Recreating A Two Hide Pre Contact Ojibwe/Cree Strap Dress

Two Hide Strap Dress
On Display
Dress Body
I am so excited to be finally recreating the Ojibwe/Cree Strap Dress I examined at the Chicago Field History Museum.

This dress has never been seen in any pictures in full color, so for the first time any where, feast your eyes on the beautiful Vermillion Red painted Dress, Sleeves, Hood and Leggings!

The painting was done by using just the fingers as a brush, so you can actually see the fingerprints of the creator in the paint.


Leggings
 Words cannot describe how grateful I am to The Staff at the Museum for giving me full access to this garment, I was able to measure and photograph every detail to be able to bring you this step by step recreation that will take place over the next couple of months.

I also made a video about documenting the details of construction and will be releasing that at a later date.

This dress was collected in Canada in the 1890's and has been cataloged as being both Ojibway and Cree.

It has elements of both cultures so I don't think we will ever really know its exact history, but with my examination, we can recreate this wonderful pre contact garment!

I will be fist recreating this garment in Vegetable Tan Elk Hide and then in Brain Tan, once I work out the kinks in the pattern.

Sleeves
Labeling this as a Strap Dress also takes some liberties with the term, since it is actually tied on one side with thongs and laced on the other shoulder.

This does not make it a true Strap Dress per se as the sides are cut out for the arms at the side seams, where most Modern Strap Dresses are suspended low enough on the breast to not make the armpit cuts necessary.

Hood
There are some mystery adjustments to this garment also that gives one pause to think, originally both sides were laced at the shoulder, this was modified by replacing one laced side with thong straps soon after creation, as the leather for the thongs is sewn into the welted seams and matches the original leather perfectly.

Another mystery is the placement of two tails at the breast line, (one on the front and one on the back), normally one would place one tail on the front at the right shoulder to pay homage to the original one hide wrap around dress that predicated this garment.

Stay tuned as I show more photographs and show step by step how this wonderful garment was created!



Could I be any happier?



6 comments:

  1. That "hood" does not look like a hood for a head but like a lot of extant cradleboard/dikinaagan "hoods."

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  2. The hood is actually styled like the hoods (chapeaus) worn by the Mi'kmaq as well as the Abenaki.

    Here are some links: http://risdmuseum.org/art_design/objects/669_womans_hood

    http://www.bethelhistorical.org/Molly_Ockett_and_Her_World.html

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    Replies
    1. This is a late 19th style dress correct? As Isaac stated I also believe the hood is not a hood but a bundling sac for a child that is strapped into a cradle broad - hence the lacing holes and the rounded bottom. The child is placed in the bag, then laced up - much like swaddling. The bottom of the bag is closed and the top of the bag is open.

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  5. I've been working on this same dress. It is lovely seeing the color photos. Thank you.

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