Monday, April 28, 2014


Here is something I have always wanted to do:

A Southern Provincial from the second half of the French and Indian War who has gone native. Indian dress was a great cost-saver for the Crown. The English never had the number of Indian allies the French did.

Since Native alliances were hard to establish and even harder to maintain, it was easier to have Provincials learn woods fighting or simply confuse the enemy by looking like Indians.

To go with the wool leggings, breech clout, and shirt a pair of moccasins is in order. Here is an old moc of mine that has seen better days, so I cut it apart to use as a pattern:

The dirty footprint shows these were too small. The next pair will be slightly longer and wider. To learn how to make mocs use Michael Galban's excellent DVD. Two of the most common Woodland patterns are covered in great detail, from patterns to stitching to material sources.

For a brain tan look without the smell or price, Crazy Crow natural color German tan buckskin #2 works well.

An argument could be made for cowhide mocs made by whites closer to civilization, and Crazy Crow has that as well. Here is the pattern in the center of the hide (the thickest part) ready for marking and cutting:

Galban covers how to measure your foot for mocs in the DVD. Since my old pair had cuffs on it they are included in the pattern, but separate attached cuffs were also common. These will be center seam style and very plain. If you plan on wearing them often, best to make extra pairs for when they get wet or wear out.

Next time, the toe is gathered and the center seam finished.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ken Doll

When I started the silly, silly hobby of living history 15 years ago, I was hugely intimidated. It is expensive. Sewing was not something I had ever even considered. Time to learn new things. In the beginning, patience is crucial. Way too easy to go to Jo-Ann's Fabrics and buy whatever. It's a good way to learn how to sew, but a waste of money. Thank the FSM for mentors and the internet. Even though I remember life before computers, I'm not sure how anyone shared knowledge.

I remember thinking "I'll just make the one outfit." Eventually, the clothes rod in the guestroom closet collapses under the load of historic garments and scares the hell out of the cats. The key is finding the most common clothing for your place, period and gender. Forget what you think looks cool or what others are doing. If you are recreating a 21st-century American male tourist you would need jeans and a t-shirt, not a fez and a bow tie (fezes ARE cool.)

Access to paintings, letters, journals, and periodicals from most time periods is stupidly easy to come by. Research enough and you start to see patterns. Ignore those who cannot prove their assertions without evidence. Take constructive criticism gladly. Share what you find. Eventually, you can mix and match your outfits and need only make a couple things a year. Good luck stopping once you get started.

Courtesy of Wilson Friedman Historically Speaking