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2Shod-a-Shire-art - 6/30/02


"To Shod A Shire" by Lady Eowyn "Eo" Swiftlere


NOTE: See also the files: shoes-msg, boots-msg, p-shoes-msg, Knit-Stockngs-art, leather-msg, shoemaking-msg, leather-bib, lea-tanning-msg, felting-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



To Shod A Shire

by Lady Eowyn "Eo" Swiftlere


These are easy! And there's no sewing involved. And you can make several pairs to go with different outfits, etc.  One word of warning: wear these before a major event, so your feet are used to the minimal support they give.  Don't wait until war to wear-in a pair of these; you'll regret it.



1 yard or more of cheap fabric to make a mock-up before cutting into your leather

1 yard or more, of thin (4 oz), suede-like leather (depending on how big your feet are)

Scissors or sharp knife

Hole puncher

Some sort of string to tie the shoes on


1.  Make a pattern for each foot separately, as feet size varies from left to right on most people.  Trace each foot onto the leather (or to make a fabric mock-up before cutting the leather).


2.  Measure across the widest part of each foot (for some the toes, others the arch).  Add 75% of this measurement to all the sides of the traced foot pattern (more than this if you have a very high arch, or you are going to put a real thick insole insert in the shoes).  This gives you an oval or ellipse for the shape of the shoe. Cut out the oval shape with scissors.


3.  Make holes with a punch, or slash with a knife, around the outside of the pattern.  Each hole along the toe and heel curves should be one inch apart.  On the each of the sides of the foot (the long sides of the oval), cut just four holes evenly spaced.  If you do not use a hole puncher, and are slashing the holes, make the holes parallel to the outside of the pattern, not perpendicular, as perpendicular slashes tend to rip out more easily.  Make the holes between 1/2"-3/4" from the outside of the oval.


4.  Decide what type of string you wish to use to tie the shoes.  I've used parachute chord on one pair, and I've cut 1/2" strips from the matching leather for my husband's shoes.  Other suggestions are cloth, shoelaces, and other lace, etc.  Also decide how long you want to make the laces.  Mine are four feet long each, and they only go halfway up my shin.  The laces need to go around the outside of the shoe and around the ankle at least once.  If you want to lace your shoes up to the knee as some illuminations show, make your lace much, much longer.  Start long; you can always shorten them if you want afterwards.


5.  Start threading the laces in and out of the holes, starting with the hole in the front, left side of each shoe, by the toes.  Go around the toes with one end of the string, and when the string is in the hole opposite where you started, crisscross the two ends of the string over the arch, in the four holes along the long sides of the shoe, as if lacing a sneaker.


6.  Continue threading both ends of the string around the heel, so they meet in the middle of the back of the heel.  You should have two, long, fairly even ends coming out the last two holes.  Your shoes are now ready to be tried on.


7.  Slip your foot into the back of the shoe, under the laces that crisscrossed.  Widen the laces so your foot fits.


8.  Pull the laces tight over your toes, arch, and around the heel, consecutively.


9.  Cross the two ends of the laces once behind the ankle, and begin lacing up the leg, crisscrossing up the shin as high as you like. Tie in a bow.  You are now wearing a shoe known as a carbatine, or pucker-lace shoe.


*For comfort, add a thick insole insert, either purchased, or made from the blue foam-padding fighters use; also, you could glue on an outer sole from thicker leather, or wear socks.  Expect them to need repair if you glue a sole on the outside, so bring extra spray adhesive (the kind fighters use for their helmet padding).  They will also shrink and mold to the shape of your foot as you wear them, or they get wet.  Eventually, you will be able to tell which is left, and which is the right foot.


**Historically speaking, a lot of early cultures wore the pucker-lace style shoe: Celts, Saxons, Franks, Vikings, etc.  The Scottish gilles are like this type of shoe. A similar shoe is still worn by Irish rustics today.  They are depicted in some illuminations from this time period, and have been excavated throughout England and Scandinavia. (This being an instructional article, I'll not get into the specific history of footwear, but check out the sources below for good documentation.)




Owen-Crocker, Gale R., Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, Manchester University Press, 1986. Great costume and shoe research for Anglo-Saxon, Frankish, and Scandinavian time periods, cultures.


von der Schwanensehe, Lord Fredrich Augustus, "The Five Hour Viking", The Known World Handbook, Society for Creative Anachronism, 1992.  From which the author made her first pair of shoes, and improved them.


Carlson, I. Marc, Footwear of the Middle Ages, 1996-1999 www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe. Has extensive research and bibliography, free info to copy, if you include the author's name in the copy. Hartstone A&S office owns a full copy of his work.

Lady Eowyn "Eo" Swiftlere mundanely known as Carrie French is the A&S Minister for the Shire of Hartstone in the Kingdom of Aethelmearc.



Copyright 2002 by Carrie French, 6305 Southwoods Rd, Hornell, NY 14843. <eoswiftlere at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is notified prior to publication, is credited and receives a copy. This article may be copied freely for personal use.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org