Simple Indigenous Moccasin Making for Young Learners


All American Indian moccasins were originally made of soft leather– usually deerskin– stitched together with sinew. Though the basic construction of Native American moccasins was similar throughout North America, moccasin patterns were subtly different in nearly every tribe, and Indian people could often tell each other’s tribal affiliation simply from the design of their shoes. Tribal differences included not only the cut of the moccasins designs among different tribes, but also the extensive beadwork, quillwork, painted designs, and fringes many Indian people lavished on their moccasins. In some tribes hardened rawhide was used for the sole for added durability, and in others rabbit fur (or, later, sheep skin) was used to line the leather moccasins for added warmth. Both men and women wore moccasins, although in many tribes the decoration of male and female moccasins used a different pattern. Plains Indian women also wore moccasin boots sometimes, which were basically just womens’ thigh-length leggings sewn to their moccasins for a one-piece look (this style of boot is very beautiful when fully quilled). Heavier-duty boots called mukluks were the invention of the Inuit (Eskimos), who made them of sealskin, fur, and reindeer hide; some subarctic Indian tribes adapted the mukluk style of boots through trade or other contact with the Inuit, using caribou or buckskin instead of sealskin. Today, women adapted the design of the mukluks as part of their traditional wears.

Assembly Instructions


    1. Lay your sole down lining side down and place vamp on top.

      With one of the laces, thread the lace through the eye of the needle, pull lace out to about 3 inches of the one end.

      Starting on the right side, align the vamp and sole with the first hole in the corner of the vamp and the first vamp hole on the sole and thread the lace through. Leave 3 inches of lace to secure a knot. Continue threading lace through the remaining holes of the vamp and sole until you reach the last hole on the other side of the vamp. Tie a knot and flip your moccasin outside in so the lining is now on the inside.
    2. Thread the second lace through the eye of the needle, pull lace out to about 3 inches of the one end. Notice the heel end of the moccasin has a middle flap with three holes and two outer flaps that have four holes. Bend the middle flap up and align both side flaps with the middle flap, ensuring the holes are aligned. Starting at the top, lace through the top hole and pull the lace through leaving 3 inches at the end of the lace, this will secure the two outer flaps. Now continue lacing down to the bottom of the heel ensuring the three flaps are being fastened together with the lace. Tie a double knot with both ends of the lace.
    3. Align the rim and moccasin together by lining up the holes on the rim with the rim holes on the moccasin. There are 8 large rim holes around the rim of the moccasin and 4 large rim holes on the vamp of the moccasin.

      Thread the third lace through the eye of the needle, pull lace out to 5 inches of the one end. Thread lace through the middle right rim hole of the vamp in the front on the moccasin, pushing the needle from underneath the vamp to the top of the vamp. Pull through so there is 4 inches of lace hanging out of the top of the vamp. Remove needle from the lace and thread needle with the opposite end of the lace. Thread lace through the next hole to the right on the vamp and pull through.

      Next, bend over the rim piece and align the holes on the rim with the 8 rim holes on the moccasin. The rim has 8 holes on the top and 8 holes on the bottom. Starting at the first hole, align the bottom rim hole with the moccasin rim hole and the top rim hole. Thread the lace through all three holes going from the outside-in. Pull through and continue around the rim. After the rim is fastened to the moccasin, thread the lace through the left rim hole on the vamp, going from the top of the vamp towards the inside of the vamp. Next, thread the lace through the last hole and trim the lace to 4 inches and tie the laces in a bow.



Curriculum Outcome

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