Renaissance Shoes in a Weekend!

February 6th, 2015

A while back, some good friends discussed the possibility of doing a pair of welted renaissance shoes as a weekend workshop. Back in 2013, I’d hosted a two weekend workshop, but this time, I thought that I could get through it in a single weekend, just as we did for the medieval shoe workshop. Taking some lessons from there, I had two students making up some cowmouth shoes, and let me tell you, we finished about ten minutes before we had to get on the plane. =) A few things that worked quite well:

- Lasts were prepared in advance based on measurements provided
- Uppers were cut out and ready for dyeing
- Stitching cords and tools all set at the ready.

As you can see, my very lovely and talented students came out with some excellent pieces right out of Goubitz. In fact, I was amazed at how successful they were, showing that it is possible to do a pair of welted shoes in a weekend. Keep in mind that because these shoes were on straight lasts, they did all of the inseaming and sewing themselves. I even had a little bit of down time here and again which I could have used to help push things along, had we been using crooked left and right lasts. Fantastic work for first-time shoemakers!

Sewing the Treadsole of a Welted Shoe

January 20th, 2015

I thought it might be illuminating to describe the manner in which I currently outsole a shoe, since I’ve recently started playing with a new technique and rather like the results. In two separate instances with two different and very knowledgeable individuals, I’ve had welted stitching described to me as “rice grains laying against each other,” or a similar variation thereof. As a result, I think I’m getting rather close to the ideal, as I hope the images will soon describe.

But, just to be sure that we’re on the same page, let’s first remind ourselves the construction of a welted shoe.
Read the rest of this entry »

Project Post Catch-up!

January 5th, 2015

It’s been a busy couple of months, hence the reason that I haven’t really had a chance to post too much about what I’ve been working on in the past few months. As a result, let me catch you up on the full list since the end of September, and note that some of it is not shoe related. Oh, and did I mention that I spent every weekend starting from the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Dickens Fair? That certainly cut into my time, but I still produced a good amount of material:

- A 1520s pair of Black cowmouths with red edging, almost identical to those here.
- A 1520s pair of Blue cowmouths with gold edging, similar to the above. Inseaming and Outsoling on this pair was done by Matt L., as we were on a tight schedule!
- A gold and green damask gown for a Greg G., with linen lining and silk turnbacks on the cuffs (no picture, sadly).
- A shot red and gold silk satin coat for Brendan L. The boots are not my work, but I’m rather delighted with the way coat came out (see the picture below, courtesy of Sandra L.).
- A new pair of 16th Century jeweled shoes, similar to those here.

I’d like to tell you a little bit more about the 16th century jeweled shoes, and how they are different from the past project.
Read the rest of this entry »

Caldarium Turn-Shoe Workshop

November 7th, 2014

Matt L. and I ended up spending a weekend up in Marin helping seven people put together some turn shoes, and I have to say that I’m very pleased with the results. Every one of them worked hard with bristle and thread to come up with a pair of handmade shoes all their own. As always, there were a few things that did not work quite so well, and if I don’t mention those, we will make the same mistakes!

- The black dye can go on just fine with a few coats. We don’t need to blacken the lasts, our fingers, and everything else by overdoing it!
- We need to be very careful when tapping the inseam flat. Otherwise, you might hurt the upper leather and damage it.
- Always leave more heel than you think you need! The last thing you want is a heel that is too short.
- We were able to work the leather wet without any ill effects – this is useful when you’re trying to make a pair of shoes in a single weekend!