Well it's really been a while. I didn't stop making stuff but I just didn't get to document them. Many people have encouraged me to start blogging again and I guess I should start again.
I decided to participate in Historical Sew Monthly
this year. The first challenge is "Procrastination – finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting."
One thing I've been meaning to start for a very long time is making a a pair of my own shoes. I bought a copy of Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker years ago but I never got around it. The book has several patterns for side-laced boots, which I'm not too big a fan of, I'm far more interested in straight lasted slippers.
^These are straight lasted shoes. They don't have left and right side.
I first cut the sole pattern based on ELHOS. I just used the assorted leather scrap grab bag from Michaels, they are about $5 or less with coupon. Pick the thickest and stiffest pieces for the soles and use a good Exacto knife to cut them out.
For the upper I've considered trying to find kidskin leather. I have no idea where to find it in the quantity I want at a reasonable price. I browsed on eBay for a while and had an Eureka moment:
Soft leather ballet slippers! They are usually made from pigskin, but these are soft enough that they could pass for kidskin. The vamp is stitched and binded for me already with historically accurate side seams. Best of all they are less than $9 shipped! (Note that these are ballet shoes you dance in, they are very flimsy and can be taken apart easily. The street shoes commonly called "ballet flats" are too structurally sound to be taken apart. Although you might argue that cheap ones from Payless will fall apart on their own, but I digress.)
(eBay will have a lot of liquidated ballet slippers for sale. If you want to do some more complicated decoration for the vamp you can buy canvas ballet slippers
for only $2.98 shipped instead.)
You will want to remove the elastics and insole of the ballet slippers first to expose the stitching to the sole. Unstitch the sole from the top
There will be too much material gathering at the toe, undo the gathering and trim the edge. There will be way more than enough material so you might need to trim even more. Next use a 2mm punch to make stitching holes along the edge of the soles.
For thread I decided to split embroidery floss in half and coated each piece in beeswax. I used a thick curved needle for stitching the upper to the sole, which was a good idea as the stitching near the toe became very difficult since I cannot pull the needle under. ELHOS recommends starting near the middle on either side and make sure to not stitch the toe part last, which is a great suggestion. The easiest part is the heel part. I added an additional piece of leather at the heel to reinforce it.
For the decoration I settled for a big bow with a buckle in the middle. I found these buckles at Joanns for $2 that have the right shape. I have some bits of burgundy silk laying around. I wish I have the skills to make more complicated embroidery like the slippers on the left below, but I know that many slippers were simply decorated with just a bow or rosette.
Well here they are!
The Challenge: ProcrastinationMaterial: Leather ballet slippers, scraps of cowhide, scraps of silk and buckles. Pattern: Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker's sole patternYear: 1850'sNotions: Embroidery floss, beeswax, little bucklesHow historically accurate is it?The overall look is accurate enough. They have the right sole shapes, decorations, side seam, etc minus the lack of sharp square toe shape. I took a shortcut and used an existing shoe upper though. So I guess it's about 70% accurate?Hours to complete: about 9First worn: Not yetTotal cost: about $15
Oh and I created a tumblr page: chubbyclementine.tumblr.com