Friday, October 14, 2011

A pocketbook, leather shoes and a little more on buckles.

So a little about each piece:

The pocketbook is finally finished. It is bound with navy wool tape from William Booth Draper. As I understand it, this method of binding the edges of an item with tape is called "ferreting." Please do correct me if I'm wrong. I learned this from "The Glossary of 18th Century Costume Terminology." They don't specifically list pocketbooks as something this term applies to, but I'm inferring...

The inside of the pocketbook is constructed very simply, with no little gussets at the edge of the pockets inside. This is a personal preference. I have never actually seen this method of construction on an extant wallet, just to note. Also, a lot of original wallets have a piece of the wool tape, connected to each corner, creating a bit of a triangle, which I think is supposed to keep the flap edges down. I didn't do this simply because I never really liked how it looked.

The papers are reproduction 18th century
American money from Williamsburg.

Below are some originals. You can see the triangular tape I mentioned and some other methods of constructing the inside pockets.

Man's wallet. Live Auctioneers.

Man's wallet. Live Auctioneers.

MFA, American, New England 1750 - 1800
The shoes are leather Devonshires from American Duchess. The design in based on this pair of original shoes. I do not know where they are housed. If anyone does, please do share.

The original shoes are made of cloth. I can't tell what type of fabric, however. The design seems to be painted on and the edges are bound. Perhaps they are bound in silk because it looks shiny and smooth. 

For mine, I chose to use leather shoes to try something different. I went totally non-traditional and decorated them with permanent markers. It worked fantastic! I find, you can get a much smoother and more precise fine line with markers than with a paint brush. It was cheating a little, but who's counting... I would have loved to be able to bind the edges, but I couldn't figure out a good way to do this, since the shoes are already constructed, and I wasn't going to go opening up seams!

I did not seal the design in any way. No more scotchguard for me! I don't think it works on leather though... I think there is sealant you can use for when you stain leather, but I don't have any. Also, I was a little timid to mess with them further after the scotch guard fiasco on the last pair. These shoes can probably go outside and be just fine. I will have to see and report back. 

The buckles are from Fugawee. A note about attaching buckles to the latchets: a lot of reproduction buckles do not have very sharp prongs. To help this, mark the spots and use an awl to make the holes. Please don't ever use a leather punch. It will leave too large holes in leather and you will never be able to adjust the size again without the previous holes showing, and if the shoes are fabric, there is a good chance the cloth will start to fray.

In my last post, about the black silk shoes, there was a lot of attention paid to the antique buckles I shared. I wanted to show them in closer detail, since there was quite a bit of interest regarding how they poke through the latchets. I mentioned they have very sharp prongs, making them incredibly easy to attach without ruining your shoes. Please excuse that they are a bit tarnished. See below:

I think the lower prong may be broken off a little.


  1. STOP!!! I haven't been able to think about anything but shoes in the past 30 hours after your LAST post. My work productivity is at an all time low.

    I did order the sealer to go over leather paint but it's probably wise not to try it over permanent marker, I can see it bleeding all over in a hot mess.

  2. Very nice! I've got a hussif to finish, and then I would like to make two pocketbooks (one for my husband and one for me). I really like the construction design you used. I'll have to remember this entry! :)

  3. Annabelle - haha I'm addicted to the shoes right now! Its like my day job! You will have to tell how the leather sealer works out. I want to make a pair so I can actually wear them out without worrying so I'll need to seal and do all that stuff.

    Cynthia - thanks a bunch. I thought it was simpler to do it that way. It was very fun to make. Time consuming, but such a cool end result.

  4. You can certainly use a leather hole punch IF you get one with a revolving head that has different sizes:

    Being an equestrienne comes in handy--I used the smallest setting on mine (though my buckle prongs from Burnley & Trowbridge were quite sharp and drew blood when I accidentally pricked myself!), and the prongs make the hole slightly larger when they slide through all the way by stretching. So don't discount a leather punch, just get it at a tack store!

  5. Kristin - yay a fellow equestrian! I have not tried with that kind of punch yet. I will have to. I'm kind of untalented with those as of yet :( I never seem to quite punch hard enough... I always get the grooms to punch my stirrup leathers. So far I just prefer the awl since you're not removing any material, just squishing it to the side, so if you need to make new holes you just smoosh it back together. There's still a mar of course but not a hole. I'll have to get the leather punch and check it out. Thanks!

  6. I had to redo holes in my red leather B&T shoes and honestly? You can't notice the holes. Which sounds weird since it's, you know, *a hole,* but I swear, no one notices. *I* know they're there, but no one else does. :)

    Having a sharp leather punch works wonders, as does making sure the leftover pieces are cleared from the inside of the punch--if it's blocked, no leather is getting cut. The Herm Sprenger punches are AMAZING but I cannot justify the $60--my $20 one works just fine!

  7. You are so amazing!!!!!! Just sayin' :-).

  8. Thanks, Lauren!! So flattered! :)

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