Sewing a quick-and-dirty pair of overboots for my Polarguard camp booties.
Back in the 1990’s when I took my first winter camping trips I bought a pair of Sierra Designs camp booties insulated with Polarguard synthetic insulation. The booties kept my feet warm in camp after a long day of skiing in leather backcountry boots, but they were too short to keep out snow if I stepped off the packed area in camp and into deeper snow. At the time, Outdoor Research sold some winter booties called Modular Mukluks that had a tall outer shell bootie and an inner insulated bootie made from Moonlite Pile. I ordered a pair of the outer boots and used them with my booties for the next several years. They weren’t a perfect fit, and they were made from coated fabric, so they got a little sweaty with extended use. I always figured that I would sew a better version of them one day, and this winter, with a short backcountry ski trip scheduled for early February, I got to work. Here are a few images to take you through the process.
Boy, am I rusty with a sewing machine. I got it all together but these are certainly not a work of art. My biggest takeaways from the project were that I should leave a greater seam allowance in the future. I had added and inch and a half to the width of the pattern on each side, imagining that 3/4″ of fabric would be plenty at each seam. My clunky sewing used more than this by an inch or two. If I were to redo the upper I would add two inches to the width of the pattern.
The same thing is true of the height of the upper. By the time I was done folding, trimming, sewing and hemming my upper was just the right height to hit above my calf. Cinching down the ties at the front of the boots puts tension on the uppers and pulls them down my legs. It’s not enough of a problem that I have to fix it right away, but at some point I’ll probably add a strip of fabric to each boot to make them a little taller.
With these few reservations I’m pretty satisfied with this quick-and-dirty sewing project. I’ve got some ultralight overboots that will keep the snow out of my booties when I’m hanging around in camp this winter. They’re a better fit than the old Modular Mukluks were and the breathable uppers will shed snow without getting sweaty. I’m going to give them a dose of spray-on silicone water repellent and they’ll be ready to hit the trail.
As this post drops I’m up in the UP for a weekend ski trip to the McCormick Wilderness area. Booties and overboots are in the pack.
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