Moccasin Making with Youths

As part of a week-long wilderness skills themed Nature Explorers Summer Camp we make moccasins using canvas or felt cloth.  The activity has been done as a follow-up to the medicine bag craft where the students gained some initial confidence in their ability to sew.  The idea is to make the skills more accessible to the participants by starting them on age-appropriate projects. The camp was facilitated with http://traditionalearthskills.com/

Canvas Moccasin Making
Canvas Moccasin Making

Step 1: Place your foot over a piece of canvas to gain a measurement. Draw an outline beyond the perimeter of your foot to trace an outline that will be the fabric used within the shoe.

Step 2: Cut out on the drawn line and place aside the outside scrap for another use.

Step 3 : Use a safety pin or a quick stitch to hold the cloth in place.  Begin at the toe and sew upward using a whip stitch.

Step 4: Begin to sew up the back of the moccasin.  Periodically check and adjust for comfort and fit before completing the row of stitching.

Step 5: For padding, you may wish to find a few soft leaves like that from mullein, lamb’s ear, leather-leaf viburnum or whatever else might be available, like dry moss or grass.

We try to focus on introducing and practicing the skills of stitching and creating their very own moccasins in limited time availability. Participants are encouraged to continue progressing  in the development of their skills.

The Lenape-Delaware Indians would likely use deer hide to make their moccasins and sew them up with sinew and an ulna or thorn awl.

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