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Makazinan – Moccasins

The above pair of moccasins were collected by Lt. Foster in Michigan during the 1790s and are currently held by the NMAI. They are entirely sewn with leather thong, not thread.  This coupled with a few other plain pairs of moccasins made with a similar construction and the following quote from Dodderidge, has had me thinking that this is THE common way to create a moccasin.

“ Moccasons in ordinary use cost but a few hours to make them. This was done by an instrument denominated a moccasin awl, which was made of the backspring of an old clasp knife. This awl with its buckhorn handle was the appendage of every shot pouch strap, Together with a roll of buckskin for mending the moccasins. This was the Labor of almost every evening. They were sewn together and patched with deer skin thongs, or wangs, as they were commonly called.” Dodderidge

Having been shared some good images of the Foster mocs thanks to Mike Galban and Nathan Kobuck as well having read Nathan’s blogging on moccasins, I have been inspired to find a good way to make these.

After hours of staring and zooming and staring some more, then trying a number of different possibilities on leather; I think I have a good way of doing it.  I started with the thought of constructing it like shown here, but this is not the construction used above as these above pairs definitely have a secondary thong that creates the puckers which can be seen knotted on either side above the puckers of the toe. This is common on a lot of extant pairs of moccasins that I have seen. I then decided to work more from the below pattern by Lee Teeter and Tim Connin.  I changed the construction some and used a thong for all sewing.

Anyway, following is my method…

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