Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buckles and Bows

Today, after being bored out of my wits by the pink anglaise's never-ending hem (I like hand sewing but am feeling impatient lately) and not feeling like finishing my other mitt (the first one turned out nice...but one mitt isn't much good), I started looking seriously at my Georgiana silk and Devonshire leather shoes from American Duchess. These have been the most sizable investment I've made in my 18th century wardrobe by far, but so comfortable and worth it! I ordered the Angelus leather paint supplies for the Devonshires today and while they didn't have a nice cream or ivory color, I will attempt to mix mustard and white. To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any extant leather shoes with designs painted on them, but because I foolishly scotch-guarded my silk Georgies in a hurry to have them ready for an event and now (as far as I know) can't re-dye or paint on them again, I would love to have some shoes with a design on them. I may do a very subtle vine-like design on the leather Devvies to make up for this, and use the matte finish so they're not so obviously shiny leather.

But because the Angelus paints won't get here for some time, I got antsy and started looking at buckles. To date I have tied my Georgies with ribbon and it's pretty, but I want OPTIONS...."Accessories" is my middle name. Aren't these GORGEOUS (European, ca. 1770, V&A Museum).

So I did a little shopping around.....

First I looked at other existing buckles:
I really liked this one, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 1760-70) because it's pretty without being too terribly glitzy. Because I usually am portraying a middle class French habitant, even when I'm really dressed up I can't really justify rhinestone buckles (oh but can I resist it? ha.). So I started looking at Etsy and found these, which aren't really buckles but shoe clips, and I think I can get them to work.

They were only $6 and I just couldn't say no! I also found something a little more lower-middle-class for $5, and while I can't find anything really close to them in existing 18th century buckles, I don't think they'd be terribly out of place:
The black leather behind them is removable, and they have a vertical bar so I can just slide them over the shoe latchets. I looked at a few plain brass buckles, but they're just SO plain...I can't bring myself to put them on really pretty shoes.

Then I got to feeling really wistful about never being able to be aristocratic and I adore all things diamond-like...and for Halloween I was thinking about being the Duchess of Devonshire so fancy buckles are in order, right? Here's a nice little paste extant from Historic New England, 1780-1800.
 And then I found these for $2.09 each at The Buckle Boutique and could not pass them up:

Soon my lovely shoes should be well-adorned and I'm so excited to take pictures of them! And Lauren is thinking about making more 18thc shoes in damask, argh, my poor bank account. If only I could get as motivated about sewing right now as I am about shoes...


  1. Awesome! Aren't fab buckles the best! SO hard to find tho... Hey as for painting over the scotch guard, I did it. It worked best if you don't use water, though. The water beads on top of the scotch guard. I did a couple thin coats with acrylic. I think dyeing is no longer an option tho :( Can't wait to see yours!

  2. I think I have the light sky blue base color I want and don't need to dye again, I just really got to wishing that I could have done some of the designs I've been seeing on existing shoe examples. I think I will go ahead and try painting over the scotchgard now that you paved the way...nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  3. Hey I replied to you on my shoe post - and ps you can also use permanent markers. I just decorated a leather pair like this. I will post them in the am. It worked great. It might work over scotchguard too, but with plain silk it might bleed. Might wanna test... But you can get great tiny designs you can't always get with a paintbrush.

    Good luck!