Monday, September 23, 2013

Historical Fortnightly #19: Wood, Metal, Bone

Originally, I was just going to recover a parasol but where is the fun in that? I needed to do something ridiculously impossibly challenging because....I need chopines. Actually, I just need new 16th Century shoes in general, but particularly chopines. Italian chopines. None of those "tie a brick to your feet and you are done" Spanish nonsense. Those are not chopines, those are bricks covered in fabric.

I wanted something like this:

Lovely, shaped, chopines wrapped in leather.

So, I needed to start out with wood for the core.  A lot of people have used the cork blocks but all I could find was the yoga ones and they are too small for my feet so, wood.  Pine to be exact.  It was 97 cents per a plank and it happens to be just the width of my foot, so yay!

The pattern sounds complex, but it's simple.   First, trace your foot or your favorite shoe.   In the 16th C, they did have left and right shoes - with straight lasts coming in in the Elizabethan age.  Second, draw out the base.  Now, because all your weight should be in the center of your foot, you need to make a "column" where the center of your foot is.  I measured the longest point and the widest point to get the center location.  I then transferred this to the base as well.  This helps greatly to line up the pieces later since the plank I got isn't that thick.  I had to double the plank.

Because of that, I had to make what I wanted to width of the shoe to be at the center a pattern piece as well.  That's why there are three pieces - the sole, the center, and the foot itself. 
I drew these using pencil on to the plank and cut them out.  The blue is the "top" side of the pattern and the green (probably looks black) is what the bottom side should look like.  This kept me from cutting into the wrong place on the bottom or nicking the top too much. 

A pre-sanded foot!   It didn't need to look perfect ( the marks are from using the chisel while it was face down on the pebbly sidewalk). 

Post sanded and shown with the pieces sandwiched together.  Although the mid to late 16th Century chopines are at an incline, the early ones aren't.  Since I do mostly early 16th C, this made more sense. 
A leather sole!

This is how I drafter the pattern for the leather.  Wrap some fabric really tight, pin it, cut off the excess.  It was a pretty decent pattern. 

This was the not fun part - punching all those hole with my awl along the sole just to attach the leather so I can have....a shoe. 

It's not perfect and I'm going to add some stuff to it before the end of the day but it is wood and metal (I had to use nails.  They are period)



The strap on the left one is a bit wonky and I do have to fix it but, as you can see, there are two! And I can strap them to my feet! Yay!
The Challenge: Wood, Metal, and Bone
Fabric: leather, wood
Pattern:  My own
Year:  1480-1530
Notions: Thread, nails
How historically accurate is it? I *think* it's pretty decent. I don't know as I've never made shoes before.
Hours to complete: 12 hours
First worn: Maybe this weekend
Total cost: Minus the wood crafting tools? 97 cents for the one plank of wood I destroyed. :-) I had the leather (it was an old waist cincher), picture nails, tacks, wood glue, and the leather for the soles as well was just the wood!


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