Friday, May 16, 2014

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Introducing the New "Georgiana" 18th Century Shoes, And How to Dye Them Perfectly

Today, after years of re-development, I'm happy to announce that "Georgiana" 18th century shoes have returned!

"Georgiana" was the first American Duchess shoe style ever, but after we sold out of our first run, I wanted to make some changes based on customer feedback, and my own experience working with the materials.

18th century shoes

Years later, we finally got it right. It took several factory changes, overall improvements to our craftsmanship, and hunting down the right materials, but now I'm very happy with the second generation Georgies, and I hope you will be too.

The new Georgianas are made of dyeable cotton sateen, lined in leather, with thick leather soles. They have a more elegantly pointed toe, straight side seams, and round latchet shapes that place them nicely in the 1770s-1790s.

18th century shoes

The dyeable fabric has been a real challenge. It turns out that dyeable satin is incredibly hard to source, and very difficult to work with. I spent months looking for an alternative, and found this wonderful sateen, a slightly glossy 100% cotton textile that is easy to work with, looks great as-is, and also takes the dye *perfectly.* Instead of me just telling you, though, I thought it best to show you...

Dyeing Your New Georgiana Shoes

What You'll Need



The Georgianas are ready to be dyed out of the box. Be sure to put down some paper or a cloth to protect your surface, put on gloves, and set aside 20 minutes of uninterrupted time.

Starting at the back seam of the shoe, I applied the dye with the wool dauber, moving around to the toe quickly. Use the paintbrush to get in any little crevices. Do not over-saturate the fabric. Adding more dye will not darken it.

Start at the back seam and move around the entire shoe. Leave the heel for last.

Dye the heel last. Use a small paintbrush to get in the small areas.
You want to dye the shoe in sections - so the quarters and latchets, then around the toe and tongue, then the other quarter and latchet, until you have gone all the way around the shoes from back seam to back seam. Dye the heel last. Make sure you do the entire shoe without stopping - stopping halfway through will result in spots or streaks!

Cock the latchets so the dyed areas aren't touching.
When you're done, place the shoes apart and place the latchets edge-to-edge so that no dyed part of the shoes are touching. Allow them to dry overnight.

Spray those puppies with Scotchguard
Once completely dry (24 hours +), spray the shoes thoroughly with Scotchguard, or a similar fabric protector spray. This will not distort the color, and will keep them from spotting if they get wet. Spray the inside a bit as well, as some of the dye may have soaked through.

The finished Georgianas, dyed blue to match the stripe in the dress. Shown with Fleur buckles.
And that really is it. There's no "dye creep," no having to "chase" the dye, no lightening or darkening of the color. You literally just put it on and it dries exactly the same way, with a wonderfully consistent result. With nearly 200 colors to choose from, you can dye your shoes to match *anything* in just 20 minutes, creating a completely custom pair of 18th century shoes just for you.

Considerations

  • The Georgies have not been tested with any other kinds of dye besides International. We do not recommend any other kinds of dyes, especially hot dyes that require rinsing - use these at your own risk.
  • Shoes that have been dyed but not sprayed with a sealer can be dyed again, but only a darker color - example: dark purple over light blue, or black over yellow.
  • Shoes that have been sprayed cannot be dyed again.
  • The dye can soak through the lining in some places. Be sure to spray the outside and inside of the shoe with the Scotchguard. Test to see if any dye will bleed onto your stockings by running a damp cloth inside the shoe (after you've sprayed them!).
  • For instructions and more in-depth information on dyeing your fabric shoes, see our Information page here.

18th century shoes dyeable
The finished Georgianas, dyed blue to match the dress.
Can you imagine the possibilities?
Purchase your pair of Georgianas at



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11 comments:

  1. Oh my! These look absolutly smashing!!!

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    1. I'm so happy with how they came out, and how well the fabric dyes. Absolutely flawless!

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  2. I love the color you used for your demonstration. Does that color come in the paints for the leather shoes?

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    1. Hi Angela - the color doesn't come pre-mixed in the paints we have, although Dharma Trading Company has a larger range of Angelus colors, and they have "Squadron" and "French Blue" that look about the same: http://www.dharmatrading.com/paints/angelus-leather-paint.html?lnav=paints.html

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  3. Looks amazing! I was wondering what colour of dye you used on these Georgianas?

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    1. Hi Valerie - the color is International A158. It's in the extended palette here: http://www.american-duchess.com/historic-shoe-buckles-accessories/international-fabric-shoe-dye

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  4. This is fantastic. I really love the finish the new fabric has, and while the originals were lovely, I like the not-too-shiny quality of this cotton sateen. It almost resembles silk!
    The new toe is really nice, too, and I'll definitely be getting myself a pair....or four.
    ;-)
    XOXOX

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    1. Thanks! We found the sateen quite by serendipity, and I'm soooo happy with it. The satin was such a pain, and I'm glad to replace it with something infinitely better.

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  5. I am so excited to get my pair next week and dye them bright yellow!

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  6. I want to need a pair but how can i ?

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    1. Hi Ramzanul - "Georgianas" are available to buy here: http://www.american-duchess.com/shoes-18th-century/georgiana-18th-century-shoe

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