Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Regency Shoe Hack!

Ladies do you long for  some pretty pointed toe early regency shoes that look period and are made from real leather with real leather soles? I know I do! 

Like these beauties from the Worthington art museum ca. 1800

 I'm happy to say I found the perfect regency shoe hack for those of us who want to stay more on the period correct side of things without shelling out the big bucks!
For those of us who do regency costuming or reenactment there are 2 options when buying shoes. Option 1 is to spend the big bucks and get some beautiful reproduction shoes from Robert Land or American Duchess, these shoes will be awesome and last you a long time and I know for a fact that American duchess shoes are super comfy as well but as mentioned they are spendy... option number 2 is to go to old navy or target and buy some $20 pointy toe ballet flats that are pretty but have rubber soles and are made from foot funk inducing imitation leather.

Old navy shoes, cute and cheap but wont last long and not very authentic...

 Well ladies if neither of those options appeals to you, I just found a cheap, attractive, almost period correct, easily customizable alternative! 
Meet the Mia Sweetness Limited Edition shoes!!!

Pretty pointy toed Mia Sweetness shoes

You can get them at Amazon or my preferred retailer 6pm.com
They come in white, nude, Kelly green and a kind of orangey red.
Now let me list the virtues of this shoe!

See the little wooden wedge heel?

They are 100% leather inside and out! The leather is nice and super soft almost like kidskin,which was a popular material for period shoes. They have real leather soles as well! it's got the lovely pointed toe that was so very popular in the late 18th century and the first decade of the 19th century, they almost look like they are straight lasted, they also have this cute little small wooden wedge heel that seems to be common in many extant shoes and most exiting they costs less than $50!!! The price on 6pm tends to fluctuate but it goes between $30 and $50 with free shipping!!! You can't beat that price for real leather shoes!

These leather soles almost look like straight lasts, almost but not quite...

I can never resist a good deal so I already bought 3 pairs of these shoes! 2 pairs of white and one 
Pair of nude. I m going to keep one pair plain white because one can't go wrong with dainty white kid leather slippers worn with a white regency gown, but what I really love are all those wonderful period examples of colorful regency and empire shoes. 

I just love the striking pink and black print on these shoes from the Manchester galleries! and look at that little wooden wedge heel!

These late 18th century shoes are probably my favorite pair out there, I need to try and reproduce these!

While not as pointed in the toe area i just adore these yellow polka dot shes from the first decade if the 19th century!

I decided to paint my extra pairs, I figured I should go ahead and paint the nude ones since I dint care for the color anyway, I had a bottle of Fiebings leather dye already in my craft stash.

The shoes in their original condition.

So I prepped the shoes for dying first by removing the little decorative ribbon then by deglazing them with rubbing alcohol and taping off the soles, the I applied the dye with the dabbler included...
Well the dye didn't work so well. For some reason I could not get the dye even and the shoes never matched one was always darker than the other despite upwards of a dozen coats of dye. 

after a couple of coats of dye, notice how the right shoe is darker in color and kind of blotchy>>

I finally gave up on the dye and decided to paint the shoes instead. I bought Angelus leather paints at Dharma Trading

I got the mustard and light yellow colors and mixed them to the shade I had in mind. The paint worked like magic, was super easy and only took 2 coats of color and one clear coat of sealer. 

They looked so much better after painting them!!!

I'm now entirely sold on the Angelus leather paints! They are so easy to use and when applied don't look like paint at all! Love love love the end result!  To add a bit of spiff to the shoes I added a little cockade to the toe made from some mustard colored velvet ribbon, small silk tassels and some vintage brass buttons, and voila totally cute regency shoes for under $50! 

The final product of my labors

Perhaps I should add a shoe label on the inside to make them look more period when they are not currently on my feet?

I couldn't be happier! Sure they are not 100% period correct, the vamp is a bit low, they lack a side seam on both sides they arent quite as pointed as many extant shoes and they aren't straight lasted ( but neither are the American duchess ones, so I feel better about that) but for the price the are pretty amazing!
 I think next time I will experiment with adding either a silk or petersham binding around the edges and perhaps some bits of binding on the sides to mimic the side seam seen in extant slippers.
But for now I'm quite happy with these and I have seen originals that did not have binding around the outer edge so I'm not too far off. 

These shoes from the Manchester galleries have no edge binding and are a lovely yellow! Mine look rather a lot like these don't you think?

So if you have been looking for some cheap non farby regency shoes, give the Mia Sweetness shoes a try! I promise you won't be disappointed!


  1. I actually own four pair of these shoes and use them for all my Regency events. My favorite are the dalmation-spotted pony hair, but I wear the nude most often. But I haven't done anything to decorate them--based on how awesome yours look, I'm definitely going to have to give it a go! You cockade and tassel are perfect!

  2. I hope it's OK to post this on this entry, I've been enjoying your blog and I nominated it for an award :D


  3. So glad everybody likes my shoe pimpimg ;) and thanks you so much for the award Crystal! I've however been awarded this before so I'm not sure if I can accept I it again?

  4. I know you haven't update for a while now but I nominated you for the Liebster award which you can refuse or accept.You can find all the detail of this on my blog www.nancyravencostumes.blogspot.ca

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