When travelers and settlers began their invasion of the Indian lands, they soon discovered it, that their heavy-duty, hard-soled shoes are not suitable for long hikes. When the shoes got wet, they became heavy and it was impossible to dry them overnight. The drying in the sun took several hours and the skin almost always cracked. They found out soon, perfect for these conditions wearing moccasins.
The word moccasin comes from one of the languages ​​spoken by the eastern Algonquians – moccasin lub mawhcasin. Most often they were made of soft caribou leather, moose or deer. The Californian Indians and the inhabitants of the Northwest Coast hardly used footwear. Apaches wore leather loafers with a high uppers reaching the knees, and in the case of Navaho and Pueblo, the upper reached mid-calf.
Plain Indians usually used two varieties of loafers: one-piece with a soft sole, and two-piece, made of soft leather on the instep and hard untreated leather on the sole (the hard sole perfectly protected the foot from sharp stones and thorny plants).
The shape of the sole and the characteristic patterns sewn on the moccasins with porcupine spikes or beads were individual for each tribe.
Moccasins were decorated in various ways: except for embroidering with geometric or floral patterns – fringes were sewn to it, pieces of colored cloth, fur and painted. In the southern plains, the characteristic decorative motifs were the so-called. “keyholes” (keyhole) – very characteristic of the Crow tribe
Women's and children's moccasins basically did not differ in cut from men's. In the old days, these moccasins were distinguished by ornamentation, but during the reserve period, these differences were blurred.
Winter moccasins were slightly looser to the foot and were made of tanned leather with the bristles inward..

During the colonial period, Europeans quickly adopted Indian moccasins as everyday footwear due to their simple cut and perfect adaptation to the terrain..



– Skin (dressed – white on top, plantar or rowhide for sole,
– tendon or a strong sewing thread,
– needle, awl,
– as ornaments: beads, fur, cloth, earth paints


Skin – I will not hide, that the most perfect for loafers is hand tanned. However, due to the lack of financial possibilities or the lack of obtaining it, you can use other cheaper leather, e.g.. irchy (the need to choose a thick one or stick together several layers)
The soles – if we decide on two-piece loafers, we must have thick soles. You can cut them out of some old bag or buy a piece of leather at a shoe store.
Tendons – are the best for loafers, but you can only get them abroad. Instead of thread, you can use strong linen threads (to buy in haberdashery) or use sewing thread. Before sewing, the threads must be waxed. I heard, that some used floss to sew moccasins – they are very strong and waxed but it is rather expensive business 🙂
Needles – it is good to have a pair of sewing needles and an awl for making holes, especially with two-piece loafers. I appreciated the very curved in a semicircle, they sharpen the needle of the seam very much when sewing on the sole.
One-piece – I recommend moccasins to everyone, who will not walk much in them. They are very soft and not suitable for walking on stones – but they are perfect for walking in the woods. The one-piece pattern is very old and easier to make. You should also pay attention to the fact that to make them, we must have a larger piece of leather.
Two-piece – they are a bit more difficult to make, but their great advantage is a thick sole – making, that they are perfect for every road and conditions. I recommend that you make these moccasins first.

Pattern of one-piece moccasins

1. Before we start making moccasins, we must first make a template of paper.
2. Place the foot on a folded sheet of paper so that the distance of the most protruding parts of the foot is 1 cm from the edge and top of the sheet and trace the circumference of the foot.
3. We draw the circumference around the foot at a distance of 1 cm, starting from the base of the big toe to the outermost part of the foot. From there, we draw a straight line down (see picture 3).
4. We spread the sabers and make cuts in one part as shown in the picture 4. The distance from the top of the moccasin to point C is 10-15 cm (at your discretion), from point A to B approx. 5-7 cm.
Now we have to try on the leg form carefully and make any corrections. Then we put a paper template on the skin and cut out the shape. Draw the second moccasin by turning the paper inside out. Now we can sew.
5. If the skin is hard, first make holes with an awl, and then sew with waxed threads or a tendon.
6. We sew the tongue to the sewn loafer.
7. Then we put on the loafers on the leg, carefully pulling it. We mark the lines where the skins connect with each other.
8. We make a 5 cm incision from the bottom to the depth of the foot as shown in the picture 7. Cut off the part of the skin above the cut and sew it together (Lynx. 8) and finally sew the protruding element as shown in the picture 9.


Pattern of two-piece moccasins

1. In this case, making a template out of paper is pointless. At most, we can make a template from some old material to be sure – np. canvases.
2. First, we carefully trace the sole and measure the padding with a strip of fabric or a strap (marked as A in the figure). Then, transfer the foot shape onto the thick skin and cut it out (2) and mark points B and C on the sole.
3. We put the sole on the leather or paper and start drawing the instep. We put the A strip (with which we measured the raise) halfway down its length to the C point on the sole. Mark the ends of the A strip on the pattern and add 5mm on each side. Then we draw the line from point B to point D and E exactly as shown in the figure below.
4. We make an incision. For this purpose, we determine half the distance between points B and C. – we move this point to the left by a centimeter and we already have the designated point F. We draw the dash from F to C..
5. Next, we draw a line G-H 5-7 cm. Please note, that the segment GH is to be perpendicular to FC.
6. Now the points J and K should be determined. We add 1cm to point J, to point C – 2cm i do punktu K 2cm. Details are shown in the figure.
7. Finally, sew the sole to the instep in several places (8) and we can start stapling. Of course, before we start sewing, we must possibly make bead decorations. After sewing it, it will not be possible anymore.
8. We start stitching from the back of the moccasin. If we have a really thick sole, we may be tempted to make the seam shown in fig. 8. Most often, however, our soles (usually made from old leather bags) they are too weak and brittle to sew this seam. The most popular seam remains “on the swivel”, which is performed on the left side of the moccasin, and after sewing it, turn it inside out. After the sole is sewn together, the ends of the instep should meet at the back of the loafer. Trim any excess leather and sew the ends up.
9. The last thing we have to do is sew on the tongue. 2 the variants are shown in Fig. 6.