1867 Quilted Baby Shoes/Boots


Call me weird, but sometimes I just like the fun of trying to replicate an extant garment from the 1860s for our reenacting impressions. While I also find it exciting to create my own design (staying within period parameters of course), I've often found it to be a delightful challenge to recreate something as close to the original as possible. It's kind of like being able to enjoy wearing the original...even if you can't really own the original.

This pair of baby shoes from the Wisconsin Historical Clothing Museum caught my interest while I was still pregnant. But, since it was 1867 -- past the War years -- I didn't think too much of them, although I always thought they would be fun to make.

Well this weekend was the weekend. I wanted something warm for Victoria at the next reenactment or two, so I decided it's not so far out of the War years to make it impossible that something like this wouldn't have been worn by my baby in the 1860s. Besides...they're also adorable! I mean, look at the tassel! How can you resist that? :)

So off I went. I made some changes: the boot doesn't come quite as high as the original, but because I didn't want them to go all the way to Victoria's knees, I lowered it slightly. I also had bigger buttons on hand than the tiny ones on the originals, so I used 3 buttons instead of 4. And it looks like I've forgotten the little button on the top above the tassel. Oh well.

I made mine out of ivory cotton sateen. Very soft and pretty. I believe these could easily be made out of something other than a quilted fabric -- maybe wool? The top is decorative, but could be altered for a different look. All in all, it tickled me. And they look super-cute on Victoria. Now if I can get her to keep still, I might be able to get a photograph of her in them.

For your sewing pleasure, I am posting the pattern for you. I don't have directions included (since it's pretty easy -- bind edges, sew front, sew back, sew sole in) but I hope it's somewhat self-explanatory. I can always add directions if I need to. Anyway...happy November! Enjoy!


Lauren said...

Those are so cute! And baby girl is just a doll.

Mrs. G said...

It must be the hormones but I cried (only a little) when I saw the little boots, I *so* wanted to get a pair made for Asa. I'm glad Victoria has them though, she is such a cutie pie in her 1860's duds. :-)


Amy said...

Awww... don't cry! ::hugs::

Were you going to make them white, like the original, or out of a wool or something darker since he's a boy? I thought about making some up in brown wool and they'd look like real little boots instead of booties, but that didn't seem suited to a girl baby as young as V is.

Mrs. G said...

I was going to make them white because I happen to have it on hand but colorwise I really didn't care, it was the washability factor of cotton that I liked. I hadn't even thought about brown wool, that's a cute idea though. I was hoping to have them done before we went to my Mom's house in a few weeks, it's not going to happen though. I don't have a walking foot so I have to hand quilt them and there are too many other things to get finished before then. I need another me to help out here. :-)


Sarah said...

WOW, I thought those were the originals when I first saw the picture. Amazing! Oh dear, Malachi is now walking and needs hard soled shoes. ..weeps. .. I need another baby to make little things like this for!