Leather knee breeches

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Cannon
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The last photo large photo at the bottom is a very well made pair of breeches They are the wide fall type and wouldn't be that much more difficult to make over the narrow type. The only question I would have with those are the buttons seem to be two piece fabric buttons and I don't if they were around in the 18th century.
Buttons covered with the same material as the item of clothing was VERY common in the 18th century. Though Forum Member Coot is one of, if not the forum expert on this, here's a little info I can provide.

1631405926310.png


"Domed Bone Button Molds
Bone button molds are slightly domed on one side and flat on the other as were common in the mid to late 18th century. Button molds made of bone like this are found abundantly at 18th century cites across the United States, Canada and Europe. Many people feel these were the most common type of button found on civilian clothing throughout the 18th century. Fabric covered buttons may be made of either wood or bone but if the garment will be washed bone may hold up better. It is easiest to make "death head" buttons using wood button molds since the rough texture of the wood help hold the threads in place. Directions for cloth covered buttons are included in The Lady's Guide to Plain Sewing [Book II] and The Packet V. For example in New Jersey in 1780, there was "Stolen from a House - one light coloured watch-coat, buttons covered with the same coloured cloth".

Wm. Booth, Draper - everything for American Revolutionary War reenactors (wmboothdraper.com)

Gus
 

Springerpanhead

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I make buckskin pants for 225.00 and there would be less leather used in a pair of knee-breeches. With the pants, I make the buttons by hand so the pewter ones would be an additional cost.
I haven't given much thought to a lining like the Lenin use in the wool type, the leather might not need that.
I have a complete Singer #3 leather sewing machine. Date of mfg is 1857. It’s for sale. These early machines drove via pitman arm from the treadle to a main timing gear, no belt. It’s in beautiful shape and works.
 

flntlokr

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18thc. Oh yes, most proper. Lots of paintings, runaway ads and documentation. They were very common.

Braintan is most comfortable.
German tan, i.e. codfish oil tan or chamois.....is second best but goid.

When you make them, don't make as you would cloth. There should be no seam in the inner leg. The leather needs to be cut as one piece to wrap around the leg. Same as you have to do with breeches or jodhpur for riding, and for the same reason.

Use small buckles at the bottom leg closure instead of buttons..
I made a pair many years ago. I used the commonly available pattern from EAGLES VIEW PATTERNS. I made a trial pair out of light canvas to get the sizing right, then made a pair out of split cowhide. I hand stitched the leather using artificial sinew, so the seam allowances are different when doing that. I also made a pair of 'leg extenders that button on for when I want long pants.
Bicentennial fur trader.JPG
 

Flintlock Whiskey

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I made a pair many years ago. I used the commonly available pattern from EAGLES VIEW PATTERNS. I made a trial pair out of light canvas to get the sizing right, then made a pair out of split cowhide. I hand stitched the leather using artificial sinew, so the seam allowances are different when doing that. I also made a pair of 'leg extenders that button on for when I want long pants.
View attachment 93828
Did you source the pattern for the extenders or are they custom made?
 

andy52

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I have a complete Singer #3 leather sewing machine. Date of mfg is 1857. It’s for sale. These early machines drove via pitman arm from the treadle to a main timing gear, no belt. It’s in beautiful shape and works.
Thank you, but I already have a singer model 27 and two model 66s that are all hand crank.
 

Coot

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Buttons covered with the same material as the item of clothing was VERY common in the 18th century. Though Forum Member Coot is one of, if not the forum expert on this, here's a little info I can provide.

View attachment 93774

"Domed Bone Button Molds
Bone button molds are slightly domed on one side and flat on the other as were common in the mid to late 18th century. Button molds made of bone like this are found abundantly at 18th century cites across the United States, Canada and Europe. Many people feel these were the most common type of button found on civilian clothing throughout the 18th century. Fabric covered buttons may be made of either wood or bone but if the garment will be washed bone may hold up better. It is easiest to make "death head" buttons using wood button molds since the rough texture of the wood help hold the threads in place. Directions for cloth covered buttons are included in The Lady's Guide to Plain Sewing [Book II] and The Packet V. For example in New Jersey in 1780, there was "Stolen from a House - one light coloured watch-coat, buttons covered with the same coloured cloth".

Wm. Booth, Draper - everything for American Revolutionary War reenactors (wmboothdraper.com)

Gus
Thank you for the kind words but it is Mrs Coot who is the authority on 18th c buttons (but I do listen to her). She confirms that leather breeches are NOT made using the same patterns as for wool or linen. Think of how modern riding britches are made with seams placed to avoid rubbing the riders hide raw. All of the original leather breeches that I can remember seeing at both Colonial Williamsburg and at several museum collections in England, had leather "self" (same material as the garmet, in this case, leather) buttons. On several pairs that we were allowed to actually handle, the button molds were actually lightly domed pewter buttons that had the leather sewn over them but with the pewter shanks protruding just enough for Mrs Coot & I to id them and to provide a much more secure fastening point than just the thread of a "normal" self button. If I were to make a pair of leather breeches, I would use leather self buttons made over a pewter button (readily available from Mrs Coot and others) as the mold.
 

Flintlock Whiskey

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I just made them. Kind of nice when tromping around in long wet grass etc. Keeps the crap out of my boots too.
Gotta make something like that for the desert around me. There is a "spanish" version of leggings, but they tie around the calf too tight for my liking. Buttons are the way to go. I would imagine they would keep ticks and spiders at bay as well. If you have the time and inclination to do so, if you can send a pic of the inside and outside layed out flat with a ruler in the pic, I would be much obliged.
 

oreclan

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I have a complete Singer #3 leather sewing machine. Date of mfg is 1857. It’s for sale. These early machines drove via pitman arm from the treadle to a main timing gear, no belt. It’s in beautiful shape and works.
Leather breeches require a different sewing technique and are not machine sewn. I went to a Jay Howlett seminar and have been stitching them for a long time.
With the exception of the topstitching around the fall, pockets, waistband and knees the stitches only go through one layer of the hide i.e. the stitches do not show on the outside of the garment.. There are no seams on the inside of the legs (Which are reinforced with a leather strip.) On those intended for riding , there is no seam in the crotch as those are made from one large smoked tanned deerhide.
The buttonholes are turned with small pieces of leather , the buttons are tied on with leather thongs, and the breeches can be either buttoned, buckled, or tied with thongs at the knee band.
 

flntlokr

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Gotta make something like that for the desert around me. There is a "spanish" version of leggings, but they tie around the calf too tight for my liking. Buttons are the way to go. I would imagine they would keep ticks and spiders at bay as well. If you have the time and inclination to do so, if you can send a pic of the inside and outside layed out flat with a ruler in the pic, I would be much obliged.
Here's a pic with one in place, the other leg rolled back so you can see the little buttons around the cuff of the britches. Just make them long enough to get as close to the dirt as you need them. I also made a pair of gaiters which do the same job, but can be put on/off any time.
IMG_4843.JPG
 

LRB

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The cut of knee breeches is entirely different then a pair of buckskin pants, first off they are fall front where as most buckskin pants are not. the pattern is more difficult to do because of the folded seams in the fly and knee area. I include a gusset in the pants I make but they are a little different then the breeches type. At no point did I say that a pair of knee breeches are just short cut pants.
Not all breeches are fall front. The French fly was also popular until the 1770's. When weskits became shorter, the fall fronts became more popular. I much prefer the French fly as it is much like button up Levi's, but that is just my choice.
 

andy52

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I totally agree with the french fly and it's by far easier to do.
 
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