Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Weakness..........
Yes. I have a definite affinity for shoes, its true. Especially children's shoes. There is a particular charm in the tiny petite~ness of a little ones shoe...don't you think? These 3 pair are not related in any way, save for the fact that they have come out to play together! The largest pair in the very back are just 7" looking at them, most likely for a 5~6 year olde child.
Here they are up close. All of these shoes today are entirely hand stitched. Very fine workmanship in nice even lines, and near perfectly even teensy stitches. This pair is made with straight last, meaning, there is no right or left differentiation between the soles, if looked at from the bottom. Folks sometimes would ink 'right' and 'left' on the foot bed inside the shoe, to help them remember which one went on what foot. They have grained leather uppers, with black patent leather heel and toe foxings that , instead of being two separate entities, continue on around the shoe, having been joined in the middle. This is interesting, as I have not seen too many with this continuous foxing. The below painting of Miss Jane Henrietta Russell, by Joseph Whiting Stock in 1844, shows a near identical pair with front laces.

This is a good view of the binding on the front throat openings, as well as of the original brass tipped laces. One could buy laces ready made, but as shoes were commonly made at home, so were the lacings. Women would use the same little tape loom they used for drawstrings, ties and garters, to make up shoe laces.

I really like this next picture, as it illustrates the silhouette of an early shoe perfectly....

Early 19th century shoes nearly always have the top edge of the back of the heel lower than the shoes get more modern, the back of the heel rises to be level all the way round.
This next pair are in a beautiful deep teal blue silk & wool blend upper, with inserted separate faced tongues and the more common patent leather heel and toe foxings that are not connected at the center of the shoe

All hand stitched, with lacings at the inner ankles. Straight last with rounded square toes~ these are c1830s.

This is just one way of lacing a shoe with a single lace~ (replacement cord). There were all sorts of fancy ways used~ the ladder stitch being a very common one. The lace would go directly horizontal from one side to the other, looking like a ladder when all done up. I guess when one thinks of it, I bet there was plenty of time to sit and fiddle with one's shoes with no t.v, or Internet, or phone, or computer games, or cars.....or or or!!!

Both pair of shoes so far are 'flats' meaning they have no heals. Just plain flat. no twisted ankles. nothing to break. plain and simple!

This next pair, ohhhh so adorable are from the 18th century. They have a single stacked leather heel

Pointy little toes, and you can visibly see the stitches all the way 'round the sole. There is a channel cut at an angle on the heel, for the stitching to fit in to. On a regular size shoe, you would only see the channel, and not any of the stitching.

This pair are so absolutely teensy weensie, just an inch&half across and 4 inches long! They do show wear on the soles, but were most likely shoes for a very special dolly. They are so very rare, and even tho one is missing its long leather tongue, it makes no matter

They are pierced at the throats for some sort of decoration, long since unpicked and added to something else..... I love to admire each and every tiny stitch

Even dolly could not escape the torture of having her precious little toes smooshed into fashionable steep points

As I hold these little wonders, a certain phrase comes to mind 'to have and to hold~ till death do us part'.............


Sandra Evertson said...

Sigh...I have just melted! The most gorgeous things I have ever seen! And I can't tell you how much I appreciate your vast knowledge!
Thank You!
Sandra Evertson

Christine LeFever said...

Oh my but you have an array of incredibly old shoes. I am swooning!


Lone Pierette said...

Rachel , your blog is one of my absolute favorites ! I could stay here for ever !!!
hugs Lone

Atticbabys said...

I too am smitten by antique shoes and especially baby ones. Thankyou for sharing Rachel! What a lovely collection~ THe first pair remind me of the painted on shoes of the Izannah Walker dolls!
Hugs, Nan

The Rustic Victorian said...

How totally wonderful to hold these treasures!