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Johanna

Making period footware

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Footwear of the Middle Ages by I. Marc Carlson

This is as good a time as any to explain why I place so much emphasis on the difference between "patterns" and "designs" in this document; and moreover, to explain why I am so adamant that taking the line drawings in materials like Grew and de Neergaard, Hald, and Rule tossing them on the photocopier and enlarging them to the size of your foot is a Bad Idea.

The easiest reason for me to explain is that no two people's feet are really the same size or shape, and that to do so, means that you will be making a shoe that is made for someone else, even if their foot length happened to be the same as yours. Not even in the Middle Ages were two matching shoes necessarily absolutely identical, since they were made for different feet, for different people. The same "style" of shoe made by two different Cordwainers may look completely different.

More than that, though, is that any leather garment, worn for any length of time, changes shape, so that the "pattern" soon ceases to bear anything but the most cursory resemblance to the original, which means that, among other things, areas that in the leather original had been stretched thin and flexible will not be thin and flexible in the new item (thus suggesting that your slavish reproduction is anything but).

Finally, of course, is the fact that these are archaeological remains, and may have stretched, shrunk, twisted and deformed in ways that are subtle to the eye, but when replicated into footwear may cripple you. The designs in this document should be suited to present the general designs, just as items such as The Tailor's Book present general designs that show you how a certain piece was supposed to look.

The link above has some valuable info and suggestions for anyone interested in making period footwear.

Johanna

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Yes, I most certainly do have an interest in period foot wear!

That's my winter project. I've got an awesome design in mind so as soon as the snow hits and I'm grounded, I'll be starting on that project.

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Another good site for footwear and a few other garb projects is www.design.seamlyne.com

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Another good site for footwear and a few other garb projects is www.design.seamlyne.com

I'm finding that the seamlyne instructions are fantastic, but that my learning curve is LONG and SHALLOW. Patience pays, I guess.

-J

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skizze_mocs.jpgShoe_Pack.jpganother simple shoe is a shoepack, they are called shoepacks because you can pack a lining inside the shoe, felt or wool cloth any thing you have handy, they were very commen with longhunters which probably coppied the idea from center seamed moccasins and adapted them to their needs.

if you are going to make them with lining then make the lining first as to the drawing and put on the lining and draw around your foot on a piece of paper or card to get a pattern not to close as the shoe will be to tight, once you have the foot patern you will need to measure from the front center to the back center of the outer part of your foot patern with a piece of string going around the foot giving you the width of the leather you will need for the side parts two for each foot the hight you can varry depending on how high you want to go over the ankels, the side parts need to be a fairly supple leather and the soul part beeing quite thick,

so you have all the parts cut out you then glue either the left or right side of the side pannels to the soul part, make sure you are front and rear central otherweise you will have crooked seams and the shoue will be uncomfortable.

once glued and dried you can start to stitch around the soul but leave adout 3mm off leather overlap for the seams at the front and back, repeat the same for the other side.

once the shoe is fully stiched around the soul you can stitch up the back seam.

now the tricky part step into the shoe and fold the top pert down working out the over lap of the ankels and pinch down the center of your foot to your toes marking the leather each side so you know where to stich the front center seam, statch stiching the center seam from toes to the ankel checking as you get about half way that its not to tight when you try and step into the shoe otherweise you will rip the leather or the stitching will break, so you hare reached the point where all the stitching is compleeted you just cut above the stitching along the front center seam and then cut away from the shoe at an angle to remove acsesive leather (check the pic im not verry good at describing this part) the shoe is finished.

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