How to Make High-Top Moccasins

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper and marker

  • Leather

  • Leatherworking tools

  • Heavy-duty needles and thread

Moccasins, the most well-known type of Native American footwear, can be made at home in a few simple steps. Used to protect the feet from the elements during the winter months, moccasins are most often made from thick leather and custom-drafted to each individual's foot for a comfortable fit. Today, moccasins are sometimes preferred over modern outdoor shoes, since they allow for a healthier, more natural gait.


How to Make High-Top Moccasins

Step 1

Create a pattern for your high-top moccasins. On a sheet of paper, place your feet side-by-side about 1 inch apart and trace around them with a marker. Be as accurate as possible so that you can have the best fit. Draw a line down the center, between the feet and make a mark at the center line, beside the base of the big toe.


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Step 2

Measure the circumference of the ball of the foot, and make a mark on each side of the feet at that point, half the circumference measurement from the center line. Make another mark that is 1/2 inch down and across from that point, to mark the top of the slipper part of the shoe. Draw a curve around the outside of the toes, from the mark in Step 1 to the outermost marking in this step, 1/2 inch away from the feet.


Step 3

Make another marking on the paper at the center line, 1/4 inch from the bottom of the heel. At the mark between the balls of the feet and the end of the toe curve, draw a line straight down to the same level as the bottom center mark. Connect these marks to the ends of the toe curve, and draw a horizontal line between the marks below the heel.


Step 4

Add rectangles to the outside edges of the pattern, running from the mark outside the ball of the foot to the bottom mark. The rectangles should be 2 inches wide. Cut around only the outside edges of both sides of the pattern, leaving the center line intact.

Step 5

Lay the paper pattern onto your leather, and cut around the pattern twice, so that you have leather for both moccasins. Fold each leather piece down the center line, wrong sides together. Whip stitch together the center back seam, all the way down to the bottom.


Step 6

Stitch together the front of the shoe with a running stitch and a whip stitch, using the whip stitch at the toes and the running stitch above that. Stop just at the beginning of the top rectangle. Turn the moccasins right side out.

Step 7

Fold the top of the moccasin down or leave it up. Cut strips of leather to tie around each ankle for decorative detail.


To make your moccasins sturdier for outdoor use, sew a foot-sized piece of rawhide to the bottom of each moccasin.


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