Side Fold Moccasins




                                                    A SIDE FOLD MOCCASIN PATTERN AND INSTRUCTIONS


This pattern is an adjusted version of Jill and Crazys winter moccasin pattern.  I have used it for all of my moccasins and it has not failed me yet.  The one thing a pattern can not adjust for is, how stretchy your hide is, and how much it will stretch after you had made the moccasin.  Good luck there.  I have made moccasins out of moose and deer, moose has been the very best but it is very high priced to purchase and harder than buffalo to tan.  The moose hide did not stretch like the deer did.

            The first step of cutting out your moccasin is to hold your hide up to light and make to make sure there are as few as possible light spots in the hide.  Try to use the densest part of the side for the soles and upper toe area.  This is where a moccasin wears out on me the fastest.  The collar for the moccasin can be thinner, and maybe preferred thin, if you leave it rolled up onto your leg so it would be cooler in hot weather.  Ok, after you have checked the hide



1). If you wear socks, leave your sock on.  Place your foot on a piece of brown garbage bag, leaving enough bag on the inside side of your foot so the pattern can be folded and doubled.  Trace the outline of your foot with your weight on your foot.

2). Find the center of the pattern and draw a line lengthwise down the center. 

3). At the widest part of your foot, usually at the top of your ach, measure the distance around your foot.  Divide the measurement by half and add 1/2 of an inch. If your foot is 9 inches around your total distance divided in half would be 4.75 inches.  So your pattern would be 4.75 inches wide with equal parts, 2 & 3/8 inches, on each side of the center line of your pattern.

4.) Add .75" at the toe and 1.25" at your heal.  (winter moccasins ad 1" and 1.5" to allow for hair or wool). Once you have your enlargement marks, draw the pattern outline as in the picture shown with the pattern being squared across the heel.




5). Fold your pattern on the inside foot side and cut double leaving the inside foot seam in contact.  On one side of the pattern cut a line about 3" from the heel up the center line.  If you cut one side of the pattern you will know which side you have cut out for your left foot and which for your right foot.  This will help you keep track of which side needs to be the thickest for the sole of your moccasin on each side.  Do not cut the line further because you do not want to cut it all the way until you have the moccasin sewn on the side.  The dept of this cut will determine how tight and how lose the moccasin will be and how far down you want to sew the tongue and you will know this better once you have tried it on after it has been sewn.  Unless you have drastic differences in your feet you will use the same pattern for your opposite foot.  Your cut out pattern should look like this when unfolded.


6). Once you have found the thickest and densest parts of the hide, cut two pieces of leather, flipping the pattern for the other foot.  Choose the flesh side of the hide to be the side that will go to the inside of your moccasin once completed.

7). Cut a welt to 3/8 inch wide to be placed between the top and bottom part of the moccasin seam.  Put the flesh side of the hide to the outside while sewing.  You can use either a whip stitch or a running stitch but I recommend you double it, up and back, which ever you choose.  Use a dull needle to go back through the holes you made with a 3 sided needle on the first run of the stitch.  Keep the welt flush even with the leather edge.  Start your sewing at the heel end leaving a long tail of sinew at the beginning.  When you come back with the second stitch leave a long tail of sinew with out tying your sinew off.  You may have to shorten your seam and cut some leather off if you have cut your pattern to long.  A sewn moccasin with a welt (distance from leather exaggerated in drawing) will look like this.




8). Now is the time to cut the center line on the top part of your moccasin.  Put the moccasin on and put your toe all the way to the tip.  Cut only a little of the line at a time until it fits.  Once it fits, cut across the moccasin 1 inch on each side of the line to create an edge to sew the tongue.  Like this---



9). Put the moccasin on your foot and pull it closed in the back.  Bring the edges of the back together and trim within of your foot without cutting your sinew on your side seam!!!  You should be able to pinch inch of leather.  Cut a welt to be placed in the seam in the back.  Sew seam only 1 inch from top to bottom, leaving the bottom half open.  Trim your welt. See picture---



10. Now turn your moccasin right side out.  At the top of the opening at the heel, cut a 1" slit horizontally on each side.  Fold the opening horizontally, creating a flap high on your heel, and sew closed without a welt.  This is one way.  Another is to place another welt in the seam horizontally and sew shut while moccasin is wrong side out, but I find I walk on the seam and wear it out faster.  This is my version---









11).  Now that the bottom part is constructed, except the tongue, you will add the collar.   The length or height of the collar is a personal preference and will depend on if you leave it up or fold it down.  I leave mine up and wrap my tying thongs around my ankle to secure it.  I cut my collars about 2 inches tall.  The length I cut them is the length around the top of the moccasin plus enough for a 2-3 inch flap, on each side, that crosses over the tongue.  This, too, is sewn with a welt.  See pictures---



12). The tongue is cut so it is about .25 inches longer than the width of the space that was cut across the arch.  The extra .25" insures it is wide enough and can be trimmed after the first stitch across is completed.  This too is sewn with a welt and a double stitch.  Make it long enough that it reaches to the top of the collar See picture above.

13). The tying thongs, for my moccasins, are very long.  How you tie your moccasins will depend on how long you make the ties.  I like to go around my ankle as well as under my foot so they are very long.  Cut small holes under the collar, in the moccasin, to lace the strings.  If you have cut your strings too short, cut another the same length and tie two together at the back of your moccasin.





            This is what mine look like after being greased with a mixture of bear grease and bees wax for water proofing.  Your first pair of moccasins may not fit just right but you will improve every time you make a pair.  You may waver from this pattern to one that fits you better.  If your moccasins last one whole camp season, your doing fine.  A second sole can be sewn on but to me they are too much of a pain.  I have done both.  A couple layers of wool inserts inside will cushion your stride and is period correct too.  A couple of stitches to your welt will hold them in place.


Good Luck and happy Trails









                           Side fold winter moccasins

    These were commonly done with hair-on buffalo, but we have found that deer with hair on work just as well for less money if your budget is tight..  The side fold style is authentic to the fur trade era. Two piece mocs came at a later date. Winter mocs were the wrap around high top style.  



    1] For these measurements, you should have on your heavy wool sock that you will be wearing with these mocs. Stand on a large piece of paper sack and trace around your foot.

    2] Find the center of the foot and draw a line down it.

    3] About at the arch, measure around your foot at the widest point- divide this measurement by half and add a generous 1/2".  This is your pattern width.  Draw a line down each side of your foot, allowing equal space on each side of the center line.  [ If your foot measures 10" around, then 5 &1/2" will be your pattern width, andyou will allow 2 & 3/4" out from each side of the center line].

    4] Now make a mark 1" from the toe and 1 & !/2" from the heel.  Draw the toe shape to meet the side marks.  The heel is straight across.

    5] Cut down the center to almost halfway.
    6] Fold the paper on the inside pattern edge and cut out, leaving the folded edge intact.  Your cut out pattern should look like this:


7] Cut out 2 pieces of leather, flipping the pattern over for the other foot. Stitch the moc together fur side out, using a welt.  Turn it right side out and try it on for size, adjusting the center slit to a comfortable length and then cut sideways on each side about 1".

    8]Mark the heel seam with a pencil then cut off excess , stitch with a welt, and  sew down to about 3/4 to one inch from the bottom.


Then try on Moccasin and check to see if you have sewn down far enough, the sewn seam should end at the bottom of your heel. Then using your fingers press down on the excess and follow around the contour of your heel. Then mark with pencil.  You should have a half moon shape line on both sides of the seam. Cut just the top layer from the heel seam  to each side of the heel following the line.

9] After cutting the heel put the Moccasin back on and open up the excess material flat on the ground then mark around the shape of the heel on the excess material. Cut this off leaving a little extra for seam allowance. Then turn the heel inside out and sew together with a welt.

            10] Measure the ankle opening of the moc and add 4" for overlap.  cut a rectangle this length and at least 4 to 6" high depending on how tall you want your Moccasins.

    11] Start sewing the high top to the moc on the out side edge of foot, sewing towards the inside of the foot. When done you should have about 4" overlap to wrap around the front which helps close the front from snow. This is how it looks:

    12] Sew the tongue in, cut it 1/2 to 3/4" wider than the opening and about 4" long. sew it in with a welt leaving a little of the excess in both sides of the opening. After sewing this excess can be tacked down on the inside of the moccasins. This will make it so the size of the tongue will more than cover the opening and will help to keep snow out.
    The wrap around top is held in place with a leather thong that goes through two holes in the ankle part, just like with summer mocs, then is wrapped around and tied.
To semi waterproof them for winter wear, grease them all over the outside with a mix of grease and beeswax. They need to be greased daily when they are worn consistently.  I use bear grease mixed with beeswax to about the consistance of shoe paste.

Some thoughts on winter Moccasins

If you make your Mocs out of baffalo hide with hair on as many Plains and Mountain tribes and some Mountainmen did, there is one thing to think of. Buffalo leather has a rather open grain and it does not hold up well to wear.

For those that had buffalo every where and the hides came cheap this was not a problem. For us now days they come mighty dear so there are a couple of ways to make yours last longer. One is to add an extra sole to the bottom out of deer or elk or even moose.  All of which will hold up longer then the buffalo hide will. The other way is to make an outer Moccasin to go over it. The Hidatsa did this and I'm sure other tribes may have done this as well.  Buffalo Bird Woman makes mention of this.

    "My father took off his big cap and hung it on the drying pole and wrung out hic moccasins and hung them beside the cap.  They were winter mocassins and in each was a kind of stocking of buffalo skin turned fur in and sewed and cut to fit snugly over the foot. These Stockings small Ankle (her Father) drew out and laid by the fire to dry." [Buffalo Bird Woman].


     How to make the buckskin outer mocs is much like ones above, only put on Buffalo Moccasins then measure your pattern for your outer Moccasins. The only difference is that you will not have to make such large seam allowances, only  a quarter inch on the sides, 1/2 inch at the toe and 3/4 inch at the heel.

                                                                  Buffalo liner and outer Moccasin

Another way to go is with a wool liner instead of buffalo. Make thick blanket weight wool moccasins just like described above but use the seam allowances given for the buckskin outer mocs, adding the thickness of the wool to those seam allowances given. You can even use double thickness wool for extra warmth.


                                                                 Wool Liner- note the welt of wool as well                                                        


Then, to make the buckskin outer mocs, wear the wool moc while you make your measurements. Make two pair of wool liners so that when one is wet, you will have a spare to change into.

The outer shell is well greased with a mixture of bear grease  and beeswax.
also note how thick the wool is on these liners. They are nice and warm.

That spare pair could save your foot. Just read this:
    Yesterday, two of our Metis,Antoine and David went to the Yellowstone with dog sled and two pack horses to hunt..... "After they had kindled a fire and stuck the meat on spits to roast they took off their wet moccasins to dry them and to warm their feet. Antoine put on another pair right away and told David to do likewise; but the latter, suspecting no danger, replied "a tantot." .....Later they were cooking their meat when "Suddenly there were shots!...They ran instinctively into the night, each trying to save his own skin. David, severely wounded, attempted to reach the Assiniboine camp.  On the journey his feet froze. His moccasins must have still been wet."  [Journal of Rudolph Freiderich Kurz].


                                             when hunting in this kind of elements ya want to have warm feet.
Take care and stay warm
Crazy Cyot

Glad to help.
I've come down to wearing a pair of braintan puckertoe vamped high-tops mocs for winter/snow conditions. They aren't much help if it's slushy wet and if that is the situation I will wear my Jefferson Booties or "Ft. Legionar shoe paks because of their having been heavily greased.
The puckertoes have the classic red wool vamp and are made large enough to accommodate plenty of wool inside. The vamp is lined with leather by the way, not just the red wool. They are made of moose and have an extra layer of commercial leather glued to the bottom just to save wear and tear but it's probably not all that necessary. That extra sole is fairly soft leather BTW.
I start off by wearing a heavy wool sock. Inside the moc is a "shoe pack" liner made of wool blanketing. It has two layers of wool blanket material on the bottom and one layer on each side/top. Baker showed how to make those shoe packs and my liners are made the same way. In really cold weather I'll likely have two pair of wool socks on.
As long as the snow is not too soft and slushy, my feet tend to stay warm if not perfectly dry. I wear them to bed as they are in the evening and they are generally dry by morning. I really should make an extra pair.
I've lightly treated the lower parts of those mocs with some bear grease but not much, just slightly oily feeling.
Can't think of much else to add Jill. Hope this is of help.
Capt. Lahti'

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