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  • sewing with real sinew

    Hello all of you crafty people......I'm back, after not posting for a long while. Just last week, I went to a store on the east side of Cincinnati, where there were all sorts of traditional supplies.....one being real sinew. I had never tried using real sinew & thought I would give it a try. Has anybody here ever used real sinew in either beading or quillwork. I have some information, but would like your input on the topic.

    Thanks!

    Suzizila

  • #2
    Few things to know about sinew...

    Before you start using it, try and separate it (as you would embroidery floss or the imitation sinew) into finer strands. I find giving it a hand roll between my palms also helps smooth it out.

    It will stretch a lot so adapt your sewing to account for the stretch. It will also harden as it ages so again, account for that as you sew (tension).

    It will also smooth out the more you work with it so again, adjust your sewing to account for the tension at the beginning. (you kinda have to really yank it when you have a fresh strand as opposed to the end of the job where the sinew has smoothed out)

    I found that if I just put a drop of water on any knot, it helps tighten it up as it dries. (don't soak it, just a drop from an eyedropper)

    I have often found that the eye of the needle gets gummed up from the sinew so if your needle is pulling, check the eye and clean it out if you find it's gummed up - makes it easier to pull it through hide if it's not gummed up.

    If you are making clothing, make sure you tuck any strands in, as the sinew will harden and become itchy, scratchy and pokey - which is not nice to have next to your skin.

    HTH

    Some sinew can really get smelly as it gets wet so if you plan on wearing an item in the elements - take that into account. You can test a little piece before you start by soaking it and giving it the schnoz test.
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert A. Heinlein

    I can see the wheel turning but the Hamster appears to be dead.

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    • #3
      real vs imitation sinew?

      My husband gifted me some nice old buckskins this fall. I know of no elders locally to show me the ropes with sinew, I am just getting to know the local community, this forum is very helpful, thank you.

      I am wondering the following: I purchased a nice pattern from an lady who makes moccasins here on the Internet. She has very easy to comprehend instructions, but I wonder if I should use sinew or artificial sinew to sew together the cuts of hide I wish to use? Is there another option I "should" use?

      What are the pros and cons of each?

      I own commercially made moccasins with rubber soles for working, but I would like to make my own to wear with my regalia and as a gift for my family members. Even If I can only make a pair of children's moccs for a "first draft" I am interested in making them to last and to be true to our traditions. I know I will have to replace the soles after dancing, but what will be my best option?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bzystpn View Post
        My husband gifted me some nice old buckskins this fall. I know of no elders locally to show me the ropes with sinew, I am just getting to know the local community, this forum is very helpful, thank you.

        I am wondering the following: I purchased a nice pattern from an lady who makes moccasins here on the Internet. She has very easy to comprehend instructions, but I wonder if I should use sinew or artificial sinew to sew together the cuts of hide I wish to use? Is there another option I "should" use?

        What are the pros and cons of each?

        I own commercially made moccasins with rubber soles for working, but I would like to make my own to wear with my regalia and as a gift for my family members. Even If I can only make a pair of children's moccs for a "first draft" I am interested in making them to last and to be true to our traditions. I know I will have to replace the soles after dancing, but what will be my best option?
        The first poster pretty much nailed it. I do all my beadwork and sewing with real sinew, I don't even own imitation sinew. It's more expensive, but I was taught to always respect myself by dressing the nicest I can because it's considered handsome and honorable. It's pricey, but ultimately worth it because you'll have something you can be proud of.

        When I got my sinew I first broke them thin membrane, peeled it into thin strings and drug it across my tongue with my mouth closed to wet the sinew properly and clean it of blood. Then I held one end with my left hand, hung it over my thigh while I am sitting down, and placed my right hand over the sinew, roling it to twist it and let it dry. Sinew too big to bead with, I used for sewing.

        As for your sole question. Depends on what tribe you are and what type of moccasin you are making. For example, moccains I would make should be buffalo brain tan tops with buffalo rawhide soles, sewn with sinew with no welt. However buffalo is too expensive even for my picky-self, so I use brain tanned deer and buffalo rawhide soles. I believe if you go to Sunrise Trading Post's website and search "soles" they have buffalo rawhide soles on there at a reasonable price.

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        • #5
          I have seen sinew from I would only guess diff parts of the deer like say a leg or back, dose the location from where it is harvisted effect how it sews and last?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
            I have seen sinew from I would only guess diff parts of the deer like say a leg or back, dose the location from where it is harvisted effect how it sews and last?
            The really long sinew is a tad thicker from what I have seen, and I tend to have a harder time getting it stripped down to a proper thread-like size. However it results in longer thread so you can do more with it than a smaller piece of sinew from the leg. That's about the oly difference. I use both the long pieces and the shorter ones, and the scraps I save for glue. (I haven'ttried it yet, but I hear if you boil them they will break down protien and form a type of glue.)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by littleswan View Post
              The really long sinew is a tad thicker from what I have seen, and I tend to have a harder time getting it stripped down to a proper thread-like size. However it results in longer thread so you can do more with it than a smaller piece of sinew from the leg. That's about the oly difference. I use both the long pieces and the shorter ones, and the scraps I save for glue. (I haven'ttried it yet, but I hear if you boil them they will break down protien and form a type of glue.)
              Cool thanks, this glue you talked about would it be similar to the powdered hide glue sold by crazy crow? I hear tell that stuff is pretty great.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
                Cool thanks, this glue you talked about would it be similar to the powdered hide glue sold by crazy crow? I hear tell that stuff is pretty great.
                I couldn't tell you. I haven't made it into glue yet. I am not even 100% I can or how to do it. I was just told that some people save the scraps for glue. I imagine I can mix that glue with natural pigment for paint. Maybe I will give it a try sometime. If not, I am sure someone can enlighten us on this subject.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by littleswan View Post
                  I couldn't tell you. I haven't made it into glue yet. I am not even 100% I can or how to do it. I was just told that some people save the scraps for glue. I imagine I can mix that glue with natural pigment for paint. Maybe I will give it a try sometime. If not, I am sure someone can enlighten us on this subject.
                  Sounds great if u manage to make some befor I would love to know. Think next pay day I'll buy some of that Hide glue and see wat happens I'm sure they might work on the same idea.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you are going to use any animal glue, make sure you aren't using an acrylic base paint/powder... the glue will make the paint peel after a few months...

                    It's best with oils or tempura paints.

                    Most skin/sinew glues are just collagen based and work great for sizing and gessoing a canvas. It's a bit hard to work with as it needs to be worked into the canvas while it's still warm.

                    Conservation wise, it's the best for long term preservation of an item... commercial glues can and will rot hides, damage shells and discolour fabrics.
                    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert A. Heinlein

                    I can see the wheel turning but the Hamster appears to be dead.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yaahl View Post
                      If you are going to use any animal glue, make sure you aren't using an acrylic base paint/powder... the glue will make the paint peel after a few months...

                      It's best with oils or tempura paints.

                      Most skin/sinew glues are just collagen based and work great for sizing and gessoing a canvas. It's a bit hard to work with as it needs to be worked into the canvas while it's still warm.

                      Conservation wise, it's the best for long term preservation of an item... commercial glues can and will rot hides, damage shells and discolour fabrics.
                      wow did not know that and I'm paint in oil and acrylic thanks for the info

                      Comment

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