Long hunter leggings questions

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Barry Stewart, Aug 16, 2017.

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  1. Aug 16, 2017 #1

    Barry Stewart

    Barry Stewart

    Barry Stewart

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    I will try to keep this two part question as brief as I can. I recently moved to Georgia from California and would like to start heading in the direction of a long hunter outfit. All of my clothing and gear is western fur trade related. I would like to make a pair of eastern long hunter brain tan leggings. I think I have the basic concept down and will go with a side seam just wondering if a welt was normally used?

    Secondly what are your opinions on wearing such leggings as part of a western fur trade outfit. It would be great if they could serve double duty as I definitely plan on making trips back west when I can. It seems to me that this might work going from long hunter to western mountaineer but not the other way around. Please understand that I am not asking about all of the other equipage and accoutremonts in this regard, just the leggings.

    My current fur trade pants are commercial tanned pantaloon style, not thrilled with the commercial tan but didn't know any better when I made them about 15 years ago. I would definitely like to get it more "right" this time around. Thanks in advance for any feedback and opinions! Finnbarr.
     
  2. Aug 16, 2017 #2

    Black Hand

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    No welt.

    Eastern style leggings are describe as extending a hand-span above the knee, though whether this is the hand-span across the palm or the hand-span from thumb to little finger with the fingers extended is unclear.

    Eastern leggings appeared to use wool broadcloth more frequently than Braintan, but this isn't firm.

    Western leggings appear to extend further up the thigh and some have fringe (Generally - avoid fringe for Eastern-style leggings).

    That said, I'm certain there are regional & personal variations that cover the field. Make a pair of leggings that are sewn at the edge without fringe and use them for both eras. Most people couldn't tell the difference anyways.

    My suggestion is to find as many images of extant pieces and compare. Then make a choice...
     
  3. Aug 16, 2017 #3

    tenngun

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    You may think gaiters instead of leggings also, popular before the AWI and still seen up to the Mt man period. There is a painting of a Delaware Mt man in eastern style leggings.
     
  4. Aug 16, 2017 #4

    Loyalist Dave

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    I confess that I've never had braintan for leggings, but I've had painted canvas full gaiters, and I've had wool broadcloth leggings, and the wool does a pretty good job of turning prickers when moving through a meadow.

    I wonder if you don't have thorns, and if you didn't have them deep in the old growth forest back then, how long would you have been out away from any traders and without access to wool blankets or broadcloth, before you had to resort to sacrificing a couple of skins (which is money and the reason you are out there hunting to begin with) to the making of leggings. ??

    Unless you are actually doing a longhunter having gone on a long hunt via VA..., I wonder if leather leggings would have been common? If you are a hunter, with a small homestead and a few acres of corn to cement your land claim, but are close enough to get salt, wool cloth, powder, ball, flints, and some spirits, from time to time, would you make leather leggings?



    LD
     
  5. Aug 16, 2017 #5

    tenngun

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    Going along with that the drawings and paintings from eighteenth century almost always show Indians in cloth leggings. Cloth replaced skin clothing as soon as it became readily available.
     
  6. Aug 16, 2017 #6

    Loyalist Dave

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    Hey that's a good point... hadn't thought of that.

    :wink: :thumbsup:

    LD
     
  7. Aug 16, 2017 #7

    Black Hand

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    The Natives quickly adopted cloth - it was easier to work than skins (skins were in good supply and those silly white men were willing to give cloth in exchange for raw skins/pelts) and came in pretty colors (especially Red and Blue). Wool was also superior to leather for the reasons wool is still worn today - tough, wind-resistant, sheds water and is warm even when wet.
     
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  8. Aug 16, 2017 #8

    dgracia

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    I would reccomend that you make your eastern leggings "Indian-style". That means there is a wedge of material that comes up high on the outside of the thigh and is tied to your belt with a leather thong. sort of like this:

    ======= (belt)
    | thong
    / \ angled leather side
    | |
    | | this is looking at it from the outside side of the leg

    Well that attempt at illustration didn't work very well! And it slopes down to the inside of the thigh at a constant angle finishing about 4" to 6" above the knee. It can easily be worn with breeches or with just a breechclout if you like and you never have to worry about them sliding down your legs.

    I actually use the leggings that come up about 4" above the knee and I tie them on with leather thongs by wrapping them around twice and tying them in front in a little ridge right under the bottom edge of my kneecap. If I tie them any lower or higher than that, they don't really hold them up.

    If/when I make another pair, I will make them the Indian-style.

    Twisted_1in66 :thumbsup:
    Dan
     
  9. Aug 17, 2017 #9

    Barry Stewart

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    Thanks gentlemen, I appreciate your responses and great advice! I actually have some nice dark blue broadcloth that I got for a capote project that would probably work well but I am set on the brain tan for now. Maybe I"ll make a wool pair next. I am looking forward to making the leggings and will post the result if I ever get around to switching to a new photo hosting site due to the photo bucket controversy. Thanks again and if the discussion continues I am all ears. Finnbarr
     
  10. Aug 17, 2017 #10

    Black Hand

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  11. Aug 17, 2017 #11

    Brokennock

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    What timing, I got on the forum just know intending to ask some questions about eastern style leggings that would have been worn by folks on the frontier, or scouting, hunting, ranging, between 1756 or so and roughly 1780. Such as what materials, colors, and construction would have been used?

    Thanks for getting the discussion started.
     
  12. Aug 17, 2017 #12

    Black Hand

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    Make them side-seam and keep the flap narrow. Mine are a tapered tube with a leather strap that ties to my belt and garters worn below the knee to keep them in place.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Aug 17, 2017 #13

    tenngun

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    From what we see in paintings they tended to be tight, a few inches above the knee and stop at the ankle. Red on one leg blue on the other was seen. Garters were common. Some may have had seam in the front, but that's a controversy and we know for sure side seams were used. Decorative tabs on the top seem later, and exposing an edge decorated with ribbon may also have been a late addition. A blue woolen pair are known in Canada with moose hair embordery. It's matched with a coat and was probably white or Metse
     
  14. Aug 17, 2017 #14

    Artificer

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    Have to go along with twisted_1in66 and Black Hand for Eastern style leggings.

    Here is something to consider, especially if you are not used to the heat and humidity of Georgia.

    When it is very hot, you could go with breechclout and leggings OR go with very simple and rather light weight period Linen "full length" trousers.

    When it gets a bit cooler, wear the leggings over the trousers. There is historic precedence that Spence came up with for doing this or wearing the leggings under trousers, as well.

    Gus
     
  15. Aug 17, 2017 #15

    Black Hand

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    I usually wear leggings over my knee breeches and the adjustment for temperature comes with shirts/jackets/coats/moccasins - in the image above is seen what I usually wear regardless of season. In winter, I wear wool leggings over my leather leggings since the wool is a little looser weave and doesn't cut the wind as well as I'd like.
     
  16. Aug 17, 2017 #16

    Barry Stewart

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    Thats funny Brokennock, glad to be of assistance. Thanks everyone for all of the responses and info, much appreciated. I am definitely not used to the humidity here in Georgia but seem to be adjusting reasonably well. I can definitely see the advantages of a breach cloth but will probably go with the knee breeches under the leggings as Black Hand suggests.
     
  17. Aug 17, 2017 #17

    Black Hand

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    I wore leggings and a clout for years after I started and switched to knee breeches for the extra coverage and greater comfort. Extra protection would only be an advantage in an insect-filled place such as Georgia - No sense exposing your tender bits to biting & blood-sucking creatures and sharp plants...
     
  18. Aug 17, 2017 #18

    Artificer

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    HUGE Skeeters got me REAL bad the first time I wore a Philabeg (Short Scottish kilt) "authentically" at Colonial Williamsburg here in Virginia and I did not have bug juice on. Had to rectify that very fast. :shocked2: :haha:

    Georgia Governor Oglethorpe's Scottish Immigrants wore Kilts in the 1730's/40's. I have no idea how they did it before bug juice was invented. I've heard pine oil may have been used for that, but have no experience with it for that reason.

    I mentioned trousers both for the skeeters and the heat/humidity in Georgia. Being a loose fit, they may be more comfortable. They were absolutely authentic for farmers and frontiersmen of the period, in part because they were also easier to make than fitted breeches.

    For many years at Colonial Williamsburg, none of their people ever wore trousers, but now with better documentation, they are common for labourers and tradesmen. https://www.history.org/history/clothing/men/mglossary.cfm#breeches

    Just wanted to give you another option that is period correct.

    Gus
     
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  19. Aug 18, 2017 #19

    Brokennock

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    I see several references to trousers/pants being more common on the frontier than previously being given credit for. My leggings design struggle has been to find a way to make a pair that will be able to be put on over pants. Maybe even over tan or black colored jeans, or wool pants, to hide them while I slowly build a wardrobe. All the examples I've seen look too tight to pull on over said pants, and I'd want them tightly wrapped as my purpose is three fold, to cover the pants/look somewhat correct, protect myself from brush and thorns, and make it easier to move through brush areas by having less loose material about my lower legs.

    Any ideas?
     
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  20. Aug 18, 2017 #20

    Black Hand

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    Knee breeches would be my first suggestion
    Looser leggings or buttoned gaiters...
     

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