Saturday, April 19, 2014

HSF 7: Head and Toes - 18th century court gown project

I thought I was taking an easy out on this challenge, but oh my gods, no.  I've had these shoes for something like two months now, but had been so intimidated by the thought of punching holes in them that I've left off on attaching the buckles until there wasn't much choice left.  Despite viewing both the tutorial and video on the website, I was still having trouble visualizing how the buckles went together.  However, Lauren was great with a prompt response to a plea for help via her website and having a different photo of the buckles in action certainly helped.  I still ended up poking about twice as many sets of holes as necessary, but there's nothing to be done about that now.  Most of them are hidden by the upper latchet, but at least one prominent set of holes isn't, so I'll be looking for a way to embellish them that covers that.  Giant silk ribbon bow, perhaps.  Must put ivory ribbon on the shopping list.

I'm still kicking myself for my first few holes that I made with the awl, as that was quite a struggle.  However, with a bit of leather conditioner, I think that those holes will be the easiest to minimize the appearance of.  I later switched over to the punch on my grommet setter, which was super easy and made perfect little round holes which look great everywhere, except smack dab in the center of the upper latches on the shoe turned away from the camera.  Ah well.  The sting is eased a bit as I chose to go with a pair of the Imperfects.  What little damage I could find was nothing compared to the scuffs I made putting on the buckles, so I consider that a choice well made.

I haven't done any further embellishment on these because I'm wanting a pair of straight up ivory shoes to go with the 18th century court gown that could double to be worn with my more generic 18th c outfits.  Also, I can't stand to cover that leather up because it's soooooo soft.

Year: 1770s
Notions: reproduction buckles
How historically accurate is it? pretty spot on
Hours to complete: 2, but at least half of that was spend staring at them in terror with an awl in my hand.
First worn: Hopefully next weekend for Figments and Filaments
Total cost: round about $150 for shoes plus buckles


  1. It took me weeks to work up to punching the holes in my silk-covered ones. Scariest part of the entire outfit! :)

    1. Absolutely terrifying. I'm half-tempted to go back and put a series of holes in them to make it look like it was totally intentional.