Making the Shoe

The following instructions are applicable for making most, if not all, medieval type shoes.  The latchet shoe is simply shown as a type. Any special instructions should be noted at this point.  Cut out the various pieces as shown.  Here you can see a pair of lasts, based on one found in Greenland.  The leather is a red goatskin.


shmk1.jpg (12121 bytes)
shmk2.jpg (16107 bytes) The "closing" of the uppers, or sewing together the pieces, really begins with the attaching the counter, or heel stiffener in the heel , and attaching the top band (right). shmk3.jpg (7933 bytes)
shmk4.jpg (10018 bytes) Looking at the outside of the quarters you can see where the split stitching was sewn on the inside of the counter.  Care must be taken  to not penetrate the outer edge of the leather.
Some of you might have noticed that I am sewing these pieces with needles instead of bristles.  This is not unknown in closing.


The top band when it is completely attached stretches around the latchets, supporting and strengthening them.

shmk8.jpg (10270 bytes)
shmk5.jpg (8228 bytes)
shmk6.jpg (10474 bytes)
shmk7.jpg (11737 bytes)
shmk9.jpg (9124 bytes) To the left you can see what is referred to as a "round seam", made with split stiches, knitting the butted edges of the pieces together.  As you can see below this seam, sometimes referred to as a "flesh-edge" seam, is only visible on the grain side by the pattern of its compression (and the occasional error in my less than perfect sewing).
shmk11.jpg (8746 bytes) shmk10.jpg (7855 bytes)
shmk12.jpg (9700 bytes)
shmk13.jpg (6752 bytes) shmk14.jpg (8293 bytes) shmk15.jpg (5397 bytes)
shmk16.jpg (6097 bytes) Above, from left to right, you can see the progression of the "half-cast" stitch, where the needle of one thread loops around the other thread, forming a half a square knot inside the leather.  This hleps strengthen the seam, especially where the tongue attaches to the vamp.


On this shoe, there is only a single side seam finishing the upper.

make1.jpg (7480 bytes)
shmk17.jpg (9867 bytes)

Return to Contents or Go on to Part 2 of Making the Shoes.

Footwear of the Middle Ages - Making the Shoe, Page 2, by I. Marc Carlson. Copyright 1999
This page is given for the free exchange of information, provided the author's name is included in all future revisions, and no money change hands, other than as expressed in the Copyright Page.