14th cen­tury SwedishJutish lace up high shoes

These are calf-height shoes made for a friend who does mid-late 14th cen­tury Scani­an reen­act­ment. These are also the first pair of shoes I have fin­ished since com­ing across the A&S 50 pro­ject. I get to back­date things so this is pair 3 for the pro­ject that I hope will see me turn out about a pair every two months until AS50 (the 50th anniversary of the form­a­tion of the SCA) in six years time.


I can’t remem­ber the exact source for these shoes. They are based on a pair in a book the own­er has but it’s in Swedish (I think, it might be the Bor­ing­sholm book, in which case it’s in Nor­we­gi­an) and I can’t remem­ber the title. Update: They are from the Bor­ing­sholm book which doc­u­ments Dan­ish (Jutish) finds from the late 1300s.


I don’t know how pre­cise the repro­duc­tion is because I didn’t have any pho­tos of the side seams so I just built those in a logic­al way for the style. They’re a fairly gen­er­ic shape in terms of shoes of the peri­od, you see this size and shape of shoe all over Europe at the time, but the toe is quite inter­est­ing. The pro­trud­ing bit of the toe of the shoe has no sole under it, it is formed only from the upper. Here’s a pic­ture from the book. Three soles, the left and right ones have pro­trud­ing toe sec­tions as part of the sole, but the middle one just has a blunt point on the sole, a welt, and the pointy bit of the shoe is formed by the upper only (the dark grey bit in the pic­ture). EDIT: 08/07/08, this pic­ture shows three unre­lated soles, only the one in the middle is rel­ev­ant to these shoes. The oth­er two are just dif­fer­ent styles of soles also found on the site.

Here’s what that looks like on the ones I made:



As you can see the pointy bit is just upper leath­er, not sole or welt. Nev­er hav­ing done some­thing like this before it took me quite a while to bend my head around how to pat­tern and build it. I had to stop the sole seam 5cm or so back from the point of the sole on each side so there was room to turn the toe through. That gap was then sewn up with a whip stitch after the shoe was turned. The actu­al point is held closed with a few tun­nel stitches. Unfor­tu­nately I don’t have pho­to­graphs of the pro­cess of mak­ing these. They were quite tricky to make and I missed two dead­lines for deliv­er­ing them (sorry M!) and didn’t really have time for a lot of dur­ing-con­struc­tion pho­to­graphs.

Here is the shoe just after it was turned but before the toe was fin­ished:



The toe piece is quite long at this stage and the tip of it is unfin­ished edges so end on it looks sort of like a leath­er swiss roll. Not a good look, I don’t like leav­ing unfin­ished edges like that on things, it just doesn’t look very tidy. What I ended up doing was skiv­ing the end of the toe piece down really thin and fold­ing it back on itself to present a reas­on­ably tidy rolled edge. I also man­aged to get everything to fold in such a way that end on you don’t see the roll under.



I don’t know if that’s how the ori­gin­als were done because the toe doesn’t sur­vive intact but it’s what I think looks best and I’m rather pleased with how it came out.

The oth­er thing that was a first for me on these shoes was the one-piece lacing rein­force­ment on the second shoe. I skived the inside edges right down so they blend very nicely with the upper and they are wet formed around the angle in the upper. The rein­force­ments on the first shoe were done as two sep­ar­ate strips but I think this way is bet­ter as it provides some rein­force­ment to the end of the vamp open­ing.




The major thing that really didn’t work on these was the heel stiffen­er. Because this was a new pat­tern I left too much last­ing mar­gin. This meant that the heel stiffen­ers lost a lot off the bot­tom and ended up smal­ler than they needed to be. They both ended up a bit squint too, the second on really very squint. If I hadn’t been wor­ried about miss­ing the dead­line I’d have pulled this off and redone it. If these ever come back to me to resole I’ll fix them then. In the future I will make sure I put some align­ment marks on the pat­tern and on the leath­er so I can make sure the heel stiffen­er goes on straight and at the right height.


Here are a bunch of oth­er pic­tures of the shoes that should explain how they went togeth­er.

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