Venetian Festival Shoes: Outside

My inside shoes for the Ascension Day project are done, but they need over-shoes for protection!

Pianelle: Outdoor Overshoes

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Cesare Vecellio (1521–1601) Degli habiti, antichi et moderni di diversi parti del mondo (Of Costumes, Ancient and Modern, of Different Parts of the World) Printed by Damian Zenaro in Venice, 1590. Peasant Women in the Region Surrounding Venice, Seen in Venice on the Day of the Ascension of Our Lord.

If you have been following along, you might recognize the image above, which is a detail of the Ascension Day peasant woman.  According to Vecellio, she wears “…. socks worked with white shoes worked, and then the pianelle (similar to pattens) over…”  Fortunately for me, there are several extant shoes with a raised platform sole to study.  I tried to concentrate on the examples that were most similar to my Ascension lady, but many more can be found at Francis Classe’s Raised Heels site.

Venetian Festival Shoes on MorganDonner.com

“…Pianella (a shoe for home-use) which belonged to Beatrice d’Este the Duchess of Milan in 1495.”

Venetian Festival Shoes on MorganDonner.com

Woman’s or girl’s shoe Italian (Probably Venetian), 1570s

 

Extant Raised Heels

Such lovely shaping on the top edge of these vamps! Click to go to Raised Heels to see full-size version!

 

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Mule, 1600–1625, British Leather, silk, metallic threads; L. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)

 

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

“… the Glorious damtofflor of red velvet, embroidered with gold thread and lined with Brown skins. The first half of the 17th century. Out of the Nordic Museum’s collections.”

Some velvet ones like above would be fun!  But alas, that will have to wait for another time, since these ones will be leather.

But before I worry about what goes on the outside of the shoe, I need to get the innards sorted out.  For the most part, 16th century midsoles were made from wood, leather, or cork.  When I went looking for the yoga blocks suggested on Raised Heels, I also found premade shoe heels.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I wasn’t sure I would remember where I purchased the cork from, but the box package has taken care of that for me.  Those premade heels look like they will be fun to play with, I’ll use the block for a later set.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

This heel is lovely and shapely, but much too tall!  It also has too much of a curvy profile: the extant shoes are angled but nearly flat from toe to heel.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

A few minutes with my husband’s bow saw cut these down to a much more reasonable height.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

The toes of the cork were a little more square shaped than I like, so I rasped them down to a rounder form.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I decided that the top of the heel was too narrow, aesthetically and functionally, so I cut even more off and glued the original slice back on.  I liked this width much better.  To fill in any funny gaps, I used the cork dust and crumbs that came off during the sawing, and mixed it with leather glue to make a cork paste.  After a day of drying, I sanded any bumpy spots down.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Once the bases were complete, I could trace around them to get the insole and outsole, both made of thick leather.  Marking sides (left or right) as you go avoids confusion later.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

This isn’t the clearest picture, but what I did was poke holes around the edge of the insole with my curved awl, going into the grain side and out the side.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Then add color!  I dyed the smooth side of my insoles black.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I decided that the toe of my pattern was a bit too pointy to work with the fairly round cork toe, so I cut that down a bit.  The whole shoe is being covered with a very thin red leather, so the beige pieces above are veggie tan, about 1/16th of an inch thick, to give the red some structure and strength.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

The edges of the red are just glued down for now.  I should have stitched them before sewing the rest of the shoe, but since I was pressed for time, that will have to be done later.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I used two threaded needles to sew back and forth  (saddle stitch?), connecting the insole, vamp, and cork cover/rand.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Ideally, I would have sewn these on a last, but since I did not have a rounded-toe last, I had to guess at vamp size and hope it would fit.  The shoe on the right above is pinned in place before I sew, which makes sure that I am evenly gathering the toe as I stitch.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I covered the cork top and sides in a thin layer of leather glue before laying  the red cover on top.  It will eventually be secured down with stitches, but the glue helps in the meantime, and also helps the red leather conform to the shape of the cork in the concave areas.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Glued!

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

The toe was a bit lumpy, so I hammered it down with a leather covered hammer to make it a little smoother.  I didn’t take an ‘after’ picture to show you, but it helped a little.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

The red leather tears easily, so I loosely stitched it beneath the cork.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I had a bit of excess at the back, so I trimmed away till I was happy, and glued the seam down.  That’s another part that needs to be stitched down later when I have more time.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I cut a V shaped groove into the outsole, using a sharp craft knife.  That’s where the stitches will go.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

To hold the outsole on temporarily, a few nails were hammered into the sole and cork.  Speaking from experience, don’t try to walk in them at this point thinking that the nailed sole is ‘good enough’.  The ground will do everything it can to grab the front lip and trip you.  And then you’ll feel stupid.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Also from experience, wash your hands very often, particularly every time you use glue during the process.  Otherwise, you’ll end up with dirty smudges.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

I was not quite done yet when we got to the event I wanted to wear these at, so my husband and friends helped by pre-awling some holes and doing a bit of stitching for me.

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

Eventually they were done (done enough to wear and take pictures) and I got to parade about in my fancy new pianelle!

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I kept looking down and thinking how much my feet resembled hooves!

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com 16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

 

16th century Venetian Pianelle (overshoes) on MorganDonner.com

 

 

I try to post my projects in an easy to read, dress diary type format. When I first started learning to sew historical outfits, I found dress diaries to be the most helpful learning tools. I want to contribute my projects in the hopes that they will prove just as useful for others.

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