Native American 'Buck Skin Shirt'




About: I worked in the motion picture & animation industry for over 15 years both here in the UK and USA. I like to think myself as an innovator, problem solver and a multi talented artist. Hopefully my instru...

I always wanted to make one of these a long time ago but coming across the right material has always been the difficult one, namely the the buck skin itself. It is possible to find and buy skin of the right size and condition for this purpose(though with great difficulty) but like most things, the cost has always been out of my reach. So when I came across a box of leather pieces at a local car boot sale for a good price, I grabbed the opportunity and got to work.

I also knew from the start that due to my material limitations, the final piece would never be as good as the authentic creations originating from the Native American tribes but I still wanted to give it a try.

I apologize for the poor quality of pictures in advance as my cell phone is over 5 years old and the image quality I can obtain is very limited to say the least.


  • Leather pieces
  • Pre-colored leather pieces(for the patterns)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Leather Dye
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing needles
  • Awl
  • Leather and hemp cord

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Step 1: Materials

The Leather pieces I had to work with and even my cat is doubting me. :)

Step 2: Designing the Patterns

I looked up many different tribe patterns and decided to borrow some and make up the others and I know the authentic shirts have these patterns done in beads but not only I did not have the spare time, the amount of beads I needed for these was also, beyond my means to afford. But most importantly I wanted to show the versatility of leather as a decorative medium.

When I can get my hands on a real buck skin leather piece one of these days, I will embark on making it look as authentic as possible including patterns made from beads.

Step 3: Trying Before Stiching

Best way to proceed is to try it on.

Step 4: Joining Leather Pieces

Joining the four pieces was going to be a challenge and with no pattern to work from it was doubly challenging.

Step 5: Trying Out Stitched Piece

After several trials and errors, the main shape came into being.

Step 6: Dying Lower Part

Again, based on my research some of the native shirts have the lower half part dyed look so I decided to add that character as well.

Step 7: Experimenting With Leather Feather

I have experimented creating feather pieces from the same leather material I had and the result was interesting.

But of course, I would have much preferred to be able to find a real eagle feathers.

Step 8: Tussles, Beads and Feathers

After gluing the front and back patterns, it was time to add tussles beads and feathers with some fake hair.

I will see if I can get hold of a real horse hair from somewhere! :)

Step 9: The Final Piece

Thanks for watching and hope you like the result.

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII

Leather Contest

Participated in the
Leather Contest

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Thanks James,

    When you do, please don't forget to share yours with us as well.

    Good luck and look forward to seeing yours too.


    3 years ago

    Great work. I plan to make one hopefully soon. Mine will be more like mountain man (long) and i plan to just walnut shell dye solid color.


    3 years ago

    This turned out looking very nice! I like the leather feathers - that reminds me of a project made by Brooklyntonia a bit ago.

    Good stuff, keep it up! :)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you Sam!

    Much appreciate your support and comment.

    I wish I could take a better quality pictures of it as these current images don't to justice to this item. But I will try again.

    I did not see the leather feather project by Brooklyntonia before but yeah she did a great job!


    3 years ago

    Nice. check your spelling on step 6, though...

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you very much!

    I was in a hurry to submit this ible in time for the Leather contest deadline that I did not pay much attention to my spellings.

    Thanks again!