June 01, 2020
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How to make a moccasin

Lori Valigra | BDN
Lori Valigra | BDN
Quoddy hand sewer Steve Fowler pulls tight the thread joining the top and bottom of a moccasin. His fingers are taped to avoid getting cut.

No moccasin pattern is exactly the same, said Kirsten Shorey, co-owner of Quoddy, a Lewiston maker of shoes based on moccasin construction.

She said the basic steps of Quoddy’s manufacturing are as follows:

First the leather is inspected for quality and consistency, color and strength.

Then the cutter determines a plan for cutting each hide, as certain textures are best used for different parts of the pattern.

Next the leather pieces are thinned, beveled (skived) or both, lined, the pattern assembled and hardware such as eyelets or rivets added.

The shoe is then “mostly” stitched together with a variety of sewing machines that produce different types of seams.

The parts are tacked onto a last form so the shoe can be handsewn.

The hand sewer completes the closing of the shoe using a curved awl with two needles and thread, locking each stitch around the toe, heel or both, and reinforcing the ends to secure the seam.

The handsewn shoe is soled, then heated on the last to bring out the oil and dyes in the leather surface and to set the shape.

When shoes move through finishing, they are inspected for quality, any loose thread ends are burned off, laces and insoles are added, the leather is polished and the toes are stuffed with tissue.

Finally, they are placed in a muslin shoe bag and moved to shipping.


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