How to Make Fur Skin Mukluks

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(Image: Measuring tape image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com)

Mukluks are a type of fur moccasin that rises to mid-calf or the knee. Traditionally, they make up a part of Arctic-dwelling Native American winter wear. The beading, embroidery and designs vary to suit different tribes. Meant to keep your feet warm in the coldest conditions, mukluks are the preferred footwear of those desiring style and practicality, according to the Fur Boots website.

True Native American mukluks are made by turning the fur-side of reindeer or sealskin inward so the fur offers insulation to the foot. The same may be true today in some styles, but modern makers also use other kinds of fur, fleece and flannel to line their mukluks.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather
  • Polar fleece
  • Quilting thread
  • Leather needle
  • Newsprint
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Stick pins

Trace the bottom pattern by placing one foot with your heel about a half-inch away from the edge of the paper. Use the chalk to trace an arch from the edge of the paper on one side of your foot, over your toes, to the other side of your foot. The arch should look like an arched doorway with the edges spaced 1 inch away from your foot the whole way around and a 3-inch space between your heel and the paper’s edge. This is piece A.

Draw another arch about a half-inch smaller than piece A. Instead of leaving the back of this smaller arch, piece B, flat against the paper’s edge, draw a shallow curve that pushes inward toward the toe of piece B.

Create a pattern for the lining by tracing an oval shape around your foot with about a half-inch border of newsprint around the edges. The oval should be wide near your toes and narrow toward your heel. This is lining 1. Draw another oval about a half-inch wider than lining 1 and erase the heel-half for the top of the lining. This is lining 2; it will cover the top of your foot inside the mukluk.

Draw a rectangle about 2 inches wide and as long as the measurement around your heel from one ankle bone to the other. This is lining 3 and it will cover your heel inside the boot.

Measure around your calf just below the knee and around your ankle. Add 2 inches to these two measurements. For instance, if your calf measures 7 inches around, your pattern will show 9 inches. If your ankle measures 5 inches around, your pattern will show 7 inches.

Measure from the top of your calf to your ankle. Draw pattern using all three measurements. For example, with the measurements in step 5 and a length measuring 13 inches you would draw a 9-inch horizontal line on your newsprint and a 13-inch line down from its center. Draw a 7-inch line centered on the base of the 13-inch line. Complete the pattern by connecting the ends of the 9-inch line with the ends of the 7-inch line. The pattern should look like a triangle with no point. This is piece C.

Measure from the top of your calf to your ankle. Draw pattern using all three measurements. For example, with the measurements in Step 5 and a length measuring 13 inches you would draw a 9-inch horizontal line on your newsprint and a 13-inch line down from its center. Draw a 7-inch line centered on the base of the 13-inch line. Complete the pattern by connecting the ends of the 9-inch line with the ends of the 7-inch line. The pattern should look like a triangle with no point. This is piece C.

Draw another pattern piece 1 inch smaller around the edges than the piece in Step 6. This is lining 4 and will cover your leg inside the boot.

Pin pieces A, B and C to the leather and linings 1 to 4 to the polar fleece. Cut out all of your patterns, making sure to cut out two of each piece and lining, one for each boot. Separate the pieces for each boot, placing the linings and outer pieces in separate piles.

Pin lining 1 about an inch from the toe of the wrong side of piece A. Pin lining 2 to the wrong side of piece B. Pin lining 3 behind lining 1 on piece A. Pin lining 4 to the wrong side of piece C. Stitch each lining to each piece with a whip stitch that wraps around the edges of the lining pieces.

Sew the edges of piece C together with the lining side out. Use any stitch you like as long as it is strong. This creates the leg of your mukluk.

Pin the edges of pieces A and B together, also with the lining sides out. Gather the edges of piece A into small, even pleats and pin them to piece B. Start at the center of the arch and work your way along the sides.

Turn the back part of piece A, the part with lining 3, up at a 90-degree angle. Pin it to the back edges of piece B. Stitch everything together and remove the pins. This creates the foot of your mukluk.

Sew the top edges of the foot piece to the bottom edge of the leg piece. Reach down inside your mukluk and turn it inside-out so the lining is inside the boot and you can see the leather. Repeat steps 9 to 13 to create the other mukluk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Label each piece of leather and lining with a number or a letter drawn on colored sticker dots. This will help you keep everything straight as you cut and sew.

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