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The Ramblings of a Seamstress, Gardener, Chicken Keeper, and Housewife

Proof of My Adventures (and Misadventures!)

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Boot Hack for the Regency Gentleman

Total cost for this hack if you buy all-new materials: $50 or so.  Total cost for my hack, since everything came from the stash: $0
New Boot Pair.jpg

When I decided to outfit my hubby for the Regency Era, I was prepared for footwear to be the most challenging part.  Buying actual equestrian boots is terribly expensive (my eBay watch list, which I set up months in advance, yielded absolutely nothing under $200.)  Costume boots don't come in the right shape or dual colors.  Evening slippers probably weren't on the table to begin with, being as they don't seem at all 'manly.'  After much fruitless searching, I gave up on finding something ready-made in my budget.

Instead, I decided to modify some costume boots he already had.  We bought them 8 or 10 years ago for a swordsman outfit he wore to a convention.  They'd seen only occasional use since, and really no use at all since we moved to Texas 6 years ago.  So I wasn't too concerned with ruining them.  After all, they were in pretty poor shape after rough storage and weren't exactly high-quality to begin with.  Just for reference, these are the Ellie 121 Bernhard boots.  They're still sold on eBay and Amazon.

The faux-leather exterior had some visible cracking and holes:

One of the heels had separated from the sole.  I didn't get a picture of that, but it was pretty amusing to make that boot 'talk' for a minute.  ;)  I fixed the problem with some Shoe Goo.

First, I had Ben try on one boot.  I flipped up the cuff and pinched out the excess boot along the front seam.  I marked it on the outside with removable marker.  Then I transferred the line to the inside by measuring first on the outside and chalking at the same measurements on the lining.  I ended up taking out 4" total at the top and tapering it to nothing at the seam's terminus above the ankle.

I used a leather needle on my machine and stitched it right up.  I cut off the excess seam allowance, and already it was looking better.

I stitched up the other boot using the same measurements and cut off the cuffs just above the the faux leather.  This put the top of the boot at the bottom of Ben's knee.  I then pounded the insides of the new front seams with a hammer.  This is standard practice for leather and faux leather, as it helps the seams look flatter from the outside.  Check out this before and after:

At this point I realized how much of a time crunch I was in and stopped taking step-by-step pictures.  Cutting and sewing the cuffs was pretty easy though, so I'll talk you through it.  The new circumference at the top of the boots was about 17".  I wanted my cuffs to overlap a little to hide as much of the zipper as possible.  Through a little trial and error, I determined I wanted the cuffs to be about 6" wide.  I cut two 20"x7" pieces of brown faux leather, figuring that there'd be some loss through seam allowances.  I turned under one long edge of the cuffs about 1/2" and stitched with matching thread.  This is barely visible in the final boots, but if it bugs you then you could glue the edge down instead.  Then I sewed the other long edge to the boot top, wrong side to wrong side.  This allows you to flip the cuff down and not see any stitching at the top.  Check out this photo from the finished boot for some visual explanation:

One short edge of the cuff runs right alongside the zipper.  I turned that edge under and stitched through all layers.  My machine was not amused, and there were a few skipped stitches where the layers were thickest.  You could do this by hand if you were so inclined.  The other short edge of the cuff was left unstitched.  It's on the inside of the leg and won't be seen much, if at all.

I did do some creative notching where the zipper stops.  The cuff seam allowance moves from the inside of the boot to the outside, and that can't happen without the notch.

I added some snaps to keep the cuff from flapping around, and suddenly had pretty decent fake-out riding boots!


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Those look terrific! Thanks for the post about them! (and, such a handsome man, I must say!)

(Oh, and the exquisite lady ain't so bad, either.)

Thank you very much! I was really dreading having to choose between him wearing something not-quite-right (earlier 18th century style men's shoes) or having to sew boot-shaped covers he could wear over his dress or athletic shoes. I was so relieved when these turned out well!

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