French Marine Gaiters, ca.1750
Uniformes les Compagnies franches de la Marine
Compagnies franches de la Marine de Contrecoeur
The French Marine Gaiters
The French Marine Gaiters are made from white canvas. It should have a tight weave, but be light enough to be flexible, not stiff. Each gaiter is made from a single thickness of white canvas, with a tongue or foot cover piece added. There are12 small black leather buttons, about 1/2 inch in diameter, on each gaiter. These can be made from a small leather circle with a hole punched in it, or small black metal buttons can be used. The top 5 buttons holes have matching button holes instead of buttons. The buttons of the knee breeches will button through these five button holes. Ilustration at left shows the gaiters attached to the knee breeches, at the top five button holes, and secured with a small leather strap with a brass buckle, just below the knee.
To make the gaiters pattern, for the height, measure your leg from above the shoe heel to above the top breeches button, for the height. For the width, measure the around the widest part of your leg, the calf, and add two inches to this measurement. This will give you the approximate dimensions to the dotted lines on the drawing. Add 1 1/2 inches to the side dimensions, to be folded back and sewn down to double the edges, for the button holes and buttons. Add a 1/2 inch to the top and bottom edges to flat fell these edges. The tongue, to cover the top of the shoe is a separate piece. You will need four of these, two for each gaiter Sew the tongue pieces together on the curved edge. Turn inside out, fold the straight edges a little, slide the gaiter body between the two pieces of the tongue and sew down.
When completed,the gaiter is the correct height, but too wide around the leg. Put them on, inside out, and tighten them up by pinching up the back. Pin the extra cloth, so the gaiter fits tight. Remove the gaiter, sew up along the pins and cut off the excess cloth. You can flat fell this seam also. You now have tight-fitting gaitors with a seam up the back. The strap, if you want to use one, is made of canvas or leather. It is sewn to the inside on the the foot and buttons to the bottom button on the outside of the gaiter.
The pattern shown is for the right gaiter, flip the pattern over to make the left gaitor. You can also fold your canvas and cut two pieces. That way you will have a right and a left gaiter.