Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Extreme Lengths, Bata Shoe Museum Part II

There were many gorgeous examples of silk stockings such as these silk stockings hand-knit in the 17th century on what must have been incredibly thin needles.  Red dye was the most expensive to produce, coupled with the gold thread embroidery these would have been for a child from an extremely wealthy family.
Althea Crome is a most talented knitter, she designed and knit miniatures for the movie, Coraline.  The Bata Shoe Museum has a pair of these socks on display but they were too tiny to photograph well so these images are courtesy of Google.  If you like to be amazed then watch this film clip

Impossibly tiny Chinese slippers.  Three inches was the 'ideal' length and doesn't bear thinking about.

Now these are more like it!  The exaggerated toe was a popular style during the 17th century but also notice the slap-sole, combining the style of a high heel and a mule.  This pair were the property of descendants of Frances Walsingham, whose secret marriage to Robert Devereux (a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I) contributed to his downfall.

Apologies for the photography.  The lighting is quite low in the museum so as not to damage the fabrics.


  1. Oh my goodness! I just watched that YouTube video - speechless! Such skill! And such good eyesight!

    This museum sounds spectacular - I pootled down to the fashion quarter here at lunch today to see if I could find shoes like you showed us before but we don't appear to have any examples on show that I could find unfortunately!

  2. Wow - I'm like Rachel speechless! How can people knit like that?!

  3. When we watched the behind-the-scenes clothing feature on the Coraline DVD I was absolutely blown away! Even G was impressed.

    K x

  4. Those are great--shoes are actually really very cool to look at (at least shoes like these). Imagine getting into some of them (especially the chopines. Totally unrelated--I see you are reading The Crimson Rooms--hope you are enjoying it.

  5. I'm amazed at that video - such skill and excellent eyesight!

    This museum looks so interesting - those little Chinese slippers are heartbreaking though.

    I see I have missed a few posts Darlene, and one about Persephone too - how did that happen. Going back for a perusal now!


  6. That video was unbelievable! Wonder how she can see that without a magnifier...
    Love the shoe pictures, too. One of my daughters has a shoe-a-day calendar, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the photos were taken at the museum.

  7. booksnob, On Althea's website she sells kits for miniature knits. I actually entertained the idea for a second...and then it passed! If the V&A doesn't have any chopines then I'm feeling even more amazed there are some in Toronto!

    verity, I suppose where there's a will, there's a way but it's beyond me. Her needles make my little sock knitting needles look like logs!

    Kristina, Oh, I must get that from the library! I watched the movie...quite scary, but skipped the bonus features.

    Danielle, The shoes that had the most wear were the most fascinating as you could visualize someone walking all around the town, hundreds of years ago. And yes! The Crimson Rooms is a riveting read so far!

    Cottage Garden, Heartbreaking indeed! There's a medical museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields where you can see a skeletonized foot that has been bound. I was speechless.

    JoAnn, She sells kits if you ever want to drive yourself batty! Should you ever make it this way and want to visit the museum, print off the 2-for-1 coupon.