It is raining today, so looking through some of my books, I found something I would like to share with you. Shoes? What did our acadian ancestors wear? What did they wear in the summer and in the winter? Well I read different articles. I learned that many of our ancestors were barefoot in the summer, some wore mocassins in the summer and in the winter they wore a higher boot type mocassin. I also read that the early Acadians used to wear their moccasins, in the summer and for dress up, and when they worked fixing their dykes, and on their boats they wore wooden shoes, (des sabots), These wooden shoes were made from the willow tree. Here is an exert from History and Acadian Traditions by Anselme Chiasson.
To prepare cut and sew shoes from hide was an art.The animal hide was stretched out on the floor,hair underneath,this was stretched as much as they could and nailed all around to dry out.Once dried the skin was scraped on both sides with a knife to remove the fat and hair. Then the hide was tanned by hand.In order to cut a shoe one had to place the foot on a piece of skin, the skin was then cut all around,2 inches from the foot,just enough so that the raised piece would make the height of the shoe. On the toe and the front of the foot a tongue was placed which was sewed all around the skin,while pleating it, it made a nice foot like the mocassins of today.The heel required a vertical seam and another horizontal seam. These hide shoes were comfortable indoors and outdoors.In the winter they made their mocassins a lot higher.They never used laces, but a pleat was made behind the calf and attached to the top with a string. Can you imagine the work in this, especially if you had a big family.
Have a great day