Mary Rose Type 2.4

Closed Welted Shoe with Slashings

This page documents the construction process of a type 2 shoe of the shoes found aboard the wreck of the ship Mary Rose.

All type 2 shoes are closed welted shoes. Type 2.4 additionally shows slashing on the vamp and a squared toe section. Apparently no complete example of type 2.4 shoes survives.

The reconstrution drawing to the right is taken from page 67 of Gardiner, Julie. Ed. Before the Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose. Archaeology of the Mary Rose Volume 4. 2006

Vamp, quarter and stiffener are cut out with allowance for a lasting margin along the lower edge. First the toe puff and heel stiffener are sewn onto the flesh (inner) side of the vamp and the quarter parts using a flesh whip stitch. On the quarter you can also make out the preparations for the two pieces to be sewn together to form the complete upper.

Vamp and quarter are sewn together with a butted seam (flesh/edge). Along the upper edge a leather top band is sewn on. A top band gives the upper added stability against widening and also protects the seams combining the two parts. For details of one of the techniques for sewing on a top band see the pictures and description of the Mary Rose Type 4.2 shoe.


Preparing the insole: before fixing the insole to the last in order to sew it together with the upper, the stitch holes are pre-pierced (flesh - edge). The insole should not be too wet when doing so to avoid deforming the insole when pricking the holes.


The insole is attached to the last with three nails. The the upper is drawn over the last. The lasting margins of the upper are used as surplus material that allow the upper to be fixed to the last with a few nails.

Once the upper has been satisfactorily tacked to the insole and last, insole and upper are sewn together. The seam at the same time attaches the welt to the upper, grain to grain. The welt is a strip of leather, about 2 cm wide, that runs all around the shoe and serves to join shoe and outer sole later on.

Finally the shoe is sewn to the outer sole using the welt. On the grain side of the outer sole an incision is made to match the outline of the shoe. The incision is then deepened and widened into a groove with a scraper. This groove needs to provide enough space for the  thread to slip into when drawn tight. After the outer sole is completely sewn on, the leather is moistened and the groove hammered closed to protect the seam when the shoe is worn.

The sewing thread can be neatly thinned on both ends to form even and elongated tips, which can then be treated with wax and pitch, so that it is not necessary to use bristles or needles for the sewing process.

Finally the groove is hammered closed and the rough edges of the outer soles are cut to fit the shoe's outline. The shoe then is treated with neatsfoot oil and leather grease to give the material its subtleness and flexibility back and protect it from water and dirt.