Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Shoemaking Experiment

A year or two ago, I would not have had the confidence, or even the desire, to make my own period shoes.  But I have been inspired by the hugely talented shoemakers in the hobby to give the trade a try, especially since Robert Land, the shoemaker who constructed the 19th century boots that I always lusted after, has recently closed up shop.
I based my shoes on several extant pairs from the Met.  I knew I wanted fabric uppers with no toe foxing, so I used red wool gaberdine lined with stiff cotton canvas.  The heel foxing is kid leather, the sole is 10 oz sole/saddle leather from ebay.  I did not use entirely period-correct construction techniques, partially out of laziness and partially because I didn't want to put the work into something that I knew would not turn out particularly stellar.  I used Every Woman Her Own Shoe-Maker as a guide, but my primary instructional source was from The Graceful Lady.  Without her step-by-step instructions I would have been completely and utterly lost, especially when it came to treating the soles!
So here is my first, modest attempt at making shoes.  If nothing else, it's a nice pair to wear at an event when it's muddy and I don't want to ruin my good leather boots.  I have a lot of ideas for how I can improve my next pair, which I intend to be a pair of light pink satin dancing slippers.
 As you can see, the soles need a better dye than I gave them!
The most difficult part of the process was obtaining an appropriately sized straight last, which I found on ebay after some digging.   Also, putting the holes in the sole with an improperly sized awl (thank goodness I found a narrower one.)
Anyways, I'd recommend this shoe as a nice pet project for anyone with some time on their hands (90% of these were constructed on the train to work) and very strong wrists.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A lawn cap

Hello!  I am still here and still sewing, although the rest of my life is eating away at my sewing time.  
I've needed something to do with my hands on the way to work, so I've been working on little things, including this muslin cap made from B&T's muslin.   I have learned so much about sewing in the past year and none of my caps reflect that, so it was about time I whipped up another.
My stitching has improved a little.
Please excuse the messy humidity hair.

A clue about what I'm currently working on:  In my lap right now I'm cradling a large, surprisingly heavy antique wood last.  Somebody in the mid-19th century must have worn size 10, and that makes me feel a little better about myself.