I’ve always been known for treating my family to handmade cards and gifts for birthdays and various holidays. As early as middle school, I was on such a roll with the card making that I had taken to signing the back of each card with “Katie Kards Ink.,” my first company name. This year for Christmas, in the lull between wedding seasons and after the success of my first pair of handmade moccasins, I decided to create a pair of mocs for each of the women in my family. Making seven pairs at once turned out to be a much larger endeavor than I had initially imagined and I was working like a little elf to finish them up right up until Christmas Eve. Needless to say, the holiday moccasins were a big hit and now all the ladies in my family are sure to stay cozy in these chic little slippers through the winter months ahead.
Here are a few tips I learned along the way, as an addendum to my first DIY Moccasin post. The major takeaway is that you may want to consider adjusting your tools in order to help ease the process of making multiple pairs at once.
Hole punching. Each pair of moccasins requires approximately 300 holes punched. Instead of using a rotary hole punch tool, which would quickly result in a case of Carpal tunnel, try using a tube style punch set with a poly mallet on a poly cutting board. This technique will save your hands and protect your tools, while ensuring clean crisp holes every time.
Stitching. In addition to using a large blunt needle to help stitch with the waxed thread, when it’s time to lace up with leather laces, try using a Perma Lok Needle. This threaded tube holds tight to the tip of the lace and definitely facilitates the sometimes-tricky job of sliding a leather lace through a small leather hole.
Gluing.This traditional handmade moccasin pattern technically does not require any glue for assembly, but in order to add my preferred style of footbed and tassel decoration, I ended up using quite a bit of contact cement. Whenever using toxic adhesives in this kind of quantity, make sure to work in a room that is well ventilated and wear a respirator mask with organic compound filters.
Sizing. Two of the seven pairs were made in deerskin leather (tan and yellow), rather than cow suede or full grain leather. This made for larger-than-normal fitting moccasins due to the deerskin being so thin and stretchable. Also, you’ll notice this style of knotted tassel detail at the lace ends does not allow for any adjustability. Coupled with the fact that the moccasin pattern is only offered in combined whole sizes (4+5, 6+7, 8+9, etc.), expectations for a perfect fit should be relaxed. Remember that with any hand made gift, it’s more about the thought that counts!