1. Turnslippers (turnshoes, part 1)

My first completed project is the first phase in the process of making appropriate footwear for my persona.  The goals for this first attempt are to try to get oriented in the litterature/resources available, try out some materials and try sizing.

I have looked at a number of resources, including:

Skoboken (The Shoe Book) by Stefan Eriksson has been the book I am using most directly at this point.  The author has created 10 full-sized patterns based on extant finds, primarily from Scandinavia, from 900-1440 AD.  Be sure to click on “bildgalleri” to see which models he has created.

Here are the finished slippers based on the 14th c shoes with front ties.

I am calling them turn”slippers” rather than turnshoes.  I used vegetable tanned sheepskin, as a more reasonably priced leather for this test-run, but also plausible for my focus region of Northern Norway.  Additionally, the sole is made from the same leather as the uppers.  Because the leather is thinner and most likely has more stretch than a typical cowhide, I have cut the pieces from the neck and upper back, keeping in mind that there is more stretch around the girth of the animal.

The seam is stab-stitched directly through both layers rather than flesh-edge stitched through the sole.  I will have to take into account that this will affect the fit when I use a proper sole.

I have used first a glover’s needle size 5 (with cutting edges) to put the first stitch through the leather, then worked the second half of the double running stitch from the opposite side with a tapestry needle.  The linen thread run over beeswax is 35/3, the same I use for sewing sheep’s fells.

I am generally pleased with the result as a first attempt.  They are currently too small to wear over hose, but are definitely better than being barefoot.  One lesson learned about sizing!  They can be used indoors in a pinch, but I’ll need to get a pair of pattens made if I want to wear them on anything more abusive than a lawn.

The one part I was really frustrated with was the heel stiffener.  There has *got* to be an easier way to get those sewn in!


(originally posted on LiveJournal March 14, 2010)