Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Challenge seven; Tops & Toes

For this challenge I made a hat that I have wanted to recreate for quite some time and a pair of clog/sandals. Both are based on images of extant items from the early 1940s. My hat is a semi reproduction of an American Surrealist hat circa 1940 or '41. It's a knitting hat! I've only seen one image of it, in a book titled Forties Fashion From siren suits to the New Look I wish I could find out more about it, or at least see some additional images of it! Does anyone know where this hat currently resides?

I just love the wide textural mesh used in the original. Sadly I couldn't find such a mesh available now. I did luck out and find a great nylon substitute on Etsy at a very reasonable rate! I used wool felt for the base which I hand sewed into a pillbox shape. It turned out very soft so I made my own hat stiffener from potato starch and water, it worked very well! I hand painted my knitting needles pink using paint which I had leftover from repainting my daughter's bed. Here it is front and back, but not on a head yet!

My shoes are a conglomerate of WWII era sandals and also souvenir sandals from the Philippines which were often brought home by servicemen as gifts for their wives and girlfriends. Most of the original souvenir sandals that I have seen have been carved and painted, or just painted.

Carving them was going to be too much work for me to do (especially while holding a baby) and painting them was just too colorful for my tastes. I used a wood burning kit to create the images on the heels of the shoes instead, which is reminiscent of the right images above. It was my first time using a wood burner and it was fun! Evenly burning the curved heels was difficult though! I also bought the cheap wood burner and it's tips unscrew as you use it meaning you have to turn it off and let it cool before you can adjust it and get back to work, rather a bummer in the time wasting department! I also covered the tops in cotton strapping held by leather and nails to give them a more period look. Unfortunately it turns out that modern clogs tend to be glued onto cut out areas on the soles before being nailed down, due to this I ended up laying the strapping over the original straps, leaving them partly visible. It's not the best look, but I would need to find soles without this modern shortcut in order to make them more authentic. I'm not entirely happy with these yet, but I do really like my burned images. I am thinkng about buying a pair of wooden soles and doing these again.

The Challenge: Tops

Fabric: Wool felt and nylon mesh.

Pattern: None

Year: 1941

Notions: Knitting needles, paint, thread.

How historically accurate is it? Very, though my bamboo wood needles are not quite accurate.

Hours to complete: Not including drying time for my stiffener and paint, one and a half , including drying time, around ten.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: $1.50 for the felt, $1.00 for the net, $4.50 for the needles, so $7.

The Challenge: Toes

Fabric: Cotton strapping, leather scraps

Pattern: None

Year: Mid 1940's

Notions: Wooden soled clogs, nails

How historically accurate is it? Hmm, aside from the non removable under layer they are pretty accurate, we'll say 75%.

Hours to complete: Around two

First worn: Not yet, it snowed again!

Total cost: $15 for the shoes, $2 for the strapping, nails from stash, so $17.

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