Fabric Shopping in Tokyo – Nippori Fabric Town

October 24th, 2015

So, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from shoes to work on other projects (repairing house stuff, sewing, etc.) and in case you were not aware, I actually have to work for a living, more is the pity. It does have a few perks, though, other than keeping a roof over my head and the cat fed. This time, it’s a trip to Japan, and I’m fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Japan for a bit of sight-seeing and tourist-y stuff. This post focuses primarily on my trip to Nippori Fabric Town. Now, there are a lot of blogs out there that talk about their trip to Nippori Fabric Town with stunning amazement at the wide selection and the number of stores. If you’re interested in scarves, jeans, quilting, or anything that is remotely modern, then I suppose this is a fair assessment. The moment you start looking for materials suitable for the 18th century and before…well, aside from the restaurants with really good noodles, I’m afraid that I’ll have to disappoint you.

It started off favorably – a very easy trip to Nippori station from Shinagawa, and pretty much right out of the station, I saw a sign!

Well, it was a specific sign telling me I was on the right track. Now…where did the signs lead me?
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More strapping and binding…

August 25th, 2015

A new pair of bound shoes. On these, I made the insole smaller about 3/16″ all the way around so as to draw the stitching in a little. It worked a bit, but was not significantly different from other attempts. On the next pair, I’ll definitely go to 1/4″ and give it a shot. Also, I must apologize for the poor picture – from this point on, you have my word that I’m going to take better pictures and not simply slack off with a cell phone picture.

Costume College and 1580s Shoes

August 9th, 2015

I’ve been attending Costume College (held in Southern California) for a number of years now, and in the past few years, I brought along my shoemaker’s bench and did some work in the hallways to teach people informally about historical footwear. Although I do teach some formal classes, I can reach a larger audience as people come in and out of the classrooms. I normally bring a pair of shoes to finish, and, in fact, you can see me cutting out the woolen insock to be pasted in the strapped shoe that has just been completed. Forgive the modern last, again, my very impressed photo-mate is Amanda S., and the image is courtesy of Breanna M.

Apologies for not getting to take a close-up of the finished pair, but they’re very similar to these. I was able to get them a lovely forest green which was not my original intention, but I’m very pleased with the color. Thing is, I didn’t get to take any close-ups, because there were so many other things going on!
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Shoe Workshop Successes

August 4th, 2015

I hosted a small workshop a couple of weekends ago, and both students came away with some beautiful shoes (that also happened to fit, the more critical part). One was a 1560s pair of pumpes, and the second was a pair of shoes based on the 9-10th century finds at York. You can tell from the smiles that both were very happy with their work!