What do you do if you need 1920’s shoes to be worn and withstand the rigour of an event? Well real 1920’s shoes are not that easy to come by any way, particularly not in any state to be worn. So I accepted a challenge to create a pair of 1920’s shoes from shoes that I could source today.
In the 1920’s skirt hemlines had risen giving new emphasis to now visible legs, shoes and hosiery. Flesh and soft pastel coloured hosiery slowly replaced the dark hosiery of previous times. The female silhouette had morphed from the mature bosomed, hipped figure into a more androgynous, small busted, small hipped, youthful, athletic figure. It was party time, the jazz era, the roaring twenties, oriental influence and metallic decorations abounded. T bar or instep strap sandals and pumps with rich embroidery fabrics, tooled or painted leathers and even heavily ornamented diamante heels. Heels were shapely but sturdy and vamps relatively high on the foot, often with cut out details.
Check out my Pinterest board to see lots of examples of gorgeous 1920’s shoes.
I chose these shoes primarily for their toe shape, forefoot strap, heel height and shape. In creating these shoes I had to make decisions around which compromises I would make in order to achieve the closest result I could, on a budget and in a timely fashion. An authentic 1920’s era shoe would be higher on the vamp (forefoot) and the heel may have a slight outward turn. I was very fortunate to find these little babies waiting for me to discover them and give them a chance to shine!
I wanted to cut proper patterns for these shoes rather than doing the quickie You Tube methods available. By cutting a proper pattern I could be sure that I would have the placement of the fabric design exactly where I wanted it, matching on both feet, no gathers in the fabric and with nice neat seams at the back. By cutting a proper pattern I could also work out the design and placement of the extra detail to give the shoes a more complete look.
I am quite taken with the burnished metal look I managed to achieve for the heels, strap and decoration.
In this photo I have had a bit of fun playing around with filters for a more moody look. Many thanks to my gracious foot model.