18th Century Shoes – The Second to Last Step

The shoe as it arrived, white in color.  I added the rhinestone tension buckle.

For those of you who have been following the production of the upcoming 18th c. shoes, here’s an update for you!  It’s been quite a trial, and I’ve learned several times over that patience is a virtue: these things cannot be rushed.

I felt bad about pushing the pre-sale date back so many times, but the shoes had to be perfect!  I would not present a product to you that was sub-standard.  Through five prototypes, delays, custom-made heels, fabric testing, and all kinds of weird communication problems, I am very happy to present to you the final prototype for the new shoes.

Right out of the bag

The prototype shoe arrived this morning, and I’ve spent all day playing with it.  First things first, I put it on, walked around, and found the fit to be accurate to my usual size (7.5).  The shoe is crazy comfortable too.  They’ve added a cushioned insole, and I did not experience any hot spots, rubbing, cutting, or uncomfortable squeezing throughout the day as I wore it around, which is really quite remarkable as I have very picky feet.

The shoe after I dyed it pink.

The next big test was to see if the fabric would dye.  I had a swatch sent along with the shoe, so just to see if it would take dye at all, I soaked a test piece in RIT dye for about 20 minutes, followed by a successful test dye on the shoe itself.

So what now?  I have approved this prototype and am now awaiting the production sample.  The difference is that the prototype was a close mockup of the final, but the production sample will show the full quality and proper materials.  This last shoe is what you will see when the time comes for ordering.

So bear with me just a little while longer!  The pre-order will be announced on this blog, on the American Duchess Facebook page, and on Twitter (AmericanDuchess).

Though it is pink in these photos, the shoe will come as a dyable white, able to be colored any hue.


  • Carly

    March 16, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    So pretty! How did you dye them exactly, if you soaked the test swatch? I'm assuming you didn't soak the whole shoe… ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Lauren Stowell

    March 16, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    Thanks guys! Carly, I did actually soak the whole shoe, but not for very long. It worked quite well, but next time I'm going to try a different method. It's good to know they can be colored by us, or colored by professionals at the shoe repair ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rowenna

    March 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Want. Have I mentioned, want? Seriously, I'm in love. I'm re-trimming and re-floofing my best gown in preparation of being able to wear it with these shoes!

  • Lauren Stowell

    March 16, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I've got the production sample on its way to me next week, so that means, fingers crossed, that the pre-order will open in a couple weeks time. FINALLY!

    Also, I do *not* recommend dunking the entire shoe in a boiling hot RIT dye bath. Nothing really bad happened, just that the shoe would have to soak in there for half an hour and I only dunked mine for a few minutes. The color is there, but it's not as strong as I wanted. I think painting it on is better, and if you are in any doubt at all, the shoe repair shop will do the best job.

  • Carly

    March 16, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    I would also worry that the dye might then come off on stockings and feet inside the shoe, since usually this dye is affected by water and moisture. That's probably a good way to get an even application, but I believe the professionals paint it on as well. I'd be too afraid to experiment with mine, so I think I'll just play it safe and let someone else do it.
    But I'm really excited to order these soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ How long of a wait from the pre-order, exactly, or was that up in the air?

  • Caramea

    March 16, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Oh, these look wonderful! I would like to know, how much will these cost (even an about amount?) when they can be ordered? I would maybe like to do a pre-order but not before I know how much it would cost. Thank you in advance for your answer! ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. Sorry for my English and possible mistakes, I'm not a native speaker. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lauren Stowell

    March 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Carly, yes I think you are right, painting on or having it done professionally are the better ways to go :-).

    After the pre-order ends it should be 3 or 4 weeks for the shoes to come in, then be shipped out to you guys. This is barring any weird complications, and I will have a more precise date in a bit.

    Caramea, the price for the white shoes is $85 if you pre-order, and $105 if you wait until they come into stock. If you pre-order, you will get the discount, and your size guaranteed. We need to collect 100 pre-orders for the shoes to be made, and if we don't, everyone will be refunded, and no shoes :-(.

  • Anonymous

    March 16, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Aww, they are BEAUTIFUL. Really. I would definitely wear these for non-historical wear. It was worth the wait to get them just so – the heel and toe shape in particular are spot-on cuteness on a stick!

    If I have the money when the pre-order comes up, I'm going to be getting on this bandwagon – roll on student loan day!

    Great work, Lauren – thank you for putting all this effort into these lovely shoes!

  • Lauren Stowell

    March 18, 2011 at 6:11 AM

    Thanks, GentleW ๐Ÿ™‚ If all goes accordingly, the pre-order will open in 2 weeks. I do not know how fast they'll go, or if we'll even make it to 100 pre-orders. I will be relying on you guys to spread the word!

  • Caramea

    March 18, 2011 at 7:09 AM

    Hi again! Thank you for information. 85 $ don't sound that bad. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would like ask one more question: how much would it cost then to send these shoes to Finland, if I order them? Thank you again for your answer!

  • Sandra Brake

    March 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    MUST HAVE. Sigh! It must feel wonderful to have the proto in hand!
    How is the wideness L? I have wide feet and am wondering if I should order a half size bigger to get extra width. Any idea?

  • Lauren Stowell

    March 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Caramea, I will definitely be able to ship to Finland. Calculating approximate postage, it looks like about $17-$20 in shipping, depending on weight.

    Traveller – the width is pretty average. They are not narrow and don't fit very tightly. I think the wide width ladies will be able to wear them, especially if you plan to order a half size larger. You can alway order and return or exchange if they don't fit (but be sure to order the shoes in white/un-dyed only).


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