Long hunter leggings questions

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

tenngun

Cannon
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
11,990
Reaction score
2,251
Location
Republic mo
Trousers are hc for the time, and narrow fall gives a big time frame. Half gaiters conning up to the bottom of the knee was common. Linen or hemp can be a might pricey but a pair in cotton would serve you better then trying to cover up any modern trouser.
 

SgtErv

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
1,338
Reaction score
8
A couple guys in my unit wear wool side seam leggings over trousers, as trousers appear really often in documentation. (We're Augusta County Militia, 1770s western Virginia portrayal).

The big problem with trousers and leggings is getting the leggings on. The guys have studied period images and found that the leggings are sometimes tied near the ankles, too. This means you can leave a little bit unsewn on the bottom portion so you can get them on and off. The main thing is to fit them in whatever you'll wear under them, be it stockings, bare leg, etc

Good luck! If you get them too loose at first, you can always tighten them. Ive had to do it with my deerskin leggings a couple times in the course of a year.
 

Black Hand

Cannon
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
9,349
Reaction score
783
SgtErv said:
If you get them too loose at first, you can always tighten them. Ive had to do it with my deerskin leggings a couple times in the course of a year.
Many people forget to pre-stretch the leather before making items. Wet the leather, stretch it on a frame/plywood/other and allow to dry. This should take much of the slop that might develop as the item stretches in use.
 

Loyalist Dave

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
8,990
Reaction score
1,658
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
That's a good suggestion, and you can also soak the leather, then put them on and they will stretch where your body will stretch them when wearing them..., and then you'll know where to adjust them to tighten them up.

IF you're going to wear them over something more modern, you might look into tightening up the fit of the trousers on the legs first.

OR you might want to look at full gaiters.

LD
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,672
Reaction score
1,015
Loyalist Dave said:
IF you're going to wear them over something more modern, you might look into tightening up the fit of the trousers on the legs first.

LD
A way to do this and not "ruin" a pair of modern trousers, would be just use safety pins to gather the modern trouser material from the bend of the knee downward.

Gus
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,672
Reaction score
1,015
tenngun said:
From what we see in paintings they tended to be tight, a few inches above the knee and stop at the ankle.
Please understand this is not a criticism of you, but it brings up some good points on leggings.

I believe we get an unrealistic idea on how tight some of the leggings fitted when looking at some of the period portraits, paintings and drawings. There is no way that they could get the leggings on past the foot, if they were as “skin tight” as often shown, unless they were not sewn at the bottoms and ties/knots were used to hold the bottoms together after they were put on.

Further, I’m pretty sure they did not often have to worry about going over gravel or as many small stones like we do today, at event sights. The reason I mention this is because it is a VERY good idea to make the leggings so the bottoms of the leggings go over the front, sides and back of your open top moccasins or even short period shoes, so you don’t easily get gravel or small stones down in your footwear. I thought about that before I made my first pair of buckskin trousers and WOW was I glad thought about that before I cut the leather at the bottom of the legs! I actually originally got the idea back in the mid 70’s from the sort of leg bottom “gaiter ends” of 18th century military overalls. Better to leave excess leather down there to go over the top of your footwear and cut it to shape to clear the ground as needed.

Gus

P.S. Here is a link that shows the bottoms of the leggings going well over the open tops of the moccasins. http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/2013/12/woodland-indian-leggings-by-sheryl.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Barry Stewart

36 Cal.
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Messages
101
Reaction score
31
Thanks for that link Artificer. I think I will order the book "Indian Clothing of the Great Lakes." I always find it amazing how I think I have done a thorough search on a given topic and then something new pops up. That is one of the great things about this forum. Thanks again. Finnbarr
 

tenngun

Cannon
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
11,990
Reaction score
2,251
Location
Republic mo
Paintings and drawings of the time were posed, so your points are valid. One thing I would add is that an economic aspect. Unlike nomadic tribes the eastern tribes had permanent homes, and once you move into a house you start to get stuff. Several outfits and dress cloathing becomes an option that was limited to nomadic tribes.
We also see men's dress trousers worn in paintings that look too tight to be practical in active usage, and working men in looser clothing.
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,672
Reaction score
1,015
Finnbar,

You are most welcome.

Tenngun,

Good point about the additional "outfits" that the Eastern NA's wore. One site I visited talked about this in that when on the warpath, they would have left the fancier stuff back home and "dressed down" to bare essentials.

Gus
 

Spence10

Cannon
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
7,473
Reaction score
512
Location
Kentucky
Artificer said:
I believe we get an unrealistic idea on how tight some of the leggings fitted when looking at some of the period portraits, paintings and drawings. There is no way that they could get the leggings on past the foot, if they were as “skin tight” as often shown, ....
Well, they didn't absolutely have to go past the foot. :haha:

Isaac Weld, Travels Through the States of North America, 1799

"Above the moccasin all the Indians wear what are called leggings, which reach from the instep to the middle of the thigh. They are commonly made of blue or scarlet cloth, and are formed so as to sit close to the limbs, like the modern pantaloons; but the edges of the cloth annexed to the seam, instead of being turned in, are left on the outside, and are ornamented with beads, ribands [sic], &C., when the leggings are intended for dress. Many of the young warriors are so desirous that their leggings should fit them neatly, that they make the squaws, who are the tailors, and really very good ones, sow [sic] them tight on their limbs, so that they cannot be taken off, and they continue to wear them constantly till they are reduced to rags."

Spence
 

Spence10

Cannon
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
7,473
Reaction score
512
Location
Kentucky
Artificer said:
The reason I mention this is because it is a VERY good idea to make the leggings so the bottoms of the leggings go over the front, sides and back of your open top moccasins or even short period shoes, so you don’t easily get gravel or small stones down in your footwear.
I do this, but the way I bust weeds and trash that's not enough to guarantee nothing gets in my mocs.



What works for me is to fold the flaps of the mocs up and bind them with a thong to close them completely. This never fails.



And Doddridge says it's historically correct.

"....a pair of moccasons answered for the feet much better than shoes. These were made of dressed deer skin. They were mostly made of a single piece with a gathering seam along the top of the foot, and another from the bottom of the heel, without gathers as high as the ankle joint or a little higher. Flaps were left on each side to reach some distance up the legs. These were nicely adapted to the ankles, and lower part of the leg by thongs of deer skin, so that no dust, gravel, or snow could get within the moccason."

Spence
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,672
Reaction score
1,015
That is a very interesting quote. I wonder how far back that goes or if the Indians were responding to the tight fitting breeches and later pantaloons of the European settlers from around the 1760's onward?

Anyway, that does explain how some NA's got their leggings skin tight. Thank you.

Gus
 

rich pierce

70 Cal.
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Messages
4,707
Reaction score
399
Location
St. Louis, Mo
Once asked a guy why he wore skinny jeans. "Because I can" he replied. Guess same may apply here for form fitting leggings. After all they don't go much higher than the knee.
 

Loyalist Dave

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
8,990
Reaction score
1,658
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
I believe we get an unrealistic idea on how tight some of the leggings fitted when looking at some of the period portraits,
Gus I think they found that in the famous portrait of the English, Indian agent in full native garb, that his leggings were ceremonial too heavily embellished (which wouldn't survive the brush) for field use AND they had hooks and eyes down at the ankles to open them so he could get them over his feet. :wink:

LD
 

dgracia

54 Cal.
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Messages
1,690
Reaction score
63
Location
Duvall, WA
To get a good fit without a lot of pattern adjustments, I had my wife pin the leather around my legs at the side-seam so they were snug. I made sure to leave a slight bell where they went over my boots or mocs. Then I took them off and sewed them up removing the pins as I went. Finally I trimmed the side-seams (2" or perhaps 2½"? - guess I could pull them out and measure them).

I did each leg separately to make sure they fit correctly, but they ended up being interchangeable anyway.

Twisted_1in66 :thumbsup:
Dan
 

Black Hand

Cannon
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
9,349
Reaction score
783
twisted_1in66 said:
To get a good fit without a lot of pattern adjustments, I had my wife pin the leather around my legs at the side-seam so they were snug.
A stapler works as well...
 

tenngun

Cannon
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
11,990
Reaction score
2,251
Location
Republic mo
If you do put garters on your leggings be careful, its easy to get them too tight with out feeling tight. It can cause a whole host of med problems, the least of which is varicose veins.
 

54ball

62 Cal.
Joined
Aug 23, 2004
Messages
2,745
Reaction score
113
Simple buckskin legging instruction....
Link Creek Leggings

This is not my favorite pattern but you get the concept. The thongs are correct for leather. For wool I would sew. Fake sinew works good with wool.

Really the only change I would do is have the flap cut close to the leg...about 2 inches instead of square....for leather you can cut the short Eastern Fringe down the flap....the tied thongs also act as decoration too.

You need to make enough room where your foot and ankle can slide through when sewing side seam wool leggings. For me it was about a palm width above the ankle. For leather...just leave the bottom thongs loose or tie them...

The wool leggings side flap can be decorated with silk ribbon, trade beads... the leg ties can be simple wool tape so can the belt straps.

Early leggings go about a palm length above the knee....leggings get higher as time progresses with being above mid thigh by 1800.

Center Seam leggings for Natives are post 1790s by the 1830s centerseams were popular with Southern Indians like Creek and Seminole.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Matt PA

40 Cal.
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
148
Reaction score
0
Great topic and timely.....I'm going to make a few pair of wool leggings for here in PA. Does anyone have a "pet" supplier for appropriate wool fabric at a reasonable price?
Colors?..........I read a lot about dark blue or navy blue so I was thinking about that for deer hunting in our late season. Also what about a burgandy color as I have some of that color in an old pair of wool pants I can re-purpose.

I also want to make a pair for spring turkey season and don't want to use the blues or reds or black.
Is a natural color wool like dark olive or the like going totally off the reservation as far as HC color?
 
2
Top