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

Step 1: Pattern drafting

Pattern drafting is probably the most difficult part of this tutorial. Sometimes your pattern will require several revisions and you may end up calling it all kinds of obscenities before things work.

Lay your paper out. It needs to be longer than your pattern. Place your shoe sideways on the paper and trace around it. In this instance, I will be showing you how to make gaiters since spats are essentially a shorter pair and can just be cut down from this template.

Once you have your shoe outline, put the shoe aside and grab another coloured marker. This just makes it easier to see the progress. Trace over the line of your shoe. This is going to be the base for our template. Run a line across the sole of the shoe where you'd like your spats to end. See the green line for reference.

Now, grab another marker. Trace a line around the outside of your outline, leaving roughly a 1-2cm margin. This will be our 'allowance' as the end result is a 3-Dimensional piece, not just a 2D pattern. Now, bearing this in mind, we need to do something a little fancy with our pattern around the heel and toe. What we're after is a curved section to fit both ends of the boot, so you're going to have to play with the lines and work out a bit of trial and error here. You need to flare the lines enough so that when you put both halves of the pattern together, you get a curve that is enough to cover the toe and heel.

I'm not a dressmaker by trade, so I don't know if there is a more simple way to go about this. If you're really stuck, I've also provided a .PDF of my spats pieces at the end of this tutorial. The best advice I can give is to have some sticky tape on hand and cut out two identical templates. Sticky tape them together (toe to to, heel to heel) and see how it looks. If your toe is too big, bring the line in closer to the shoe. If it's too small, move it further away.

Once you have that sorted, draw down the middle of your pattern (see the black line) and work out where you want the side seam. I personally prefer curved lines so I can tell what goes where, but you might prefer straight edges. Mark out button holes or where you're going to put lacing.

Now comes the final part of the pattern drafting process. You'll need to trace your own pattern a few times. Once for the main (and whole) inside piece, once for the outside front and once for the outside back. Looking at the diagram, the outside back piece is coloured in blue (you can see where it needs to sit under the outside front) and the outside front piece is coloured in red. Cut them out and enjoy that cup of tea.
<p>I'm planning on making a pair for a steampunk costume and this will be very helpful! </p><p>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&quot; by 12&quot; 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.</p><p>Now I just have to invent a machine to stop time so I can actually get around to making them before Halloween.</p>
<p>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!</p>
Well done. Thank you!
Cool! Very nice! Thanks!

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Bio: I'm a small-time Miss from the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. I love crafts and the colour purple. I have a physical disability that ... More »
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