Reproduction Medieval and Elizabethan Lasts

March 12th, 2015

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you’ll note that I’m using vintage modern lasts, typically for men’s shoes, when making my reproductions. This has a variety of issues, the modern look notwithstanding, but also when it comes to closure types other than those that happen over the front of the shoe. I’ve observed that in nearly every instance that I’ve made a shoe with a side closure that the heel ends up being unnecessarily large, and has a propensity to slip off. Giving it some thought, I do think that it has a great deal to do with the last itself. As a result, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some reproduction lasts, both medieval and Elizabethan.

What makes a last so important, you might ask? Everything! The last is truly the “soul” (no, I’m not falling for that particular pun =) of the shoe. It is more than just a representation of the person’s foot, because if that was all it was, then we would all be wearing foot-shaped shoes (as opposed to just some of us!)
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1550s Pumpes

February 26th, 2015

A pair for the incomparable Elizabeth M. You’ll note that the binding strip on these has been snipped to give it a decorative look. This is in lieu of turning down the top of the upper and stitching it down. I’ve done it both ways, but I have to admit that this is easier, since you’re not dealing with having to make tunnel stitches all the time which are something of a pain.

And no, that isn’t a typo – they were called pumps, pumpes, and any other alternate spelling you can come up with =)

10th Century Anglo-Scandinavian Ankle Boots

February 19th, 2015

I promised a pair of shoes to Rodney W., in a nice rich cordovan leather. At the last minute, I also decided to bind the edges. Typical overlap construction, two toggle, with the ubiquitous “A” where the sole continues upwards at the heel. I tried some new construction techniques on these shoes, and I was surprised with how effective they were.

From “Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York,” we are told that Ankle boots of this time were primarily made in one of two ways.
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Late 15th Century Poulaines

February 11th, 2015

I just finished up the first half of a two-part commission which I’m rather pleased about. So as to tease you long-term, I’m not actually going to tell you what I’m bartering for, but rest assured that it will be pretty fabulous. =) And here, I present to you a pair of late 15th century shoes – these are what all the Burgundians are wearing! Illuminations from this time period are ubiquitous, and many of them show these types of poulaines, even on men in armor. Plus, they’re terribly fabulous and fashionable.

There’s more than meets the eye in this pair of shoes, for these are actually turn-welt shoes – that is, they are sewn inside out with a welt (a strip of leather) in between the upper and the sole, and when the shoe is turned, there is a strip of leather to which another sole can be sewn, making them hardier shoes.
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