Salish Side Seam Mocs. Extremely photo heavy

badgirlpinto
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badgirlpinto
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4:59 PM - Jun 11, 2011 #1

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PART 1 ~
                                      Salish Side Seam ~   Foul Weather Moccasins ~

          Primitive or Non-primitive                             Difficulty ~   Very High (when making the  moisture resistant ones)

 

      I spent many years going to rendezvous in the Pacific Northwest, where weather conditions can be less than desirable. My family and I spent many weekends with wet, soggy, cold, stretched out moccasins, so I decided to improve on our moccasins, and make them toasty and warm.

       These moccasins are based on the Salish Side Seam moccasins.  I took them a couple steps further and lined them with sheared sheepskin and also added a layer of Barge cement between the brain tanned leather and the sheepskin.  By doing this, these  moccasins, because of the sheepskin, are warm, and because of the layer of flexible Barge cement, the moccasins are moisture resistant to a point.   Walking in the morning dew or wet grass no longer made us uncomfortable.  Short of walking through water, these moccasins will keep your feet warm and dry. 

The side seam on these moccasins, sit higher than the traditional ones,   I like the seam high off the ground, and away from the moisuture. 

 

     This tutorial is rather lengthy because I wanted the novice, as well as the experienced craftsman, to understand  the tools as well as  sewing techniques.  However I must stay that the moisture proof moccasins are not for the novice craft person.   These are not a pair of moccasins that you can put together in a couple of days nor are they easy to make.  They are very labor intensive but well worth the effort if you rendezvous in wet or cold weather.   These moccasins tend to be a bit large but the sheepskin lining  takes up room and in cold weather, any airspace inside the moccasin will insulate.  Its better that they are slightly large rather than slightly too small.

 

These moccasins are NOT PRIMITIVE.  They are sewn with artificial sinew and also have a layer of Barge Cement in them.  So if this matters to you perhaps you can figure out some sort of sealant to put between the layers that will act as a moisture barrier, but I can not guarantee they will turn out as efficient as these for keeping your feet warm and dry.

 

      Please ignore any measurements on MY patterns.  Use your own measurements.  (Probably not necessary to say that, but just in case !)  I was making two pair at once, so some of the measurements on these patterns differ, but if you follow the directions and not the stats on the photos, you should be ok.

 

SO GATHER YOUR TOOLS AND GET READY FOR A LABOR OF LOVE.

Tools:  paper,cardboard, measure tape, glovers needles, sheers, ruler, barge cement, thimble is a must, small needle nose pliars, sheepskin enough to make two mocs lowers (and uppers if you wish) leather (braintanned or factory tanned) enough to make two moccasins both lowers and uppers, a broom stick or similar, artificial sinew, needle nose pliars, a pair of leather scissors or what works well are kitchen shears.  ( They also cut copper sheets better than tin snips, very easy to cut small detail).  Bandaids or medical tape for all those slices and bleeding pokes !!!! Remember, it’s a labor of love !!

 

 STEP ONE:  TRACE YOUR FOOT

    Stand on a piece of paper and trace your foot.  Cut out pattern.  Use a cloth tape measure to measure around the highest part of the arch of your foot.  Note on the paper the location of the highest part and also note the measurement.  Then cut out the paper and make yourself a pattern out of stiff cardboard for a later step. Reverse the tracing and make another tracing so you have both left and right cardboard cutouts. Label left and right.   Draw a line from the heel to the toes to help keep the pattern lined up when you place it on a piece of paper.



STEP TWO:  MAKING YOUR PATTERN

   Use any piece of paper that is a couple feet wide and a few inches longer than your foot tracing.  So it should be a rectangle in shape.  Fold the paper in half left to right and unfold it so it lays flat.  Place your paper or cardboard cutout so that the widest part of the ball of the foot, is ½ “ away from the fold and  1 ½” from the bottom of the paper, keeping the cutout lined up vertically with the edge of the paper.  ( this one slants a bit but straight is better)

Draw a dotted line from the ball of the inner foot where the star is, around the toes and stop at the outside of the little toe.  Make the line about ¾” away from the toes.

    












STEP THREE:  MARK THE ARCH OUTER MEASUREMENT

  You will notice that on this pattern, the arch measurement is 11’  You will want to measure from the fold line, across the arch measurement.  Divide your arch measurement in half and add half an inch.  Make a mark there.

 (  On the pattern below, the measurement around the highest part of the arch is 11”   Half of that is 5 ½ and a half inch is added.)

Draw a dotted line from the ball of the inner foot where the star is, around the toes and stop at the outside of the little toe.  Make the line about ¾” away from the toes. 
 [font=&AMP]  Draw a  line from the mark near your little toe, through the arch mark and down to the bottom of the page.    Again,, Do not use the measurements on these patterns, use your own measurements. [/font]

[font=&AMP][/font]

STEP FIVE: Cut your pattern starting at the line you just drew, cut up and around the toes and stop at the  mark located at the ball of the foot, in this case, where the star is.   ALSO, make two lines, 1”  a part from the heel to the edge of the paper.  Fold your paper in half and cut around the pattern, open it up and you have your pattern for the right foot or left foot depending on which you measured.   You will want two of these, one for right and also left, the reason for this is when you place the pattern on your hide, you can position the two patterns so that the thickest parts of the hide are used for the bottom of the moccasin.    Label the moccasin left and right and also left bottom and right bottom.









Label your pieces of leather with the thick sole on the bottoms and left from right.  Again, I am working with two pair.







STEP SIX: PLACING  PLACING THE PATTERN ON YOUR HIDE

  You can see that in the photo below I am making two pair of moccasins at once.  So keep that in mind. If your making one pair of moccasins, you wont need four patterns.    Because you have the top of the moccasin and bottom of the moccasin pattern labeled you can place the bottoms of the pattern on the thickest part of the hide.

 Hold the pattern down or pin it (easier with braintan) and use a pencil to trace around the pattern.  When you get one cut out,, label  left or right moc plus top or bottom.     You will also need leather for the tops and the size will depend on how high you make the tops and how much they overlap.   Start measuring at the front of the ankle, wrap to the outside of the foot, around the back of the foot,  around the starting point and overlap  four inches, you can always make it shorter if you like.   If you don’t care for the wrap style, sew the tops into loose tubes to slide the foot through, wrapping thongs to keep it tight.  Remember to label your leather top bottom left right.  It is important in later steps.

 





STEP SEVEN ~ WORKING WITH THE SHEEPSKIN

   Lay your pattern on the skin side of the sheepskin, watch for thinner spots on the hair side near the edges and avoid them.   The best way to cut the sheepskin is with a razor or utility knife and carefully cut from the flesh side.   Label the pieces top bottom left right. 





STEP EIGHT:  Trim closely, the Inner fold from the “v” to the opposite edge. This reduces bulk.





STEP NINE: Trimming the sheepskin.

   Place your pattern on the sheepskin noting which is the bottom of each moccasin and which is the top of each.

You will want to trim the sheepskin so that the hair on the tops is somewhat shorter than the hair that will be underfoot.  Your feet will have more cushion and the tops of the foot will insulate and will not make the moccasin so thick and bulky.  The sheepskin below, is trimmed so that the left half of the moc is for the bottom of the left foot and the right hand side will  be on top of the foot. 



 



STEP TEN ~  Seam allowance

Trim a seam allowance all the way around the sheepskin wool, sounds harder than it is.  Trim   ¾ in from the edge. Trim as close to the hide as possible. I had tried to trim them with an electric clipper but felt there should be some hair and some insulation in the seam.  The reason I trim the seam allowance is so I don’t have to fight with the long hair when I’m sewing the seam.  If the hair is left long, it will bind up with the thread.





STEP.

 Take time to give the sheepskin a good brushing, fluff it up. I use a pet brush or fur brush.

 



STEP ELEVEN :  Using Buffalo Snot aka. Barge Cement





 STEP TWELVE:  Joining the layers              

 I haven’t used this cement for anything but moccasins but I can see how it would be handy for many things.  It is easy to use, stays flexible even when dry and holds a seal for a long time.

The cans with the brush inside on the lid works well.   What you will do is to put a liberal layer, but not globs,  of the cement on what is to be the left or right moccasin.  Make sure to get the edges real well too.   Let the pieces lay exposed to the air for about 20 minutes until its slightly dry and just slightly tacky.

     It gets tricky here, and is easier done with two, but these were done alone.  Let the sheepskin lay on the table and hold the leather piece above it.  Placing the glued side of the leather onto the glued side of the sheepskin.   Starting at the toe, carefully,  AND APPLYING NO PRESSURE,  fit the edges together working your way down from the toes to  the ‘v”  Work down the middle  then work towards the outside of the moccasin  and down fitting as you go. Strive for perfection,  If it  is not perfect, don’t worry because it can be trimmed later. But get it as close as you can, and without bubbles between the layers.

    Don’t push down because if it lays very slightly on the other piece and there is a mistake, it can fairly easily be lifted and adjusted.  It is pressure that seals the two layers together. 

These pieces below have been glued and are waiting to get tacky. These four pieces are for making two moccasins, left and right.







Place the leather and sheepskin for the each foot, side by side, taking note that the thickest wool part of the sheepskin (the sole)   will be glued to the thickest part of the leather, the sole.










STEP THIRTEEN:  Seal your layers together. Use a hammer to firmly hammer the surfaces together. Start at the toe and work your way down, being very careful to seal along the seams and totally All over the pieces.  When your done, do it again. Turn it to the opposite side and hammer it all over equally as well.   Trim any small edges so that your seams are clean and even.  I used a larger hammer than this one shown.  Make sure your hammering surface is not textured like a framing hammer might be. It can cut the leather when hammering on the leather side.  A wide smooth surface works great.  Really hammer at the “v” and along all edges.  Hammer thoroughly and heavily, all over.





STEP FOURTEEN:  Sewing the bottom of the moccasin

    Now begins the work and possible pain. Ready?  Here’s what you will need.

  Glovers Needles.  Ask for a medium size about the width of a thin nail.   If the needle is too large, you will have  more difficulty pushing it through the leathers. If it is too small, it will break.  If you are not familiar with glovers needles, take note that they are three sided. And brutally sharp !!!!!   The reason these work so well as opposed to a regular round needle is that the three sided needle SLICES through the leathers. (and your fingers if your not real careful!) instead of having to be pushed through the layers as you would have to do with a regular round needle.     I made the mistake of not taking note of the size of needle Im using. Use a mid range size.

 








Artificial Sinew ~  If your buying artificial sinew for the first time, ask if you can see how it divides. Some artificial sinew separates easily into four strands, other sinew just frays and knots up.   Look for the sort that divides easily.

You can sew with what ever you choose but make sure it is very strong.  I recommend artificial sinew.





First cut a welt. Whats a welt?  It is a long strip of leather, about ¾ “  wide and four inches or so longer than the seam from the inside of the foot to the lower opposite edge.  Its better to have it too wide so that you have to trim it later, than have a piece so narrow that you have to work to keep it lined up in the seam.   A long welt can be cut by cutting out a circle of leather, then cutting in a spiral, to near the center. Keep note of the width, remember better a bit wider than too narrow. 





You will hold it between the layers of the moc so that it is in the seam, and even with the edges.  Its purpose is to protect the seam’s stitches. and helps keep dirt out of the seam and the moccasin.
 
[font=&AMP]Place the welt as shown below and fold the moccasin so that the leather is on the inside.  Adjust welt, hold tight[/font]






 THE First stitches are very important.  You need to have your seams and welt matched exactly.  Start  a couple stitches below the “v”  and slowly, within a few stitches, work your way out to the seam allowance.     Make your first stitches a couple stitches back from the vee.   You don’t want these first stitches to show at all, so  they need to be very tight and small.





Im going to stop here and see if this loads, if so then I will continue with part 2.







 
Last edited by badgirlpinto on 1:12 PM - Jun 15, 2011, edited 5 times in total.
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badgirlpinto
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6:18 PM - Jun 11, 2011 #2

Ok from there.....A back stitch is made by making a stitch, but instead of moving ahead to make another stitch, you actually go back half a stitch, come up through the leather and going one stitch distance then repeat the back stitch.  It takes longer to sew  like this but the stitch is strong and has some give to it.  Make your stitches small and your seam will be nice and tight. Make them too long and the seam will have gaps.  I use clothes pins to hold the pieces together, I move them as I work towards the back of the moccasin, any small clamps will work.  Clamping the pieces together assures your pieces will be  close to even when you reach the heel of the moccasin.
  Sewing these pieces together is not easy.  I usually start the needle through the three pieces of leather with my thimble ( two layers of leather and the welt), then using the wooden cutting board I push down on the pieces of leather while having the needle positioned on the board, when the needle goes as far as I can get it, then I use my needle nose pliers to pull it the rest of the way through.  Like I  said, these are not easy to make.

   When you reach the back, put a couple real tight, large, knots in the sinew. 

 For this next step I use a long narrow rock to place inside of the sewn moccasin bottom.  Now you are going to use your hammer to hammer that seam nice and flat.  By hammering it you will not only flatten it, making it more comfortable against the side of the foot, but it will soften the seam also.   The rock I’m using is actually a marine fossil, but no matter what you use, it needs to be long enough to reach the toe area and hard enough to be able to flatten the seam.  They flatten quite nicely, flatten the seam out as opposed to one side or the other.





STEP   Who Knows Ive lost track haha. ~  Turning the moccasin so its right side out.   

  This is difficult and takes some strong hands.  Start pushing the toe inwards.  Is difficult so if you cant do it with your hands, then put the tip of the toe on your stick and try pushing down evenly turning the moccasin inwards as you go. No its not easy.  But is is possible.  Its slow and can be frustrating but keep going.  Softening the seams while flattening them the best you can really pays off in this step.  This step is why what ever your using to sew with, must be very, very strong.

[font=&AMP]The back stitch is useful here because it will have some give.    Joe is pictured starting the turn on these by pressing in on the toe.  I have used a broomstick to start them also.  No matter how you do it, it’s difficult.[/font]











  Before trimming the welt, check the first couple of stitches at the “vee” and pray you don’t see any.   If everything is well, then   trim the welt even with the moccasin.   In the past I have had to re do the vee.       As you work with the moccasin, the seam will relax and you can trim even more welt to stay even with the moccasin.  

 





Not shown, but slide the rock back in the right side out moccasin and hammer the seam from the outside too.

 

 Be sure not to use a hammer with a textured head because it will cut the leather. ( just a reminder)  This will further flatten and soften the seam, making the moccasin more comfortable.  It also flattens the welt, making it more affective.  Hammer from as close to the toe as possible, working your way all the way to the back.

 

[font=&AMP]    Mark the Bottom center of the moccasin by squeezing the side seam against the opposite side of the moccasin.   Make sure the leather above and below the seam are about the same.   Measure if need be.  Then mark with a pencil, the center of the bottom of the moccasin.  Measure  ¾” on each side of that mark and make marks there.  Make sure your measuring the BOTTOM of the moccasin where the hair is longest inside[/font]







The marks you just made will be where you cut the leathers to make the flap that folds up and protects your back seam.

Using the cardboard pattern of your foot, slide it inside the moccasin, slightly touching the toe, then backing off  an inch. Use sharp scissors to cut the lines to where the cardboard pattern ends for making your back seam.  I dont seem to have taken a photo of this step.  Find center of bottom, mark, then mark 3/4 inch on either side of center mark and cut to point of heel of cardboard guide.  Im sorry.  Its the best I could describe it.





CUTTING THE TONGUE ~ Unfortunately I have no photos of this step,but it is an easy one. Sketch below illustrates step.  Now that you have the tab on the back bottom cut,  find the center of the top of the moccasin, mark a straight line to follow.  And mark a line on either side of the center line so that the tongue is  1 1/2" wide.  Start cutting the two lines on either side of the center line, cut down far enough so you have ample room to make the back seam.  After the back seam is sewn,  attempt to put it on your foot, cut in small increments until you can get your foot into the moccasin without pulling too hard on it.  I would give a certain measurement but it will differ for everyone.  So just go slow, dont cut down too far without trying the moccasin on.






SEWING THE BACK SEAM~  I have made these with a welt in the seam as well as how they are shown in these photos, by over lapping.  I like the look of the welt, but sometimes if  not sewn just right, and flattened really well, the back seam can be uncomfortable.   If you decide to overlap, always overlap from the outter side of the moccasin to the inner side, then fold up the tab and glue and stitch.  If putting in a welt, sew the seam, bring up the tab, glue, hammer and sew.    If you decide to welt the seam, be sure to sew it strongly and then flatten it as much as possible to soften and flatten the seam so it does not rub against the back of the heel.








The guy who bought these wanted some beadwork on them.   Beading these once they are made is about impossible, at least for me.  And beading them before making them is out of the question because of having to turn them inside out and the force it takes to do that.  So what I did was to cut out a small piece that I will bead and sew onto the top of the moccasin.  The small paper cut out shows how I mark the leather, so that my beading stays straight, otherwise I tend to start a slant and it looks bad.   The beading can be sewn on at any time.









Starting top wrap.   Ok,  What you are seeing in the photo below is the inside of the left moccasin. Holding the tongue upright.  I like to over lap the tongue a bit, then  place the welt so it will be in the seam.  Sew your seam until you are past the tongue, then stitch the tongue to the upper,  This will keep the tongue from slipping down inside the moccasin as it is worn.  I am also putting in a welt on the seam where the upper is connected to the lowers.    As you can see in the photo, the bulk of the upper is on the left of the tongue, and will wrap around the outer side of the foot, around the back, towards the front, and over lap to past the ankle.  The photo on the right shows the progress around towards the back of the moccasin, keep going. You might want to make your uppers differently, perhaps just a tube with a drawstring at the top.  I added an additional piece of felt in my seam for decorative purposes.  Make a pattern if it is easier for you.  Make is as tall as you want the tops, and long enough to reach from a bit past the tongue, all the way around your leg, past the tongue and then to about the ankle for good overlap.   Cut your leather thongs nice and thick and long enough to wrap around your leg at lest a couple times from both directions.
















 Hammer all of the seams when you make them.  Hammer from inside and out if possible.   You can see on the photo above, some small cuts in the leather just above the seam that joins the tops to the foot.  That was a result of me grabbing the wrong hammer, it was textured, a framing hammer, and cut the leather as I was hammering the seam.  So use a smooth hammer !!!!     Stand the moccasin up, flatten it out as if your foot were inside of it and hammer the edges  all the way  around,  so that it  has the shape of a moccasin instead of tall and round bottomed as in  one of the photos above.  A small sledg hammer works great.



Once the upper is sewn to the lower,   wrap in front and poke holes through all layers, the tongue and the wrap so that you can put your lacings through the holes.  Position the upper exactly how you want it to be when you lace before poking holes for the thongs.  Best to mark for the holes when the moccasin is on your foot, so it lays nicely across your arch.  This keeps the wrap from sliding up in the front of the moccasin as its being worn.  And the thongs are more secure than stitching them on to the back of the moccasin which is how I use to do it.  Much better this way.  I happened to pick up a pair of used side seam mocs and this is how the laces were, through the front.  And I thought “well duh vicki”.







I like to finish off the moccasins with felt binding. 





OMG !!!!    Again, let me stress that if you are new to making moccasins,  and attempt to make the moisture proof ones, its a damn hard thing to do.  I was recently asked if I would make a pair for a friend, my reply to him was  "I'd rather chew my arm off than make another pair of these".   

But I have to tell ya, they are wonderful in cold and damp weather.   Very durable.  Ive had mine going on  20 years and they are still holding up well.  As difficult as they are to make, if I needed another pair of moccasins, I would make another pair like these.                 Good luck !!!!!!
Last edited by badgirlpinto on 3:23 PM - Jun 15, 2011, edited 6 times in total.
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Quillsnkiko
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8:24 PM - Jun 11, 2011 #3

Excellent tutorial....seems to me you could make some bucks , making these & selling them.

Very nice looking moccasins. and Top drawer craftmanship..... Aho.... Quills

by the way it downlaoded fast on my dialup... amazingly....way faster than most stuff here bouts.
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Hillbilly Homer
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11:11 PM - Jun 11, 2011 #4

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 is a man that never knew where he was going.
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Wulf16
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12:01 AM - Jun 12, 2011 #5

Very cool! Thanks for the tutorial!
"Do not be bound by the limits you place on yourself. It is only when you reach beyond what you think you can do that you will almost surely do far more than you thought you could."
~Chiungalla, A Sorrow in Our Heart
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badgirlpinto
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6:17 AM - Jun 12, 2011 #6

2:16 am
I woke up thinking about cutting the tongue. I have done this tutorial three time and this is the first time I realized I did not address the tongue in either text or photos. With all the photos I took, I cant believe I missed photographing that step. The directions I put in this tutorial about the "top slit" is not accurate. If you make them the way I described, you will not have a tongue. So sorry. So here is how I cut the top opening...

Measure as I described, from the back top of your heel, around to the front of your foot and down to where you would want the opening to stop. Go ahead and draw that line down the top center, then mark down either side of that line so that the tongue is an inch and a half wide.

Cut the tongue in stages, trying the moccasin on occasionally, until you are able to slide your foot into it. Then where you stop cutting the tongue, cut sideways into the moccasin about half an inch, this is what you will sew the tops onto.

Sorry about the mistake. So glad I caught it. So please if your going to make these.. make sure you add this into the steps.
sigh, now I can go to sleep again. I might make a small moccasin out of paper tomorrow and show exactly what I mean. Just because it is clear to me... doesnt mean I've made it clear to anyone else.
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Eric Methven
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9:48 PM - Jun 12, 2011 #7

It's pretty clear to me. Excellent, thanks for doing this.

Eric
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I can now cough, sneeze, fart and pee my pants all at the same time!
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alz
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7:46 PM - Jun 13, 2011 #8

Great tutorial and very nice mocs. Thanks!
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braintanner
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8:19 PM - Jun 13, 2011 #9

Very nice!! Thanks for taking the time to post n share these instructions.
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slunecni
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3:57 PM - Sep 29, 2011 #10

OH MY these are amazing! They look soooooooo warm! I'm going to try making a pair, been wondering about the cold winter weather that will soon be approaching! Thanks for the pictures, they really help!
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JoyDelight
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11:10 PM - Sep 10, 2012 #11

Impressive, again very impressive and beautifully detailed directions and photographs. So, Amazing to see the steps and work that goes into your mocs.
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