Wednesday, February 25, 2015

1920s Flashy Dancing Shoes

Shiny shiny was big in the 1920s. Legs and shoes were on display more than ever, with flashy footwear being all the rage for an evening of vigorous dancing.

Style influences as old as Ancient Egypt and as fresh as Art Deco were making their mark on fashion, with designers producing incredibly glamorous and exotic evening attire that shimmered and sparkled in low-light clubs.

Shoes with luxurious fabrics, lacquered and rhinestoned heels, crystal buckles, and gilt leather motifs paired perfectly with these extravagant nighttime looks. Here's a look at some original Jazz Age shoes that make our modern high heels pale in comparison!

Bata Shoe Museum - via
Original from Ruby Lane but have been removed
Shoe Icons
Shoe Icons

Vintage Textile - the original source for "Cicero"
Teh Met, 1926-33

The gold shoe just above is from my personal collection of antique shoes. This pair was made by I.Miller, the leading manufacturer of footwear for Hollywood and Broadway dancers. Interestingly, I acquired another pair of I.Miller shoe made with the same fabric design, but in a bronze colorway, but didn't realize it until I had both shoes sitting next to each other. It always amazes me when two of the same items by the same maker survive this long and find each other. I wonder what lives these two pairs have lead?

For a whole bunch more dapper flapper shoe inspiration, check out my 1920s Shoes Pinterest Board.
And if you'd like to own a piece of the aforementioned history, you can flash your own 1920s flapper shoes (that actually fit modern feet!) with our latest Exclusive, "Cicero," available to pre-order now through March 2 at

Monday, February 23, 2015

PRE-ORDER Exclusive #3 - "Cicero" 1920s Pumps

These days we modernes can be pretty reserved with our shoes, but back in the 1920s, the flashier the better.

Legs were on show and dancing was all the rage, with bugle beads flying and shining footwear kicking furiously to the Charleston all night long.

Dreaming of these wild Gatsby parties, I'm so pleased to introduce to you the next American Duchess Exclusive, "Cicero," the perfect strappy Jazz Age pumps, available in three popular colors: Citrine (gold), Onyx (black), and Sterling (silver) like the originals.

"Cicero" in Sterling

The Cicero Specs:

  • Imported Indian silk brocade
  • Gilt leather trim
  • Leather lining
  • Leather soling
  • Swarovski crystal button closure

They promise to be the most flamboyant shoes we've yet made, and will be extremely limited and unique.

Cicero is available by order only
February 23rd - March 2nd

"Cicero" in Onyx

This is a limited run - as with all our Exclusives, we will only make as many pairs of Cicero as are ordered during the pre-order period. We will *not* make Cicero again!*

*Customers who order Cicero can return them for a refund or exchange them should they need a different size. Customers who exchange will retain their number (ex: 2/10), while the returned shoes will lose their number and be sold as dead stock. Returned shoes not exchanged will retain their number and be sold as dead stock. Exclusives sold as dead stock will never be discounted, but shoes returned with defects may be re-sold as Imperfects, un-numbered, at a discount.
"Cicero" in Citrine

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Larkin & Smith 1770s English Gown Progress

Last night I finally got back to work on the 1770s English gown. I'd only pleated the back and stitched one side down, before, but here's what I did last night:

It's amazing how something feels much closer to done when the skirt goes on, but I know I have a ton of finishing work waiting for me....
I don't normally sew very fast, but this pattern is pretty amazing. The booklet makes it easy - just follow the steps and suddenly you have most of a gown put together!  There are a couple confusing parts, but I was glad I had a little experience with the pleating on the back (from my Revolution Dress), so I could fiddle through it alright.

No boning in the back yet, and no lining in the front, but it's looking pretty good so far.
At this point there is no lining in the bodice front, no shoulder straps or sleeves obviously, and only one side of the skirt is pleated and attached. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm really enjoying this project, so I hope it keeps going so well.

Tiny prick stitches attaching the front bodice to the back, and the skirt to the bodice. I love this type of stitch.
As to the sleeve trimmings, I've decided to go with the pinked flounces instead of the winged cuffs, so I can wear this gown in Williamsburg this Summer. :-) Yay!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Video: Costumers vs. CARS!

...We've all been here...

...can you relate?

This video was SO much fun to shoot with the ladies of the Great Basin Costume Society. We all met in a Starbucks parking lot and laughed our bustles off getting in and out of our cars. Thank you, ladies!