29 March 2015

1770's Cream Shoes

18th century shoes

From the very beginning of this shoe project I had a clear picture of how I wanted them to turn out, and i'm so happy that they're pretty much identical to what i'd imagined!

american duchess buckle 18th century shoes

I'm planning for my first robe Robe L'anglaise to be creamy and coppery colours, and I wanted a nice neutral pair of shoes to match. The buckle needed to work with lots of different shoes though, so I chose a nice silver pair from American Duchess. I was happy to see that the finish on the buckles gives them a warm look, instead of a cool silver tone.

18th century shoes and american duchess buckles

I was terrified to try them on for the first time. The original shoes had been sightly too big for me, but with the added binding and general reconstruction, the finished shoes were a snug fit. Luckily nothing came undone or broke as I was wearing them, but i'd be hesitant to go walking around outside.

1700's shoes and stockings

I didn't really cover it in my construction posts, but gluing the sole on was by far the worst part. It required lots and lots of glue, getting very messy and holding it down for a long time. It feels sturdy enough, but i'm worried lots of walking will make it peel off.

18th century shoes and stockings

Despite the lack of a true Louis heel, they still look very mid 18th century. The rest of my wardrobe is currently aimed at the 1780's, but not every lady would have been dressed head to toe in the very latest fashions.

I'm glad I chose the plainest of American Duchess's buckles. I think it looks perfect with the simple colours and lines of the shoe, and can be re-used on other shoes easily. I still like the bejeweled buckles, but i'd want to make a specific shoe to go with them.

1700's shoes and stockings

I'm happy I left the trim off. The contrasting cream binding really brings out the pattern in the  jacquard and looks very period. As much as i'd love an over the top shoe with piles of ruffles and trim, it will have to wait.

This is the first item for my wardrobe i've made that isn't blue or white, surprisingly. I personally think the shoes clash with the light turquoise stockings, I really need a couple of white pairs.  

1700's shoes

Putting the buckles on was quite a challenge, as the straps were pretty thick. The weave of the  jacquard was loose enough, but combined with interfacing and a cotton duck lining it was just too much. The buckle on my left shoe sits perfectly, but the one on the right is wonky and not centered. If I went back and re-holed the straps I might be able to get it sitting properly.

18th century shoes american duchess buckles

The fact that both shoes have left facing straps doesn't help either! For my next pair i'll definitely pay closer attention when making the straps, and maybe skip the interfacing. 

I'm pretty darn proud of these shoes, and pleasantly surprised at how well they came together. I've learnt so much I can apply to future shoe projects...and yes, there will be future shoe projects. I have a very battered pair of shoes with a proper Louis heel waiting for their time to shine...

14 March 2015

Blue 18th Century Stockings

Firstly, i'd like to apologize for my absence. Going back for my final year of university means I have almost no free time - let alone time to sew large, time consuming relics of the past! I will make an effort to start sewing again in a month or so, when my schedule is less hectic.

In the meantime, I have a couple of finished pieces I still haven't gotten around to sharing!

If you can recall from my construction post, I hated making these stockings. Knit fabric, a fiddly pattern and terrible embroidery does not make a happy Victoria.

When I first tried them on I was terrified something would come apart or stretch in the wrong place and all my work would be ruined. I'm very pleased to say that they are quite robust, and despite the thin fabric they're warm too.

The toes are cut on a slight angle, so there is a left stocking and a right stocking. I'm not sure how accurate this is, I haven't seen or found any sources talking about it. Since shoes weren't made with a left and a right, I would make an educated guess that stockings wouldn't have been either. If you have any more information on this don't hesitate to tell me!

The fit is quite good, the measurements seem to be accurate even if the toe area wasn't when I was making them. Having a fitted ankle felt very different from the stretchy tubes of fabric we call stockings nowadays.

My one fit complaint is that the tops are to big. My garters are great at holding them up, but the tops of the stockings ended up too big and sag down to my knees. I'll probably cheat and add some elastic to the inside to keep them up, as it's very annoying when you're trying to walk.

The embroidered clocks are a pretty touch, although they go so far up I doubt you'd see a flash of them underneath all my petticoats. Maybe if I make a walking length dress in the future they'll have their time to shine. Either way i'm not going to stop monogramming various pieces of underwear.

Despite how horrible these were to make, i'm happy I have them. It's the little details like this that I enjoy adding to my wardrobe, and I can avoid the classic costumer panic of "But what am I going to wear on my feet?!".

I have all the things I need to bleach the remaining knit fabric and make one or two white pairs, which will hopefully be finished faster and with less tears than these. Speaking of footwear, i'll also be posting my finished 1770's cream shoes sometime in the near future, so keep checking back!