Tyvek & Polyester Needle Felt Moccasins Inserts
Moccasins were originally stored flat to save space. When the National Museum of the American Indian moved collection storage to a new facility in Suitland Maryland, a better solution of passive reshaping was developed.
Susan Heald, Caitlin Mahony, Shelly Uhlir, & Cathleen Zaret (Authors in alphabetical order)
National Museum of the American Indian
Cultural Resources Center
4220 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746
Email contacts: Healds@si.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustrations: Caitlin Mahony
A stitched polyester felt and Tyvek insert which passively reshapes and supports moccasins while in storage and on display.
Materials, Tools & Supplies
- Soft Tyvek® (notice one side is “slick” the other is “rough”)
- Polyester needle punch
- Batting material
- Sewing machine
- Sewing thread
1. Fill out the moccasin interior with a Tyvek® pillow, so it is the shaped as it would be worn. Trace the outline of the moccasin sole: place the moccasin on the Tyvek® with the rough side of the Tyvek® up and in contact with the sole of the moccasin; add ½” length to the back of the heel. Cut out the traced Tyvek® sole. (The seam allowance for all the seams is ¼”) (Fig. Step 1)
2. If PL and PR of the moccasins are approximately same size, use this first traced and cut out sole as the template for the other sole by flipping it over, tracing and cutting a second mirror image sole.
3. Using the traced soles, cut out felt to back each sole cut out. These pieces should be the exact size of the Tyvek® tracings. (Fig. Step 3)
4. Drape a piece of Tyvek® over the entire vamp of the moccasin with rough side towards the moccasin. Trace and cut out two of these (or flip over and trace) (Fig. Step 4/5)
5. A felt piece is needed to back each vamp cut out. These pieces should be a ½” shorter at the throat edge (edge closest to ankle.) (Fig. Step 4/5) Sew Together Sole and Vamp
6. Align and pin the sole (Tyvek® and felt) and vamp (Tyvek® and felt) pieces together. Felt is on the exterior and slick side of both the vamp and sole are facing each other. Pins should be perpendicular to the edge. (Fig. Step 6)
7. Stitch these pieces together from toe center toward each side with a ¼” seam allowance, removing pins as you go. Note: Begin and end stitching with a tacking stitch to secure the seams.
BACK OF MOCCASIN/HEEL:
8. Felt – To create the support for the back portion (sides, or quarters) of the moccasin, measure along the back heel of the moccasin, beginning at one end of the vamp opening and continuing around the heel to the other side of the vamp opening. Then add 2” to this measurement. This is the heel length. (Fig. Step 8)
9. For the height measure the heel from sole to top edge of moccasin. Cut two rectangular pieces of felt to these measurements. (Fig. Step 9)
10. Tyvek® outer layer – Next using the measurements from Step 8/9, Take the heel height and double this measurement. Cut two pieces of soft Tyvek® from these dimensions.
11. Align and pin the back pieces of Tyvek® and felt from Step 8/9 together. Pins should be perpendicular to the edge. Felt is on the exterior, the rough side of the Tyvek® touching the felt, the slick side of the Tyvek® faces the interior. Stitch as in Step 7 (Fig. Step 11).
12. At this point, you can turn the insert inside out so that the seams are on the interior. (Fig. Step 12) Fold the Tyvek® heel flap to the interior of the insert.
13. If a pillow is need for the toe area. Repeat step 4 adding about 4” extra in length for fully encapsulating stuffing. Cut out four pieces.
14. Pin the pairs together with the slick sides facing each other.
16. Turn inside out and stuff with batting material as needed. Tuck extra length inward to prevent batting from coming out.