1580s pumpes, dyed a forest green and bound along the opening with natural goat, which ends up looking a bit gold. Combine a pair of ivory laces, and you have a great looking pair of shoes – what I find particularly attractive about these shoes is the way that the welt and outsole “tuck in” under the upper. If you look at many (nearly all) of the extant and pictorial evidence, this is very typical. In later 16th century shoes, the toe even overhands the sole by a large amount, and in many cases, it is the same all around the outsole itself; so much so that the wearer is practically walking on the upper.

The toe definitely overhangs the outsole a bit, and the edge is tucked in underneath the upper a bit. Some of the shoes and pantofles are actually quite extreme – almost half an inch or so under the toe. The parts that makes this difficult is gathering all of the leather at the toe to tuck it under, but by no means is it impossible.
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Late 14th Century Turn-Welt Cheaters

February 3rd, 2017

A new pair for the fantastic Miss Jessie L – it’s always a good feeling when a pair of shoes fits properly. I hope I don’t jinx myself for the next few pairs! Although the punchwork pattern is typical 14th century, the sole construction is certainly much later while the toggles tend to be a bit earlier. I really like the look of double-toggles, though, and a double-sole is much more comfortable for feet that are used to a more rigid and/or cushioned ride, so to say. I figure that since I’m putting in the extra effort to add a welt, might as well attach something to it to make it more comfortable, not to mention the thick wool felt pasted in. Looking at these now, I do hope that one day, I’ll start getting my act together to making more period lasts.

16th Century Pantofles – The Right Way

January 8th, 2017

Some of you may have gone through the Lesson 2 Writeup on a set of 16th century pantofles, but I’m pleased now to be able to give you a far better reconstruction, based on period examples and historical practice. This was a special project for Miss Kit, and I’m delighted to be able to give you some details on the construction process. Many of the techniques were similar to those in Lesson 2, so I ought not to completely decry that older knowledge, but this new piece looks so much more like the period examples.

What I thought worked particularly well were the slashed “ridges” on the upper of the pantofles. These are very similar to some extant pieces off of which I modeled this new pair.
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