Moccasins were a nearly universal component of traditional Native American clothing. However, the style of the shoes was as varied and unique as the people and the tribes themselves. The design, leather type and ornamentation of moccasins could be used to identify the wearers' tribal membership. Today, moccasins are a comfortable shoe option for anyone. When making your own moccasin slippers, decorate them in any manner you choose, creating a unique design that can identify you and your history.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Large paper bag
- Leather (rawhide or some other leather of your choice)
- Thick thread
Cut the paper bag open with a pair of scissors to create one flat piece of paper. Fold the paper in half width-wise and press down hard on the fold to make a distinct, easy-to-see crease.
Open the paper and lay it on your work table. Using a pencil and a yardstick, draw a line across the length of the paper 1 inch from the bottom.
Set the paper on the ground and stand on it with both feet. Place one foot on either side of the centre creased line and put your heels on the pencil line across the bottom. Measure to make sure your heels are 1/2 inch from the centre line and the inside edge of the balls of your feet are 1/4 inch from the centre line. Trace around both feet with a pencil. You don't need to trace around each toe--just trace the general outline of your feet. The only exception is tracing the line between your big toe and second toe, making sure to accurately show the point at which both toes join.
Step off the paper and lay it on your work table. Make a mark that is 1 inch up from the bottom of the paper and 1/2 inch to the left of the centre creased line. Then make a mark on the bottom edge of the paper that is 1/2 inch to the left of the centre line. Use a ruler to connect the two marks by drawing a line between them. Follow the same process on the right side of the centre line.
Draw a line from the top of the little toe on the left foot to the top of the little toe on the right foot. Draw a line from the point where the big toe and second toe join on the left foot to the centre line and to the line you drew connecting the top of each little toe. Follow the same process for the right foot.
Measure around the widest part of your foot and write that number down. Make a line that is the length of the measurement that stretches from the outside of the ball of the left foot to the outside of the ball of the right foot. Measure down 1/2 inch from the end of the line on the left and continue it to the bottom of the paper, making sure it's square. Measure 1/2 inch toward the left side of the paper and make another mark. Draw a line from this mark to the bottom of the paper so it meets the end point of the previous vertical line. Repeat these steps on the right side of the paper.
Draw a curving line that is 1/2 inch from the curve of your toes and begins at the top mark you drew between your feet (see Step 5) to the last mark you drew that is 1/2 inch down and 1/2 inch over from the line you drew across the paper that matches the circumference of your foot (see Step 6). Do this on both sides of the centre line.
Draw a line from the left end of curve over the left foot that is 2 inches long. You can use a ruler to make sure this line is square and not angled. Do the same on the other side.
Go to the mark at the bottom of the paper that's to the left of the centre line. Measure 2 inches to the left of this mark and make another mark. Draw a line that connects the mark you made in Step 8 that is 3 inches from the end of the left-hand curve. Do the same on the right side of the paper.
Make a curved line on the bottom left-hand side of the paper between the mark that is 1/2 inch from the left of the centre line to the mark that is on the far left of the paper. The curve should be 1/4 inch from the bottom of the paper at its highest point. Do the same on the other side of the paper.
Cut out the pattern with a pair of scissors. This pattern will be used to make both the left and right moccasin slippers.
Lay the pattern on the wrong side of the leather and trace around it. Add 1/2 inch seam allowance. Do the same with the other piece of leather. Cut out the shape in the leather with scissors.
Make the Pattern
Fold the leather so the right sides are together. Sew the two halves of the curve together, starting at the centre line. Make sure you stop sewing at the top of the curve.
Pin the back of the moccasin slippers together. You will see that there will be a small, square tab at the bottom of the back. Let the tab stick out, and start the seam above this tab.
Turn the moccasin slippers right side out. Poke the tab back through the heel of the moccasin slipper so it's now on the outside of the slipper. Use a whip stitch to close the opening at the back of the moccasin slipper. Repeat the process for the other moccasin slipper.
Cut a length of cord by trimming the edge of the scrap of leather you used to make the moccasin slippers. Make the cord long enough to start at the back of the moccasins, go around to the front and then go to the back again and be tied in a bow. Fold the cord in half to mark the middle, and centre it on the back of the moccasin. Secure it to the back of the slipper at the point where the back of the moccasin would fit over the top of your heel and above your ankle. Pass the ends of the cord to the front, cross them and then bring them to the back, where the ends can be tied in a bow. Fold down the cuff to hide the cord from view. Repeat this step for the other moccasin slipper.
Assemble the Moccasin Slippers
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