Making Women's Shoes

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Making Women's Shoes

#1 Post by dw » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:59 pm

I have a question for historians and makers of ladies shoes...

Back before there were such things as heel wheels and high density plastic heels, how were heels for ladies shoes constructed and attached?

I realize that in some cases ladies heels were just stacked heel lifts. But in other cases (as with Nasser's brocaded turnshoe, although probably 20th century) the heel was covered and probably wood...am I correct? I've seen very old ladies shoes...several hundred years old (?)...that were constructed the same way with regard to the heel.

I am wondering because heel blocks for women's shoes seem impossibly hard to get in the shape and heel height a maker might want. But this was done before heels became a separate commodity, so it had to be done by hand and one heel at a time.

Can anyone run me through the drill?

And if you make women's pumps currently and don't use commercial heel blocks, how do you do it? What do you use for materials and how do you attach the heel...especially a covered heel...to a handmade shoe? [Note I am postulating a shoe made with a good, but thin, leather insole a leather heel stiffener and either inseamed to the breast of the heel or a cement construction.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#2 Post by rocketman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:04 pm

Ah, the sixty four dollar question---
I am responding not because I can claim to have made many but I have been working this design question for about a year.
First the wood heel is made anyway that works for your design. Bandsaw and drum sander work the best for me. I tried a lathe but cutting two exactly the same actually became tougher than it looks.
But the bottom line is rough out on the band saw, then drill, then shape. The drill is for the heel tube that can be inserted allowing for the heel lifts/tips to be installed after the leather is bonded on. The sizes of the tubes can be challenging as the color of the lift/tip stem changes their pin diameter.
The obvious trick is to use a flat front on a wood heel. This allows the sole material to go down the front of the heel and sandwich it to the shoe. A metal shank is also sandwiched between the insole and baseboard. The pre-made baseboards are cardboard but can be made from hammer jacked leather I figure. After the the shoe is lasted and bonded like Tim's video shows, you can bond on partially the sole leaving the material that will cover the front of the heel hanging. Bond on the heel, pull the last and nail through the insole, shank and baseboard into the wood heel, then bond the hanging sole material down the front of the heel. A partial insole is then bonded over the nail area partway down the shank area.
The old (sorry, 20 years ago old) wood and metal heels had a round steel tube spike inserted onto/into a wood block that had an area for the sole to overlap. These used R2 tips I believe that are round. These were top half flat front and bottom half round metal spike. A lot of Italian stilettos still use this heel today. They used bronze tips that would not spark but they put dents in wood floors.
I don't like flat front heels, so the heel sandwich goes out the window for me. I'm looking at making wood baseboard/shanks that can be bonded to the heel first and function both as the baseboard and shank. I have seen recently in Italy that the metal shanks are being put on the outside of the soles now. This is a cool trick but the metal work involved is a little much unless you can chrome plate in your shop. I have cheated and made wood platform shoes that just have a boot top. The trick is to allow for some neoprene sponge between the insole leather and the wood. These are still popular designs though.
Well DW, now I want to know the right way to do it too.
Lyle

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#3 Post by das » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:41 am

Art & Mysteries of the Woman's Covered Heel (18thc)--

Well DW, what a can of worms... boy can you pick 'em!

When elevated heels were first adopted across Western Europe,c.1590-1610ish, how they were made initially was utter chaos, as each region
had to figure out pretty much on its own how to fabricate this, the latest fad, in the
cloistered world of the post-Medieval workshop--no HCC Forum back then. "Slack Heels" (i.e.,
un-sewn around the seat); heel-covers with darts and seams down the back to
bring them in tight to the wood; all were early attempts to make the latest
17thc. fashion craze. Out of this chaos slowly emerged the basic covered heel
construction we see from the 18thc-20th., until, by the late 19thc, when they were inside-nailed, just like they are mostly made today. So, the covered wool heel in it's mid-18thc., "high" orthodox construction, is what I'll write about here.

First, wooden heels were indeed purchased pre-made, rough-cut, bought from
the last- and heel-makers in sizes, and more or less carved to their final
shape from the 18thc. onward--shoemakers did not have to carve them from logs, from scratch
*sigh*, the last- and heel-makers did all that bit. There were a variety of women's covered heel styles:"English" heels, "French" heels, "Italian" heels, and other names as well,
that we can't figure out what, precisely, they were (e.g., "Polony"=Polish heels, etc.). Each pre-made, "rough", wooden heel had a hole drilled
through the middle top to bottom, and they were sold in bulk in strings,like garlics, or by the single pair, like women's heels and pre-cut soles
were/still are. The shoemaker bought these, and merely trimmed them exactly to suit the last at hand [Garsault:1767].

The heel-cover was all that held the wood heel onto the shoe, and it was secure enough when well-made. The heel-cover pattern begins as an
enlarged "D" shape, usually (18thc.) cloth (sometimes backed with whittawed
leather for strength) to match the uppers, or occasionally a contrasting color (or
colored leather, dyed by short-lived specialists, on account of the poisons
used), made large enough to envelop the heel tightly, over-lap the heel-breast and top (where the top-piece goes).

The rest of the shoe's construction aside, this heel-cover was sewn around the heel-seat, to the insole (uppers in between) just like a welt (or rand) from one heel-breast to almost the center of the back-curve while the cover was
folded up, good side against the good side of the uppers. Because of its awkward "D" shape, the cover cannot be sewn in place all the way around the seat in one go, so once
you reach the apex of the heel-seat's curve, the heel-cover is then folded down
more or less into its final position, and the last half is sewn by piercing each hole as you
sew the cover to line up with the hole, "holed" before-hand in the insole; the awl
wiggled through to re-open it, and the stitches made as best as you can. This takes you to the
opposite heel-breast. If you look closely at 18thc. women's covered heeled shoes in museums, you can usually detect this transition from regular sewing to this awkward method--the French called this "The English Stitch" [Garsault:1767]--the English just didn't discuss it Image

Garsault adds that some shoemakers managed to sew heel-covers without changing to this so-called "English Stitch", but he gives no further clues as to how to proceed. I've never been able to sew women's heel-covers without the "English Stitch" myself, but then I can count the women's covered heels I've made/tried on ten fingers, none of them terribly satisfactory. This is another practical reason why men's and women's shoemakers have been separate specialist branches of the trade time out of mind.

With the heel-cover now sewn in place all around the seat, the wooden heel(fine-trimmed and carefully fitted before-hand) was smeared with paste and slid into place inside the heel-cover. Any voids between the base of the
heel and the insole were filled with slivers of wood.* A very long(temporary) nail (reusable) was driven down through the hole in the middle
of the heel, into the last to pin it, with a washer under its head to protect the heel and facilitate its later removal--"The Heel Nail"
[Garsault:1767].

The two side portions of the heel-cover that over-lapped the heel-breast were eased and fitted to lay flat without wrinkles by cutting "V" shaped notches so they would follow the "U" shaped curve of the breast, pulled
tight and braced (a tight zig-zag stitch with a single waxed-end) as tight as possible across the breast. The portion of the heel-cover on top was likewise pulled tight, folded over, skived, and tacked(temporarily) with tiny pin-tacks (to avoid splitting the wood). The
heel-cover was then well-burnished (if leather), or gently smoothed down tight (if cloth) to the wood, with a special burnishing-stick called a
"Guinche" (no exact Eng. equivalent=heel-cover-burnisher?).** Then, to hold the heel in place inside the heel-cover until the paste dried, a "Heel Bridle" (a narrow strip of scrap leather) was used to strap the heel down
tightly inside the cover, secured with tiny pin-tacks (temporary) on either side of the shoe, driven right into the last through the upper of the shoe [Garsault:1767].

After the paste dried, this bridle was removed. The outsole was put on. The forepart stitched/sewed/made (ignoring details of the forepart construction here), and the portion of the sole that extended through the waist and followed up the heel-beast (to exceed
the top of the heel by 1/2" or so) was skived thin (like so-called "Louis heels" today),
pasted and tacked (temporarily) in place. Two "White Seams" *** were made, one along each corner of the heel-breast, piercing from the heel-cover with a fine curved awl, exiting in a shallow channel traced into the sole. The
end of the sole, cut to exceed the top of the heel by 1/2" or so, was then folded down
flat on top of the heel, skived and pasted.

The top-piece closed the box, so to say, containing the wooden heel. The top-piece was pasted on top, and pegged with only 1, 2, or 3 pegs, taking care not to split the wood heel (a finer, round-section pegging awl was used for
pegging wood heels, and very slim pegs). After pegging, another "White Seam" was made to blend continuously with the ones at either side of the
heel-breast, again piercing from the heel-cover, exiting through a channel in the
top-piece.

The top-piece was then finished plain (no ink, just burnished). It should be pointed-out that the finest stitching in these shoes was commonly all of this heel-cover "White" stitching, and if you can get it up into the 20 per inch range (never mind 64!) you'll be doing pretty "typical" work here.

If you browse any number of on-line picture galleries from the better shoe museums linked off our home page, you can see many examples of this heel-construction, from its 17thc. chaos, to its relative Rococo clumsiness,up through the beautifully refined examples made by makers such as Pinet, et al, in the late 19th and early 20thc. This was the way all the best ladies' shoes have been made, by-hand, for centuries. Pre-covered wooden (or today plastic) heels,
inside-heel-nailed, or "knocked-on" , began as a cheap, fast, low-end factory method trying to imitate this. Making a proper hand-sewn,
covered-heel, lady's shoe was/is a high art form, and not a technique that is easily mastered by anyone raised on making stacked leather men's heels--take my word for that.

*--18thc. women's heels had a very long heel breast that extended well into the waist, to support it, commonly negating the need for any separate shank-piece.

**--It was usual practice, too, to cover the uppers (cloth), as well as heel-cover (cloth) with a layer of paper, sewed right into the inseam of the shoe to keep the fabric clean while making the shoe. After the shoe was
completed, this paper was carefully cut or merely torn off. Plenty of antique shoes retain remnants of this paper buried down in the seams, if you know to look for it. If you cover your cloth heel-cover with paper, you can
burnish it a bit as well.

***--Garsault calls "White Seams/White Stitches" those made with bleached flax thread, waxed with "masheen" (i.e., pounded beeswax, rosin, and white-lead oxide for color--not heated/melted together).

Before I get deluged with follow-up questions, let me just say that this synopsis of M. de Garsault's 1767 instructions, with copious illustrations,is in my forth-coming book 'Art of the Shoemaker', due out in 2008 by The
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I have no facilities to draw sketches, post pictures here, or other high-tech stuff either, so please be patient, and even better, buy the book Image

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#4 Post by dw » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:17 am

Lyle,

Thank you for your comments.

I did shoe repair (to pay the rent) for many years while I was developing my bootmaking skill and establishing my business.

I have seen almost everything with regard to attaching contemporary women's heels.

I am trying to avoid the use of the fiberboard insert (did you call it a "baseboard?" ) and think that a good leather insole ought to be capable of holding a large headed threaded nail. I have toyed with the idea of using a thin metal plate in place of the fiberboard insert but I'm not sure what would be gained or lost.

I believe one could build a stacked leather heel if it were not too high...and if height were needed a think brass or aluminum tube inserted into the middle of the heel (where would one get the tubes that are made specifically for pinned toplifts??) ought to reinforce it...and the initial lifts simply begged on. Subsequent lifts could either be pegged or possibly, cement bonding around the metal tube would be adequate. If this proved sturdy enough, a Louis type breast extension on the sole would still be possible.

But I see no other way to make a covered heel than to nail it in place from the inside of the shoe. The real problem I see with that is simply that on a well made shoe it is difficult to drill, or nail close to the back edge of the heel and if the heel is "slanted" under the arch, at all, getting the nail to drive at a corresponding angle is doubly difficult. Not even a heel wheel solves this problem entirely. And the result can be a heel that has a gap between the top of the heel and the vamp which might even gap open even further when the shoe is walked.

I was hoping for some tips on how to make this process both more elegant and more certain without screwing a lag bolt and a one inch washer in from the insole side. That's gotta sting.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#5 Post by dw » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:32 am

Al,

Whew!! That's a lot to digest in one sitting. My brain feels like it just got up from an over-eager sit down at the Thanksgiving table.

And before I "founder," let me say thanks for taking the time to write and post this. It is extraordinarily interesting. I had no idea...blame it on a lack of imagination...that attaching a heel could be done this way. But I knew there would be some such clever and impossibly arcane method that the great masters of the Trade must have developed.

Practically speaking, I doubt I would choose that method--not only do I know when I'm over my head but from what you've implied, I kind of suspect that women wearing such heels were inclined to rather more demur behaviour than our modern ladies are.

That said, I wish that I could make a woman's shoe without using nails at all. And of course, without using plastic heels either.

I have seen women's shoes with stacked leather heels...nailed from the inside...that are reliably early 19c. and that makes me wonder if women's shoe were made as you describe as late as say the mid 1800's? When do you suppose that the earliest use of "non-encapsulated," nailed on, high, covered heels emerged?

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#6 Post by das » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:05 am

DW,

Well you did ask for the tried and true historical method, so there you have it. Okay, if you want to start right out of the gate with the "lesser", knocked-on, inside nailed method, I can't advise ya there..... *tisk, tisk, tisk*

I've worked with 1660-1700s women's working-class heavy leather shoes, still caked with manure, made with covered wood heels, that held up way past their prime (and probably several owners), and were repaired over and over. I've handled fragments of what had been (1757) the finest-made women's silk fashion shoes, with covered wood heels, that marched hundreds of miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania through the shale and rocky hills of Western, Pennsylvania on the feet "Sookie Sly" and her notorious band of camp-following prostitutes, following the army to build Fort Ligonier (some of these shoes had hob nails added!).

Archaeology says, don't under-estimate the soundness of the construction.

I recall few, if any, 1700s women's shoes with stacked leather heels. Stacking the 18thc. women's heel-shapes in leather (extreme hour-glass with extended breasts) just won't support the shape. The earliest 19thc. American women's with stacked heels that survive were barely "women's", except in size--all rural/rustic/farm wear, brogans, etc.--nothing stylish IOW. Remember, the fashion for heel-less women's shoes was a factor ftom the end of the 18thc. and right into the 19thc.

Women's shoes with hand-sewn "Louis" heels continued right into the 20thc. Off the top of my head, the first with "knocked-on" (inside nailed) ... let's call them "pre-wrapped" (to distinguish between the two) heels are the heel-less styles (turnshoes) of the '40s and '50s, converted/up-dated in the 1860-70s. Those are probably the "first" inside-nailed, knock-on heels. Check June Swann's little pink covered 'Shoes' book to be certain, as I'm no "ladies man" (maker of ladies' shoes) Image

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#7 Post by romango » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:47 am

Al, thanks for the fascinating essay on womens' heels.

DW, I have been very satisfied with the results when I make a wood heel. First I form the seat of the raw wood to the insole. Then when leather is folded over the top edge, it makes this lip slightly more prominent, yet compressible. This creates a seal-like situation. The sole is tapered so that it's thin edge goes slightly under the heel. There is also a tab portion of the SOLE, in the center, that continues back under the heel.

This heel is simply glued on and then I use brass screw, from the inside, once removed from the last. I use a drill bit in a snake attachment and just a thin screwdriver. I'll use a bigger screw in the center and pepper a few little ones around the edge. This really pulls the heel "seal" up tight.

This approach was arrived at by seeing how several deconstructed Goodwill shoes were done. It may be more problematic with a thicker sole.
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(Message edited by romango on December 07, 2007)

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#8 Post by dw » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:46 am

Al,

Yes...and it is my job to open these cans of worms, snakes, helgrammites and other assorted animalculae

But, let's say...just for the sake of argument...that you wanted to make a pair of high heel, open toed, circa 1938 style women's shoes for Lady Miriam....

How would you go about it?

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#9 Post by dw » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:52 am

Rick,

Yes, I've seen something similar on "Goodwill" shoes...as well as many, many good customer's shoes brought in for repair.

I was looking for another way...or at least a reasonable certainty that I wouldn't be creating screw-head lumps under the heel--I've dealt with my share of princesses upset about the pea. And I also wanted to avoid the fiberboard heel seat reinforcement.

You posted this photo previously. I thought you did a good job of attaching the heel.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#10 Post by dw » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:47 pm

For the curious, here's a website that features antique clothing and has women's shoes dating back (purportedly) to the early 19th century.

http://www.antiquedress.com/galleryhats1.htm

What surprises me is that as early as 1911 or so (if I remember the presentation correctly) the women's heels were apparently nailed on in some fashion. At least they all have a "look" that is recognizable. Yet on shoes dating earlier, there is not much to indicate that the heels were done a different way or that (if I understood Al's description) are not solidly affixed to the sole/insole.

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(Message edited by dw on December 09, 2007)

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#11 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:57 am

DW,

Had a gander at that antique clothing site--neat stuff! I'd better not show Miriam, or we'll go broke. Anyway, all the shoe pixs that loaded for me from the first page had knock-on (inside nailed) "pre-wrapped" heels, and the earliest ones shown--c.1830s if I recall--were heel-less.

Take a look at June Swann's 'Shoes' (Batsford, 1982) for chronology of the heels 1600s-1900s. The covered heels are readily identifiable by the fine white stitching along the heel-breast, and around the cover above the top-piece.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#12 Post by dw » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:24 am

Al,

Yeah, I thought of you guys when I saw some of the pre- and WWII pumps. There was a chocolate suede pump--

[#4993]- c. 1938 FLIRTATION SHOES by DuCette, Strauss-Hirshberg Chocolate Brown Suede Pumps with Gold Trim!

--that made me think especially of Miriam.

BTW, this site also has some women's dresses from the thirties and forties Image

I just noticed that there is also a pair of ivory kid pumps with a buckle dated 1868. From what you've said it seems that even these were knock on heels..??

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#13 Post by dw » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:33 am

Al,

BTW, looking over them again just now, I was struck by how high the topline and vamp point of some of the circa 1930's-1940's pumps were. Why did that change? Were they uncomfortable or just harder to make? Is there a pattern guide/standard some where in the literature that would reproduce that look?

Oh, and another question--there are a couple of shoes circa 1890 or so that have very curved Louis heels...I think they might call them "Edwardian" style. The breast sweeps forward much more than is common nowadays...but that leaves it thin in the breast. Yet from what you've said these too are knock-ons. So...assuming that heel wheels were not common in the late 1800's is there some guideline for hand nailing such a heel? How many nails? Spaced how closely to the edge? What kind and how long a nail was used?

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#14 Post by dw » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:36 am

PS...for those who are looking at this antique clothing site...clicking on the initial photo will bring up a number of additional photos of the item in question. The couple I looked at, when I clicked on the photo, brought up ten additional--many of them close-ups. Very interesting and informative.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#15 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:52 am

DW,

I'm really out of my depth on women's work sadly--it's been a separate branch of our trade since. c. 370 BC after all [Xenophon: Cryopedia].

As to all these pattern-related questions, and heel-nail spacing, size, etc, I simply don't know. You'd have to go look at a bunch of old ones in a museum or something. Sorry.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#16 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:35 am

Here's an excellent 1880s example of a Pinet with a covered (hand-sewn) wooden heel from Bata Shoe Museum. It shows the white-seams, etc.--not knock-on--Al
6242.jpg
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Black silk boots with floral embroidery. Jean-Louis François Pinet, 1880s. Pinet's footwear was famous for its extravagant embroidery, elegant styling and delicate ‘Pinet' heel. (description provided by Bata Museum)

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#17 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:16 am

All,

I'm afraid I have to apologize and make a few edits to my essay on women's covered heel above. Thanks to June Swann for pointing out:

1) Garsault wrote "all" men's (French) wood heels had the hole through for the heel-nail--not women's, and not all surviving men's wood heels have this hole.
2) June feels there is enough corroborating evidence to suggest "Polony" (Polish) heels were stacked leather, rather than a style of covered wood heels.
3) And I typed "wool" for wood in one spot.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#18 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:31 am

PS--June also added:

"Slack heels are not 'unsewn round the seat': there's extra piece of leather folded or concertina'd between upper and heel seat, so that foot can flex, but all stitched together of course."

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#19 Post by dw » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:08 pm

Al,

Thanks to June and yourself for the corrections. I looked at June Swann's book Shoes and there is an illustration from Garsault in there that may be the one you are referring to. It really helped to illuminate your essay.

I am almost (I say almost tempted as I think I now understand the concept at least.

I wonder what the problem with sewing the heel cover "up" was? Seems to me that, as in inseaming, the heel cover might actually end up tighter, if sewn without the "English stitch"...esp. around the insole...when it was eventually turned "down."

And thinking in less historical terms I wonder if an all purpose cement wouldn't make up for a lot of flaws--sew the heel cover to the insole in the up position, cement it with AP, dampen it, and draw it up and around and tight to the heel block. Not only would this increase stability from the tension created in the damp heel cover but it would also allow the leather to be drawn down to the complex topography of a heel block without the bridle. As a side benefit perhaps the AP would retain its bond longer, and through more diverse elements, than a paste.

Just musing...like yourself I admire the work but don't have much "wantto." If I could figure out how to nail the heel on without splitting it...especially in that extended breast, I'd be satisfied that there was enough historical/chronological provenance to let it go at that. That said, my darlin' wife might have other ideas.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#20 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:27 pm

DW,

You might just scan and plug in that one plate out of Garsault up to go with my essay--I would have if I could have.

It would be excellent if one could sew the heel-cover all round in one go, then fold down afterwards, however if you do it that way, chances are you'll never get the heel-cover to pull tight-to-the-wood of the heel, if it's an 18thc shape that is. That being said, a flatter-sided, less hour-glass shaped heel would work fine the way you describe. There are 18thc. men's shoes with covered-wood heels made just that way, but in that case the heels are flat sided, some out-flaring, but none I can think of tapering inward.

Have a go... But remember, you're still facing extending the sole all the way up the heel-breast, and doing those "White Seams" by hand at 20+ per inch.

Didn't that Pinet heel inspire you? Don't you just want to master that technique?

Just don't tell your darling wife that "knock-on" heels are cheapo--and whatever you do, do not show her anything by Pinet or you'll be screwed Image

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#21 Post by das » Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:41 pm

Here's a scan of the Garsault illustration in question. It goes with the essay above.
6244.png

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#22 Post by corvin » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:26 am

I was flipping through Shoes by June Swann last night and came across a photo of a woman's shoe with a 5 1/2 inch heel dating from 1897 (page 59). It says on the previous page that heels during the 1890's "rose to enormous heights." As tall as 6 1/2 inches.

Does anyone know how such a shoe would have been constructed, specifically what type of insole and shank would have been used to handle such tall heel heights back then?

Thanks,
Craig

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#23 Post by dw » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:52 am

Craig,

Women's shoes aren't my forte but i don't see what heel height has to do with the insole or shank...??

I would guess that in the majority of cases, a leather insole would have been used and a standard spring steel shank.

Bear in mind that these kinds of shoes may have not ever been intended for actual walking around. I believe they tend to fall in the category of "fetish" shoes--some people derive a great deal of erotic stimulation from those kinds of shoes and the effect on the carriage of the body. Image

[I'm not one of those people but I've nothing against those that are...so don't get me wrong. Whatever lights your fire...]

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#24 Post by corvin » Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:49 pm

Here's a photo:
7835.jpg
7835.jpg (93.09 KiB) Viewed 4567 times


They don't really look like fetish shoes, but then again, who knows what was considered a fetish shoe back then!

As heel height gets taller and taller, the shoe twisting along the shank becomes more and more of an issue. With just a steel shank, there's not much to prevent this movement. I was just curious if anyone had any insight into how they dealt with this back then.

Thanks,
Craig

(Message edited by corvin on August 14, 2008)

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#25 Post by paul » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:19 pm

Craig,

They look like "come hither" shoes to me. Something that some "dame" would have worn. Actually I'd bet my Grammy had pair like those. She was a shorty and was known to get around. God rest her soul.Image

If you look closely at the seat of the heel base itself, you'll see that it's pretty long. It looks like it comes almost half way down the shank. That would support it from twisting. Additionaly, I've taken some of these apart to discover that the shank was actually sandwiched in between two layers of heel seat material, laminated like, even tacked the way we peg cowboy boot shanks.

I'm sure that would make them strong enough to sit at a bar lookin' pretty. "Not that there's anything wrong with that".

Paul

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