Posts Tagged ‘16th C’

Sewing the Treadsole of a Welted Shoe

Tuesday, 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.
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Project Post Catch-up!

Monday, 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.
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1520s-1540s Cowmouth Shoes

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

You might have been aware of Lesson 10, a pair of Cowmouth shoes done a while back. This pair was done a bit differently, although it also used bound edges and a bound strip as well. There were a few differences in this pair, though, the primary one being the technique used to sew the knops in the fronts of the shoe. The second – this pair is for me!

Extant pieces in the early Tudor time often had knops on the fronts of shoes. These knops were done a number of ways. One method, if the knops were not too sharp and pointy, were to cut an insole and treadsole to match, and then shoe sewn all the way around the shoe, just as was done in Lesson 10. However, not all were done in this manner.
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1590s Buff Heels

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

A pair of heels, but shorter (only about 1″ heel), but this pair was done in buff leather. I learned a great deal on this pair, and that buff (or undyed) leather can be an incredible pain to work with. The main reason is that because it’s not dyed, any mark or scuff can mar the surface, and keeping the shoe clean can be a real challenge. For this pair, I ended up tallowing both sides of the leather prior to closing and lasting, but I think that the next time, I’ll probably try just try tallowing the grain of the leather rather than the flesh. It made the shoe a bit more tricky to form, and the heel stiffener was giving me a fit. That is both the advantage and disadvantage of tallow – it makes the leather more supple and pliable, yet also more water resistant. When making shoes, you need the advantage of the water to help form it around the last/heel block.

Another thing I tried on this was to use thicker treadsole thread, smaller stitches, and putting in double half-casts while I sew the treadsole. This had the very pleasing effect of creating little “rice” stitches, in that each stitch sticks up like a slightly angled grain of rice. When done correctly, each stitch also has a slight angle to it, giving a pleasing effect of symmetry along the shoe. I plan to do this for all of my shoes going forward.