V82: How To Decorate Pemberley Regency Shoes Like It’s 1789

As of late I’ve been inspired by that interesting transitional period in women’s dress, around the end of the 1780s and into the 1790s.  Many things changed – the waistline of gowns, the favored materials, hair styles, and also shoes.

This tutorial will show you how to decorate Pemberley Regency shoes to be of an earlier design, one befitting the late 1780s and early 1790s.

Angelus products are available at Dharma Trading Company online

What You’ll Need:

  • A pair of Pemberley Regency shoes (click here)
  • Angelus Leather Preparer
  • Angelus Leather Paints
  • Angelus Acrylic Finisher (opt)
  • Paintbrushes
  • 1/2″ wide Petersham ribbon
  • 3/8″ wide Petersham Ribbon
  • A glue pen
  • 1/2″ wide decorative ribbon of your choice
  • Needle & Thread

Optional Bow Clips:

I want to wear my 1780s shoes with a future yellow and blue polonaise, so I did some sketches to see what combinations of paint, binding, and ribbon I wanted:

Now to get started…

First, lightly wipe the tops of your Pemberlies with Angelus Leather Preparer, and allow to dry.

Mix your paint color – mine was white + a little yellow – and dilute the tiniest bit with either water, acrylic finisher, or both.  You do not want the paint to be thick.

Paint on the first coat lightly.  Let dry.

I left the heels white on mine

Paint on another coat.  Two usually does it, but if you need more solid coverage, paint on a third coat.  I also lined the sides of my soles with black, optional.

Start the binding by applying the 3/8″ wide petersham to the side and back seams, using the glue pen.

Two widths of Petersham – 1/2″ and 3/8″
Petersham applied to the back seam – this is 3/8″ wide

Now bind the edge of the opening, first applying glue to the *inside* edge, then the outside, pinching and stretching the petersham into place as you go.  Note: Petersham ribbon is by far the easiest binding to use, and is period correct.  Grosgrain ribbon will *not* work (here’s the difference between the two), nor will satin ribbon.  Bias tape will work, but is harder to manipulate.

Petersham goes around curves in a lovely way.

Pleat or gather the toe decorations in any fashion you like.  I pleated mine, then glued it down to the top of the shoes.

I also wanted the option to add more froof to the top of the shoe, so I tied large bows from wide blue ribbon, and stitched shoe clip hardware on to the back.  These can easily be put on and off.

Here are my 1780s shoes all finished:

Where to get the stuff:
Pemberley Regency Shoes – american-duchess.com
Shoe Clip Hardware – american-duchess.com
Angelus leather painting products – dharmatrading.com
Petersham ribbon – thesewingplace.com


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