1580s Pumpes

February 14th, 2017

A new pair of 1580s pumpes, dyed a forest green and bound along the opening with natural goat, which ends up looking a bit gold. Combine a pair of ivory laces, and you have a great looking pair of shoes – what I find particularly attractive about these shoes is the way that the welt and outsole “tuck in” under the upper. If you look at many (nearly all) of the extant and pictorial evidence, this is very typical. In later 16th century shoes, the toe even overhands the sole by a large amount, and in many cases, it is the same all around the outsole itself; so much so that the wearer is practically walking on the upper.

The toe definitely overhangs the outsole a bit, and the edge is tucked in underneath the upper a bit. Some of the shoes and pantofles are actually quite extreme – almost half an inch or so under the toe. The parts that makes this difficult is gathering all of the leather at the toe to tuck it under, but by no means is it impossible.
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Late 14th Century Turn-Welt Cheaters

February 3rd, 2017

A new pair for the fantastic Miss Jessie L – it’s always a good feeling when a pair of shoes fits properly. I hope I don’t jinx myself for the next few pairs! Although the punchwork pattern is typical 14th century, the sole construction is certainly much later while the toggles tend to be a bit earlier. I really like the look of double-toggles, though, and a double-sole is much more comfortable for feet that are used to a more rigid and/or cushioned ride, so to say. I figure that since I’m putting in the extra effort to add a welt, might as well attach something to it to make it more comfortable, not to mention the thick wool felt pasted in. Looking at these now, I do hope that one day, I’ll start getting my act together to making more period lasts.

16th Century Pantofles – The Right Way

January 8th, 2017

Some of you may have gone through the Lesson 2 Writeup on a set of 16th century pantofles, but I’m pleased now to be able to give you a far better reconstruction, based on period examples and historical practice. This was a special project for Miss Kit, and I’m delighted to be able to give you some details on the construction process. Many of the techniques were similar to those in Lesson 2, so I ought not to completely decry that older knowledge, but this new piece looks so much more like the period examples.

What I thought worked particularly well were the slashed “ridges” on the upper of the pantofles. These are very similar to some extant pieces off of which I modeled this new pair.
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Dickens Fair Delay

December 20th, 2016

Bit of radio silence, as every weekend from early November to late October was filled with all manner of busy-ness. Not only did a set of my friends get married in New Orleans, but I was asked to take on the role of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg at the Dickens Fair, held in South San Francisco for the five weekends prior to Christmas, including the Thanksgiving weekend. Needless to say, a lot of busy work to be done, but what might surprise you is the lone opportunity that I had to use my shoemaking skills was to repair a tear in a pair of leather riding breeches that I was able to purchase online. I’ve never been quite so happy to know how to round close leather, as it made the tear (which looked more like a cut, to be honest) practically invisible. But, now that Dickens is done, I’ve got a new project on the bench, and I hope the writeup will wow you when you read it…stay tuned. In the meantime, a shot of me and Queen Victoria, courtesy of Philip Pavliger, just to prove that I’m not making it all up!

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