Clothing and Fibers Block- Leather Moccasins

The fibers and clothing block that Ishaan and I are working on is by far my favorite so far. It probably has a lot to do with how much I love making things and exploring new fibers and fabrics. The fact that we took a much needed long Christmas break must also play into it. Although it took a week to get out routine back, we came back to school refreshed and excited. Ishaan also enjoys making things so this is a perfect hands on block.

We’ve decided to study leather, flax/linen, wool, cotton and silk. In addition to learning about each fiber and how they are made, we also plan to do a “making” project for each of them. The first one we have completed is a pair of leather moccasins. We looked at many pattern and kits online but ended up choosing a pair of one-peice soft sole moccassins which we found the instructions for on a website called Native American Technology and Art. It is a great site which I am sure we will refer back to when we do our Native American block this spring.

Above is an example of the instructions that we followed. I traced around Ishaan’s feet and then measured and drew out all those complicated looking lines. Really they are not complicated once you read the instructions all the way through.

making the paper pattern

paper pattern

After we made and cut out the paper pattern, we made a mock up out of a piece of scrap fabric. I HIGHLY recommend that you do this as we had to make some adjustments to make the pattern work. We added about 1/2″ to the width of the flaps to make them a little bit longer when folded down. We also had to add a bit to the length and make them a bit narrower across the foot. The photo show the mock up just pinned, but I had Ishaan sew it up to practice his stitching. Also, it gave him something to do while he waited for his leather needle to arrive.

mock up out of scrap fabric

Once we were happy with our pattern adjustments, Ishaan traced the pattern onto his piece of suede and cut it out.

cutting the leather

cutting leather

tool to mark the holes or stitches
We didn’t end up using this nifty little tool. I think it is for softer, thinner leather and couldn’t make a deep enough mark with it. I just marked the leather with a sharpie every 3/16″. We also did not end up using the glovers needle I got.  I could barely get it through one layer of leather and I knew that Ishaan trying to force it through two layers would likely end in disaster. I just punched the holes with a leather punch that my mom had left over from her den-mother days. It made the sewing for Ishaan much easier and he just used thick waxed thread and a darning needle.

Leather punch

sewing up the moccasin

 Ishaan sewed up the moccasin almost entirely on his own. According to the instructions he used a whip stitch from the underneath to about the end where the big toe would end. He did the rest using a running stitch so he could gather the stitches giving a puckering effect. He did a similar thing in the back. The tab in the back was a bit tricky and I helped a lot with that.


boy in moccasins

It was a super fun and less complicated than i originally throughout project for the clothing and fibers block. Ishaan is proud of himself  and pleased as punch with his new moccasins!

2 responses to “Clothing and Fibers Block- Leather Moccasins

  1. Well done Ishaan! What a satisfying project. Lovely to see your handiwork – you are very talented.

  2. That comment was actually from me – not my Mum – I was logged into the blog I am setting up for her…

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