Authentically Handcrafted Buckskin Clothing & Wampum Weaving
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Frequently Asked Questions

About Buckskins In General

  1. Do you want my exact sizes, or should I add to measurements for the looseness of buckskin clothing?
  2. Is there any difference in the way your mountain man and woodlands buckskin clothing are sewn?
  3. Is there any difference in the way your commercial tanned and Indian tanned buckskin clothing is made?
  4. Is your clothing made from elk or deer?
  5. Do I have to order exactly what you have?  For example, can I order something with more or less fringing?
  6. Can I waterproof my buckskins?
  7. Can you add belt loops?
  8. Can you add suspender buttons?
  9. What kind of belt should I use for leggings or breechclout?

1.  Do you want my exact sizes, or should I add to measurements for the looseness of buckskin clothing?
We need the exact measurements. Let the tape comfortably rest on the body area you are measuring. Don't let it lay loose, but don't pull it tight either. Through the years we've developed "starting" patterns for our clothing that include allowances for the needed loose fit. Then we make adjustments for your specific sleeve or leg lengths, neck sizes, dress lengths, and so on.

2.  Is there any difference in the way your mountain man and woodlands buckskin clothing are sewn?
No. Though styles changed from region to region, the basic technique of sewing was pretty consistent across the continent. All our sewing is done with authentic, smaller stitches that only better crafts people today are willing to take the time to do.     [Top of Page]

3.  Is there any difference in the way your commercial tanned and Indian tanned buckskin clothing is made?
There are two differences. First we pre-stretch commercial tanned buckskin to eliminate most of the "bag 'n' sag" you typically get with buckskin clothing today. Indian tanned buckskin is already stretched during tanning.

Secondly, we use slightly longer stitches on commercial tanned garments. Our clients that buy commercial tanned buckskin clothing want, or need, to save money, but still want their clothing to be authentic. We have seen a few originals with slightly longer than "typical" stitches. We use these slightly longer stitches on commercial tanned buckskin clothing and accessories to save time (& price) in making an item while still maintaining authenticity to original pieces. These stitches, though longer than those on our Indian tanned buckskin items, are still much shorter than used by most buckskin clothiers today.    [Top of Page]

4.  Is your clothing made from elk or deer?
That depends mostly on the size of the person. We have many clients too big to get the proper sized pieces out of even the largest deer, and have had to use elk. Occasionally, if we're out of deer and the tanneries don't have their next batches of deer ready, we've had to use elk to get the order to the client in a reasonable time period. We prefer to use deer, because we have less waste with them.

We typically use medium to large deer or small to medium elk. Medium deer are equivalent to small elk in weight, and large deer are equal to medium elk. As much as possible we try to exclude belly hide when cutting garment pieces. The center and rump hide is about average weight, the neck area very heavy (moc soles), and the belly area is thinner. Often that belly hide is already lost at the tannery.     [Top of Page]

5.  Do I have to order exactly what you have?  For example, can I order something with less fringing?
It's your order and your money.  We can change it to what you want, and adjust the price accordingly.  Obviously, if you want less fringing the price will be adjusted down.

6.  Can I waterproof my buckskins?
Waterproofing any leather not only keeps out water, but also holds in your perspiration and body heat. It would not only cause the garment to be very uncomfortable even in cool weather, but would foster a rapid growth of bacteria that would cause the buckskin to decay more quickly.     [Top of Page]

7.  Can you add belt loops?
Sure, but it would be a little extra.  If you request loops we make them with a hand sewn, doubled layer of buckskin, instead of just a single thin stip of buckskin like some.  We make them large enough to use a standard wide "rendezvous" leather belt.  It takes 4 loops on each pair of pants.  Just make a note on your Order Form that you want belt loops, and add $10.00 to the item's price.    [Top of Page]

8.  Can you add suspender buttons?
Again, you betchum.  We've found there are two basic styles of suspenders used by rendezvousers.  Both seem to have the front 2 buttons spaced half way between the side seam and the front fly.  The 2 back buttons are placed a bit differently, though.  One style has each button evenly spaced between the side seam and the back seam.  The other has back buttons spaced fairly close - only about 3" to 4" apart.  You'll have to let us know which style you have.  Make a note about them on your order form, and add $6.00 to the item's price.     [Top of Page]

9.  What kind of belt should I use for leggings or breechclout?
Whatever is comfortable and "looks" period correct in material used.  Some men braid strips of buckskin, knotting off at both ends to the length needed.  It should be long enough to go around your waist plus enough to tie the ends together, leaving the knot under the 'clout.  I tried one like that, and don't recommend it.  Eventually it acts like a rope cutting into your hips.

I prefer a wider belt (about 1 1/2"), made as follows:

  1. Cut a strip of rawhide, or even calf-weight tooling leather, about 2" shorter than your waist measurement.
  2. Braid buckskin strips about 18" long, and knot both ends.  Note: it will probably take strips about 28" long to get the 18" needed.
  3. Punch 1/4" holes in the rawhide (or leather), one in each end about 3/4" in from the end.
  4. Cut the buckskin braid in half, and work the cut end of each half through one of the holes in the end of the belt blank.  Do this from what will be the outside of your belt, so the knots don't rub on your skin when you wear the belt.
  5. After you have the braids through the holes, pull them up to your original knots.  Now knot those cut ends of the braids.  Be sure the knots are large enough that they won't pull through the holes under pressure.  I had that happen to me once, and gave two charming ladies an unscheduled floor show!
  6. Now rub the belt, except the last 1 1/2" at each end, with a good conditioner like neatsfoot oil.  Do this repeatedly until the belt is fairly pliable, and soft enough not to cut into your skin.     [Top of Page]

Copyright Jan 1999, 2015, Gary A. Reneker. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, programming, and coding are protected by U.S. and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission from Gary A. Reneker.