Monday, February 6, 2012

DIY - high moccassins

March 2011

Due to fysical not well being I am stuck at home.
Working, sanding and sawing on a wooden scabbard is not recommendable in my current state, gaming all day gets boring, too. So does hanging around facebook and/or other places on the net.
Time to start a milder prject; one that has had my attention, ever since I laid eyes on a scetch in one of my all time favorite books; North by Nicolas vanier. It shows how to make simple moccassins for the harser climates.
This is the one;

The person who is teaching me how to work with leather once got a lammycoat quite cheap at a fleamarket and she gave me this coat, so I could try my skills at this project. The main benefit is that I know what to do or not do, befor I use a real reindeer- or mooseskin!
These shoes probably will not be completely waterproof, but they will be warm and if they are not really usable for outdoor walking I still will have some nice, warm feet at home or around the camp!

I took the coat apart carefully en with the help of the sketches and my own feet I took general measurements. This meant a lot of fitting and guessing.
The main challenge was working with what material I had at hand and finding sollutions for avoiding useless areas, such as bottonholes, pockets or seams. The latter could however prove to be quite usefull, too!

After some measuring and dryfitting I managed to get the first 4 pieces done; the feet and the upperparts for the feet.

The toeparts proved tricky and I had to redo that area 4 times!
The first three times went wrong, because 1) I use a single thread, which broke while tightening the toe-area, 2) I used a double thread with a knot in the middle, which broke when I tightened afore mentioned area, 3) I used a singlelenght of doible thread, but forgot to tie off one end befor threading and tightening......

Then I turned my attention to the heelpart.
This is made up of 3 parts, which have to be stitched together tight. The outer 2 parts I shaved, to make stitching easier. The most inner part kept its wool.
Looking back at it now, I think I should have done this part first as it would have made it easier to make the shoe fit.

Finally I made the first of the shafts (?). I wanted to try and make high ones, as these would be more usefull in deeper snow.
I wrapped the piece of coat around my lower leg and pinned it together. Then I have sewn the edges together, using a allready present seam. You can still see the part where a pocket once was. After I had done that I turned the shaft inside out and cut off the excess cloth and cut the top level.

Well, the first one has been put together.
It took quite some measuring in order for the top part to fit, but I did it!
I "just" have to stitch it up properly and I might be adding an additional footpiece at the bottom.
It is very comfortable to wear.... indoors.

I tightened the stitches in the nosepart like this;

Picture up front. Unfortunately I missed a little odd corner on the outside of the foot.

The moccassin "en profile". I did walk around on it, even in the backyard, hence the dirt on the bottom. I think I will add a foorpiece made from leather later on, so it will be comfortable outdoors, too. It's too thin like this.

The second one is assembled too and now it is time to start on finishing all the seams with additional stitching, after which I will treat the outsides and add the leather footpieces.
Befor that, here are the latest pictures;

I wanted to show how I did the upper footpart.
I took a square piece of the fabric and made it fit to the foot instead of precutting it. That didn't work out. Then I stitched the sides together.
Then I stitched the shaft to the footpart and trimmed of the excess by turning the moc. inside out.

After that I stitched the toepart to the footpart and carefully cut of the excess here too. I do mean carefully, because I accidentally cut off a bit too much, but was able to recover that. The moc. is a bit tighter that the right one, now

My 4 year old daughter......... excuse me... almost 5(!) year old daughter was more than happy to show the mocs. off for you!

They are done!!!
I stitched untill my fingers were sore, but am proud of the endresult.

The final steps I made were treating the leather with creme 3x, giving it the dark brown colour it has now. Then I stitched up the seams, using 3 different techniques of which I do not know the English words. One of them has been taught to me by my 8-year old daughter.
I cut the sole from an old pair of leather pants, the smooth surface facing inwards.

The legties are optional and come from a pair of tiedown strings, left over from a couple of German tenthalves I cut up some time a go.

April 11th 2011

I had a chance to try these "in the wild" and what an experience that was!

The first thing I noticed was my heavy way of walking. I thrusted my heels into the pavement, just as I did when I was wearing shoes.
Very soon I had to change my way of walking, using the outsides of my feet more and rolling them more as I went. It felt quite strange at first and was quite painfull for some muscles too, but I got the hang of it soon.
By then I had left the manmade surfaces and entered the woods..... or what is left of it...

Amazing how I experienced the forrest, how I feel the soil and how silent I could go!!!
I could feel the warmth of the bare earth in the sun, I felt the humus under the fallen leaves and I barely snapped a twig, when I left the paths.
With these I could stake deer a lot easier..... assuming I would have mastered the other skills involved in that...
Even moist soil near stream and groundwater was no problem


  1. Great mocs. :) I think this is a great project to do. It's on my list. :)


  2. It really is fun!
    Now all I need to do is get my hands on some real leather and make a new pair for real outdoor use. The lammycoat actually makes these more of a very warm indoorslipper.