Picture of Make yourself a pair of simple spats or gaiters
This is a fairly comprehensive tutorial on how to make your own pair of spats or gaiters, complete with pattern drafting. This is made with people of a low to moderate skill range in mind and uses inexpensive materials found around the house. Please be aware that this is a graphic-intensive tutorial.

Anyone involved in either the Victorian or the Steampunk movements can tell you that sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference to a costume. Aside from being highly practical, a pair of spats also adds an element of authenticity to any outfit from this era and the variety of ways in which you can make and accessories them leaves you with an infinite number of ways to accent your outfit.

For those of you that aren't aware of just how fantastic these accessories are, here's a quick rundown.

Spats, short for spatterdashers, are short footwear covers, usually about the ankles and feet. As their name suggests, if you're a fancy Sir or Miss, the last thing you want is to get gods-know-what kind of common muck on your expensive boots while out taking some air. For a more thorough history, check out the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spats_%28footwear%29

Gaiters are similar to spats in that they are also designed to protect the wearer from all sorts of muck, but gaiters traditionally extended the length of spats to under the knee so they could effectively keep both the boots and the pants clean. Who's pants smell like an emptied chamberpot? Not yours, sir. You're a clever gaiter-wearing chap. Again, you can find some more information on wikipedia about these awesome accessories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaiters

So, without any further ado, I present to you this jolly good tutorial.

You will need:
  • Scrap paper (either A3 or A4 stuck together) for pattern drafting
  • Pens and pencils
  • A pair of scissors
  • A good cup of tea
  • A craft knife (or leather cutting tools if you have them)
  • A hole punch
  • Sticky tape
  • Lacing or buttons to secure. leather thonging is fantastic, but ribbon or shoelaces will work just as well.
  • Whatever shoes your spats or gaiters are going over.
Leather or lino. Unfortunately leather is an expensive material, however I do find it a pleasure to work and it produces some fantastic results. There are several suppliers that you can contact for decent prices at the end of this tutorial.
  • For spats, you will need a piece of leather measuring roughly 15x17in (36x48cm)
  • For gaiters, you will need a piece of leather measuring roughly 25x20in (50x65cm)
Of course if you're like me, you may have off cuts of leather about the place. If you can save waste and squeeze pattern pieces out of what you have left, even better.
15 in / 36cm
ccronkhite10 months ago

I'm planning on making a pair for a steampunk costume and this will be very helpful!

I found out this last week how expensive leather is. I spent $18 on Ebay buying what turned out to be not quite enough leather(three 10" by 12" squares) :/ But this morning I was driving through my neighborhood and someone was throwing out a large brown leather chair! I stripped off as much as I could before the garbage truck came through so now I have several large peices! Free! Picking is winning.

Now I just have to invent a machine to stop time so I can actually get around to making them before Halloween.

partemis (author)  ccronkhite10 months ago

Oh nice! Yes, being thrifty is the name of the game with these sorts of crafts :) I'd LOVE to see a picture of your spats when you're done!

BlackSheep12 years ago
Well done. Thank you!
Gregbot2 years ago
Cool! Very nice! Thanks!