In August on our family vacation we spent an enjoyable afternoon at Cowtown, Kansas, not too far from St. Louis. Exploring what it was like to live in an Old West town during the cattle boom was fascinating. There were reenactors to demonstrate and answer questions, but most buildings you could just walk through and explore.
There were Victorian houses of different levels in society, a myriad of businesses like the grain elevator and scale house, barber, milliner, dry goods and general stores, blacksmith, livery stable, hotel, saloon, marshal's office, dentist, furniture maker, mortician, etc. In the ink-smelling printer's office you can see the all the job printers and other machinery, some of which is still in use by the reenactors, and the overflowing bins of hand carved type. You can take a chuckwagon ride back to see a nearby farm complete with garden and barns and tools of the era; or watch an (unrealistic) gunfight in front of the saloon.
The town provided the perfect backgrounds for my costume - not exactly period correct, but worn just for fun! When we reluctantly left, it was a shock to see the modern skyscrapers of the city and realize we weren't actually living in the 1880s after all.
The lady waits for the train.
Part of the business section.
A comfortable chair awaits a vistor in the residential section. The school house is beside it.
The lady at the Victorian house.
Cowboys and cabins.
Gossiping instead of working?
Get a cold sasparilla in the saloon, or go in the hotel to see the red plush chairs and high mahogany counter with ornate cash register, or go upstairs by way of the outside staircase by the Chinese laundry to peer into the fanciest rooms for rent.
Send a telegram inside the station while you wait. Those telegraph keys were heavy!
The angel shows the daddy cowboy a flower.
Blacksmiths can mend anything!
Ah, the train at last. Conductor - my bags if you please!
(No, this is not October's tutorial posted early. There's another hairstyle tutorial coming for October. I was so excited about this idea I had to share it as an extra tutorial this month!)
the look of Mary Jane heels, but ones that fit my style are hard to
find. If you've had that problem as well, look no more. Here is the
way I found to make almost any shoe into a Mary Jane—and still keep
it a regular heel when you want to!
can't say this will work for every kind of shoe. I haven't tried it
with flats yet or platform heels, although I'm sure it would work with
flats and most likely with platforms. Also you need shoes with a wide
enough band across the toe to hide a snap underneath. And I wouldn't
recommend using your $100 pair to practice on, or even a shoe you
might not want to keep, since you will be gluing snaps to the inside
of the shoe and thus lower the value.
yard 1 1/4 in. black velvet ribbon
similar width, with a decorative edge on both sides
of 1/0 sew-on snaps, preferably close to your shoe color
1. The Snaps. Try
one heel on and hold one end of the ribbon across your ankle to
determine where the end of the ankle strap should be. I wanted mine
just in front of the heel stitching inside. Perch a smooth side of a
snap upside down on your finger, coat it generously with glue...
...and press hard on
side of shoe inside. Hold it there until it starts to bond. Make sure it isn't too close to the top so it shows!
Carefully remove your finger. It's ok if the glue wells up through the holes, but don't let it get in the center where it snaps. Be careful not to get glue on the
outside of shoe since your fingers will be sticky. Repeat on other side of shoe opposite first snap.
Also glue another smooth side of a snap on the underside of the toe
far enough that it can't be seen.
you have 3 smooth halves of snaps inside the shoe - one on each side and one on the toe.
Clamp the snaps if
needed - you want a secure glue since there will be some stress on
them. However, use clamps cautiously
since you don't want them to let a mark on your shoe. Let it cure for
several hours (24 hours are recommended for a complete cure before
wearing it but 2 hours should keep it enough for finishing the
2. The Ankle Strap. Hold
the ribbon across your ankle with the ends a little past the snaps.
Flex your foot and decide how tight you want the ribbon. It should be snug so it doesn't gape, but not so tight it will wrinkle when you walk (especially if you use a wide ribbon).
Mine was 8 in. long. Cut a piece of lace the same size.
the lace onto the ribbon. I made 2 seams and zig-zagged the raw
edges to keep the lace from fraying. Sew by hand one corresponding snap half
1/2 in. in from the ribbon end.
that end to one side snap in the shoe, stretch it across your ankle
to determine where to sew the other snap.
Sew on the other snap. Ankle strap is
Where it fastens:
3. T-Strap. For
the T part, take a piece of ribbon and lay it on the shoe on your
foot. It needs to reach a little past the snap on the toe and about
halfway up the ankle ribbon. Make sure it is taut.
Cut it. Mine was 5 in. long. Cut a
piece of lace the same size. Sew
that lace like the first one, and sew one end to the center of the
ankle strap. Try it on again and determine where to sew the snap to the other end. Sew the snap. Now it looks like this:
The completed T-Strap, snapped on.
Repeat steps 1-3 for the other shoe.
have some very stylish shoes! The smooth snaps shouldn't bother your feet
at all, so you can wear them with or without the T-straps as you
4. Having Fun. There are endless possibilites of materials for the T-strap. I
chose black velvet and off-white lace for a boutique look, but brown
shoes with a red T-strap would be a cute vintage combo. Make a
variety and glue snaps to various shoes, and you have an instantly
updated shoe wardrobe for any season with only a little time and no
stop at the ankle strap, if you just want Mary Janes. Here are a few
I bought cheap narrow belts at a thrift store and cut them into
lengths. I hot-glued the snaps on the leather and faux leather
straps, and sewed the snaps on the fabric straps. A belt or ribbon with a
little stretch in it works well, too. It's a great way to recycle vintage belts!
mind that different shoes will come farther up on your foot than
others, so the same straps might not fit all your shoes. Also
remember that the straps have to fit between your foot and shoe, so
only choose thin materials in a roomy enough shoe that it won't
irritate you. Have fun!
For those of us who crochet, this website is a treasure! With patterns taken from old 1930s, '40s, and '50s booklets or pamphlets (now in the public domain), you can create your own vintage fashion and accessories! Just to look at the photos for hair and style inspiration is fun too. The hat section is especially interesting. You have to be creative since the patterns were written much looser back then, and the photos are not as clear. Usually there is only one photo and none of the back. But still they are definitely re-creatable!
I plan to make this one next. It is very close to a vintage hat I own from that era. My biggest difficulty is making them look fashionable and not too homemade.