Spare Time Activities/Simple indian moccasins

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Spare Time Activities: Foreword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Simple indian moccasins

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YOU will remember that in Chapter XII told you how to make Ojibway moccasins; I said there that the different tribes of Indians wore different patterns of footgear suited to the kind of country in which they lived. The Ojibway is a soft moccasin for wearing in snow, but is no use at all on the hard, stony plains, so here is the kind of moccasin which the Plains Indians wore, and which, incidentally, you will find much easier to make than the Ojibway footgear. Take a piece of stout sole leather about 1 ft. long and 5 in. wide for each of the soles. Put your foot on one and draw round it with a pencil held upright. Then draw another line outside this first one about ½ in. away, but just rounding off the corners as you see in figure A. Now cut cleanly round this outer line with a sharp knife. You probably know, if you have done any leather work, that the way to keep your knife sharp for leather cutting is to glue a strip of emery paper on a piece of board and give your knife a rub on it every now and then. This puts on a coarse cutting edge which goes through leather very easily. Next time you take a pair of boots to be mended you will see the bootmaker using one of these to sharpen his knife. Having cut your first sole you can lay it on the second piece of leather – reversing it first, of course – and cut out the other sole from it, and your soles are ready.

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First of all you cut soles from two pieces of leather about 12 ins. long by 5 ins. wide. The uppers – diagram B – have a slit 6 ins. in length, with another 3 ins. in length at right-angles to the first. After soaking the upper, place your foot on a sole and slip the upper over it, tacking round as in C. Remove tacks and replace with stitches, then cut away the waste leather. The heels are brought to the back of the moccasin, where they should just meet. Cut off waste and stitch as shown by D. The finished moccasins are shown just below A. Now for the uppers. Each upper will require a piece of leather, much thinner than sole leather, roughly 8 in. wide and about 2 in. longer than your foot. First of all cut a slit 6 in. long down the middle from one end and then another slit 3 in. in length at right angles to the first one. Diagram B gives you the idea. Soak the leather in water, then put your foot on the sole and slip the upper over it, shaping it down over the foot, and stretching it until it shapes well. Then mark round where the stitches will come through the upper on to the sole (diagram C). The best way of doing this is to drive brads – about six to the inch – down through the upper into the sole. Start on each side of the instep and work round towards the toe, gathering up any surplus leather of the uppers as you go along, as shown in diagram C. This done, the next thing is to pull out the brads and to use the holes which they have made for your stitches, sewing strongly all round with well-waxed thread. Now you should look up Chapter XI, where I described the Ojibway moccasin, for hints on the sewing of the soles. The easiest way to do it is by using two needles and pulling out the brads a few at a time, then putting stitches in where the brads were as you go along. When you have sewn from one side of the instep to the other, going right round the toe, and cut away the waste leather, you can start to fit the heel. Slip your foot into the moccasin, bring the two sides round the heel so that they just meet, cut off any surplus there may be and stitch the ends together, as in diagram D. Then complete the sewing of the upper to the sole. Now turn over the top edges of the upper and stitch them down at the top, running a piece of thong through the hem thus formed. This comes out at each aide and ties in front. It improves the appearance of the moccasin if you sew on a tongue of leather as you n see i the sketch of the finished article. It can be ornamented in any way you like. Beadwork is not difficult^ and looks most effective. The picture suggests a scheme of decoration, but you could no doubt evolve other and better ones for yourself.