Moccasins have been crafted by hand for centuries, and are one of the oldest types of shoe known to man. Worn by Native Americans, European settlers and many others, moccasins are basically slippers that can be worn indoors or out. When made with fur, moccasins are a toasty way to keep feet warm during the colder months. Simple or extravagant beading also sets a pair of moccasins apart from the rest. However you make them, making homemade moccasins is less painless than you may previously thought.
Things You'll Need
Pattern for moccasin vamp, bottom, heel and lining in desired size
Moose, elk or deer hide cut per desired shoe size
Two welt strips, 1/4 inch wide strips of leather as long as the outside of the vamp pattern
Fabric marking pencil, or chalk
Two strips of fur, each one 2 inches wide by 16 to 18 inches long
Artificial sinew, or quilter's thread
Lining fleece cut per desired shoe size
Two sewing pins
Cut out all the pieces in your moccasin pattern to the size you require for wearing. You will flip the patterns over for the opposite foot.
Mark your patterns onto the leather hide with the marking pencil or chalk. Mark two sets of each pattern; one set for the right foot and one set for the left foot.
Pin the lining pattern onto the fleece lining fabric, using sewing pins to secure patterns. Trace the patterns with the marking pencil or chalk, then flip and repeat for second moccasin. Sew the lining pieces together separately before starting on the moccasin.
Decorate the vamps of your moccasins before sewing them. Match up the center front of your first vamp to the center front of the bottom with right side of fabric together. Slip the welt between the bottom and the vamp, matching up the edges evenly.
Tack all three pieces on the center front, and add a tack at the left and right end where the vamp and welt meet the bottom with the sinew or quilter's thread.
Sew from the center front tack down to the left-side tack, making an 1/8 inch tuck on each stitch until you no longer have to make any tucks to fit the bottom to the vamp. Starting at the center front tack, repeat the above step to the right-side tack.
Turn the moccasin inside out, and carefully trim back any of the welt sticking out from the seam. This creates the toe of the moccasin.
Flip the moccasin inside out once again. Match the heel piece to the toe piece you just sewed with the right sides together, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Sew the two ends together with the sinew or quilter's thread to form a slipper, do not sew the bottom of the moccasin to the heel part yet. Flip your moccasin out, and try it on to test the fit.
Find the middle of the heel of your moccasin, and mark it with the marking pencil or chalk. Measure 3/4 of an inch on either side of middle mark, and mark these. Measure 3/4 inch in towards the front of the moccasin, and mark these measurements as well.
Cut from the two points vertically up to the second set of marks; do not cut in or to the center mark. Sew the back seem down to the two cuts, then sew the top of the "T" seam. Cut off any excess flap of fabric. Sew the bottom of the moccasin to the "T" seam.
Slip the lining onto your foot first, then slide your foot and lining into the moccasin. Carefully extract your foot from both the lining and the moccasin. Trim the lining neatly at the top, and tack the lining into place along the opening of the moccasin, and into the seams around the inside, out through the bottom piece.
Measure around the top of the moccasin opening for the length of fur you need. Cut the length of fur carefully with the craft knife to the needed length, and roughly 1 1/4 inches wide. Place the right-side of the fur at the right-side of the leather by turning the moccasin inside out. Sew from the heel seam all around the opening back to the heel. Cut off any excess length of fur, then sew the two ends together.
Turn the moccasin inside out and test for proper fit. Repeat all above steps to make the second moccasin.
Trace patterns onto the wrong side of the leather, not the side you want to show in the end result. Put pattern pieces into corresponding right and left foot piles, and mark them. Do not use scissors to cut fur; hold the fur up off a table and cut only through the skin with a craft knife. Leather is typically purchased by the square foot; purchase a moccasin pattern that tells you the exact amount of materials you need to make both moccasins in your size.
Always give a seam allowance of at least 1/4 inch for all pattern pieces when tracing and cutting. Use caution when sewing with a leather needle and when cutting fur with a craft knife.