Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cornwallis' Advance on Yorktown

In the summer of 1781 the British troops were advancing towards Williamsburg.  Just across the river from Jamestown is a plantation known as Smiths Fort (built in the early 17th century with some evidence still visible).  It's owner, Mr. Faulcon, was a patriot who helped the troops by allowing them to stay on his land after the British burned much of Cobhams Wharf.  I went out to show the shoemaking trade.
It's a beautiful museum inside- one of Virginias hidden treasures.

Mr. Balances coat I made up this week- based on the unlined extant at CWF.  The Virginia cloth used was very easy to work with, and very light!  The front has facings to cover the buckram layers and the back has a small section up at the shoulders to finish the collar, but the rest is unlined.

The Faulcons out for a light picnic (Bryan Kennedy and Taylor Shelby).

Dinner on Sunday was fresh corn and fish breaded with cornmeal and grits.  The day before we had a ham and vegetable stew.  Of course, there was plenty of bread, cheese, fruit, and spirits to go around as well!

I finished my new summer round gown just in time.  It's from B&Ts figured muslin (white with a tiny red stripe).  I made it unlined, based on a 1785 muslin gown at the Met Museum.

The kerchief is cotton lawn, on which I still need to put a few more tucks at the edges.  The hat is based on images like this and this.

Thank you to Kelsey Freeman for taking my picture!

There was, of course, shooting.  Although no one thought to bring any ammunition, so those turkeys we scared up in back of the house got away.

I just wanted to add this photo Wilson Freeman shot of me working on Saturday- it's just too beautiful!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Louis XV Shoes 2

I had an idea during this past weekends events (which I'll talk about shortly).  I found that people were extremely curious about shoemaking.  It's not something on which there's a lot of information floating about.  There were many misconceptions and questions.  It helped me to push what I know by trying to teach it to others and finding out what areas my knowledge lacked in.  So, what I would really love is for you to post any and all shoe-related questions here or on my facebook.  It doesn't have to be 18th century.  Technical, style, history, anything is up for an option.  Don't worry about sounding silly- I'll leave the Anonymous option open for comments and remember that I guarantee I got worse questions this weekend (No, the giant 1" nails don't stay in bottom of the shoe....).

This past weekend I worked as an artisan at OpSail in Norfolk.  The event was meant to be 1812 themed, because of the anniversary.  I brought a huge amount of millinery items on Friday from the time, but I had a number of people curious about my progress in shoe-making.  I had originally intended on bringing that instead, but the plans to order Regency shaped lasts were postponed.  Regardless, I gave in and brought shoe work on Saturday and Sunday.  Gwendolyn also attended showing miniatures and portraiture.  Samantha also joined us on Sunday.  Yes, that is a new dress I'm wearing.  No, I didn't get pictures of it (whoops).
Photo courtesy of Mark Schneider

I cheated a bit an worked mostly on my Louis XV shoes.  Wrong style and wrong construction method, but it seemed to be the technical aspects that were most interesting to people.  I made the second upper, skived down the second sole, and started stitching the first sole on.
The sole is now stitched on to the rand, but I need to take a hammer to the edges to make them look less messy.  This is also only a stand-in heel- I have to make mine from scratch since they're larger (off to find some beech wood later!).

Don't look to close at my horrible stitching.  Hopefully the right shoe will be better!  This technique is a very different movement of the awl than I'm accustomed to.

Brand-new (to me) french-pattern hammer Mr. Walker gave me!  The top is 18th century while the handle is a reproduction.  I think I love tools as much as my husband does now....

These are the pieces for the second shoe- upper lined in linen and bound with silk, insole with holdfast already in, and the out sole skived down so the edges are thin while the middle is still a good 1/4".