Continuing my Ascension Day outfit adventures, I find myself in need of shoes! Two pairs in fact, because the description says that she is wearing “…. socks worked with white shoes worked, and then the pianelle (similar to pattens) over…”
First let’s start with the white shoes. I believe that these would be what Olaf Goubitz, Author of Stepping Through Time, calls “Indoor” shoes. Starting in the early 16th century, these shoes were single-soled, unlike most other shoes by this time, which had developed into the tougher two or three soled shoes, typically with welted construction like my lasted shoes. The author notes that although both upper and sole are thicker than what was typical for medieval turn-shoes, they were indeed still thin enough to turn.
Since the Ascension Day peasant woman’s indoor shoes are not highly visible, I decided to mostly base mine off of the Woman Blonding Her Hair shown above. I like the rows of wee little slashes, and slightly pointed toe.
These slashes are horizontal, but it’s a similar look.
Much fancier pattern!
I like the point at the top of the vamp. I also like that most of the examples above are unlined, makes things simple.
Using the pictures above as a guide, I think that my indoor shoes will be:
- Thickest white leather I can find for the upper
- Single-soled, turnshoe construction
- Pinked vertically down the front, with space in the middle
- Rolled and pinked edges (none of the ones above are rolled, but I haven’t had a chance to try ‘hemming’ leather yet)
- No closure, based on the several unclosing shoes in Stepping Through Time (style 90 I think)
I started with the same pattern I made for the lasted shoes, keeping the sole as it is, and modifying the upper to be taller all around, and slightly pointed at the top of the vamp.
I used a piece of thick and sturdy leather for the heel stiffener, perhaps a little too thick, and after scraping the edges thinner, sewed it onto the heel of my quarter pieces.
Hemming the top edge was not as hard as I thought it might be. This white leather is not as thick as I’d like, but thick enough to sew through without catching the needle on the outside.
I cut a little dart out of the bottom of the stiffener, because I was worried that unlike the white leather, it will not want to gather nicely when I am sewing it onto the heel. Rather than take the risk of it not working, I just took out the excess leather now and stitched it closed.
To transfer my pinking pattern onto the vamp, I poked through the wrong side of the leather with my curved awl. Since I went through the wrong side, the pin pricks just barely showed up on the right side. Which is great, since I changed my mind on some of the slashes near the edges, and if I had marked them with something stronger, like pen or poking from the outside, then they would have stayed visible.
For my first two rows of cuts, I used an craft knife to carefully cut between the pinprick pattern. This wasn’t very quick, or precise, or even all that noticeable! Then I switched to a sharp chisel tool: no hammering, just pushing down slowly till I feel the leather ‘pop’ slightly when it has been cut all the way through. You can see the difference between the knife cuts (upper left rows) and the chisel cuts every where else.
I rolled the top of the vamp the same way as the back, invisible from the right side. I like the curved } shape.
My soles: the right one is darker because it was wet. I keep thinking that wetting my leather at various stages is a good idea, and I keep finding that it isn’t.
I use my awl to make a hole from the inside of the sole, out through the side. This would be a good time to mention that a thicker sole would have been better. I think that this leather was around 1/16 or 1/8 of an inch; 3/16ths would have been better, and still thin enough to turn inside out in the end.
This maybe goes without saying if you have already made a few turn shoes, but if not: try not to poke a hole all the way through to the bottom of the sole! Even getting too close to the bottom edge like some of mine above is a bad idea, it causes the edge to be all wibbly-wobbly when you’re done :(
I found this idea on Pinterest (note to self: find it and link) for placing your upper exactly where you want it. For turn shoes, you want to slightly ease more leather from the top into the smaller space of the sole, especially around the toe, otherwise it will be quite flat looking there when you flip it.
Using two threaded needles, I sew the edge of the sole to the edge of the upper, inside out.
I went ahead and flipped one of the vamps to see what it looked like. Fairly pleased so far!
Now for the quarters!
Yet again, I have managed to mess up my measurements somewhere, and had to add an extra panel on the side as a result. Not a big deal, easily fixed!
With the last seam complete, I excitedly try put on my new shoes…
Only to discover that they are too big and gape on the sides. Boo!
So I cut the stitches out of the side seams, and removed at least half an inch off of each side. Sew again…
And now it fits much better!
The indoor shoes are done, but I don’t want to let this pretty white leather get dirty, so I need protective pattens to keep them clean.