Thursday, February 7, 2013

Steampunk Boots

My speed with shoes had been increasingly greatly when, for some silly reason, I decided I could manage to throw together a pair of Victorian style boots for Teslacon.  In two weeks.  Yes, I managed it, but boy was that stressful!
I had some left over satin coutil from my corset which I had dyed a raspberry tone.  I actually found a few original shoes from the late 19th century in similar tones, so it seemed appropriate and horrendously bright.  There's a pair in light purple leather from the 1890s at the Russian Shoe Museum that was the basis for the final design along with a canvas pair I purchased and used for some patterning.

The uppers are lined in unbleached linen.  The strips, toe, and heel are all whittaw leather.  Most of this was assembled by machine.  The back seam has a reinforcement strip down the exterior and the lacing holes have whittaw on both sides so I didn't have to stitch any eyelets.

The construction was done the same as my common shoes.  Last the upper to the insole and whip it down.

Stitch on the heel cover.

Paste in wood heel, then paste on outersole and stitch through all layers.

I laced up the fronts with silk cord.

You can see the grove where the big stitches go all the way to the inside.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Common Shoes

Next is a pair of common shoes worked off of images of an original pair at the Russian Shoe Museum.  There aren't very many examples of lower class womens shoes out there- they were, not surprisingly, worn to pieces.  These were the type of shoes given out by the church to the extremely poor.  There are some mentions of them being worn by "country people", but there are also mentions of silk being popular with both upper and lower class.  Almost all references to women's uppers mention wool, silk, or even tickens being a great detriment to the leather trade.  Looking at the original pair, it looks like the uppers might even have been originally for a man's shoe, just lasted to be a womans.

These are made up quite differently than anything I have made prior.  The uppers, being from calf skin, are thick enough that you work the seam stitching through their middle.  This way, there is a nice line of stitches on either side of the seam on the exterior, but nothing inside to rub.  There is also a heel stiffener whipped into the back, the stitches not coming through to the outside.

The actual construction technique is different as well.  The uppers are lasted over the insole and quickly whipped to it.  You do stitch the heel cover on as normal and paste in the heel.  Then, the outersole is heavily pasted on and a large awl is used to go all the way through the sole layers.  It's fast, but not easy to reach the bristles coming through in the toe area.  It unfortunately leaves an exposed line of stitches around the insole, which can be covered by a linen "sock" pasted in.  But...I don't have enough room yet.

All of the edges, stitching, and the heels are blackened.  I made a few cheats on these, though you can't see them.  One of the straps on each shoe is a good deal shorter and the tongue is pieced.  All for economy when cutting out from a hide.