The last thing I needed to complete my revolutionary outfit was a pair of red shoes. I'd love to get my hands on a pair of red Kensington from American Duchess, but I will have to wait and see if they'll come back. Without any luck in finding accurate shoes, I had to make decent shoes. I'm not going to start with shoemaking, so it was a question of refurbishing a pair of excisting shoes.
I didn't clean the shoes properly before starting to apply the paint. The first layer was a real disappointment. I used just a thing layer, thinking that it would be good to use as a primer, the result was a blotchy pink shade. You could see every stroke from the inbuilt brush and the shade was horrible. I was ready to give up, especially since the colour wasn't the bright red that I wanted, but decided to try some more layers. For the next layer I took a lot of paint on the brush, it was dripping with paint, and applied generously all over the shoe. That was the trick, all of a sudden the the shoes turned an uniform bright red shade. I had the shoes rest over night and then I added another thick layers just to be sure.
I was very happy with this result. In the original fashion plate the only thing visible is a plain red toe, I felt that it was a bit too plain though. The shoes I had dyed basically looked like just a red pair of pumps and didn't look 18th century enough. I decided to trim them a bit, but not too much. I added a thin black piece of satin ribbon round the opening, using superglue. Then I boxpleated two pieced of grosgrain ribbon. I put a row of stitches down the middle, to keep the pleats in shape, and then I used more superglue to attach them to the front.
Just the facts
Materials: one pair of second hand pumps, one bottle of all-in-one leather dye, satin ribbon, grosgrain ribbon.
Cost: $30 (split more or less half between the shoes and the paint)
Year: Late 18th century
How historically accurate is it? Not very, 10% for the general look.
Hours to complete: 2, but a lot of waiting time to let the paint dry
First worn: 28th of June for Silvergruvans Dagar in Sala.
What I've learned with the project
My main lesson was that it isn't hard to dye and trim shoes, and I'm probably going do similar things in the future.