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Just finished my first pair of Botas, and I am pleased with the result. Actually I made 2 pairs, and am working on finishing the second pair, at present. I will post some pics of the second pair when I get them finished.

I used 6-7oz. top-grain cowhide stained to look nearly identical to elk hide. The pattern I used for both pairs is a modification of one I found posted here in a thread entitled "half chaps or leggings", posted on the forum entitled "patterns and templates". I modified this basic pattern to have a more symmetrical look all the way around, with no overlap/underlap at the heel. This affords a more finished look, and also allows a gap for spurs to protrude out from the heel of the leggings, without interference. The finished product looks great... almost like someone sawed off the bottom half of a pair of full-length, step-in shotgun chaps.

My template negates the need to sew on the top "knee flap", which flips up to offer additional protection for the knees while horseback riding. I also added an integral strap to the top of the template, which eliminates the need to sew on an extra strap and buckle for cinching the botas on below the knee. Instead, I sewed Velcro to the top (and strap) for fastening, which is the preferred method of attachment for most English style half chaps, and is a lot more comfortable than having a buckle grinding into the side of your knee.

I put my botas to the test, recently. I went horseback riding with my wife, and during the ride, we jumped a mountain creek that runs through a narrow gap between the mountain side and a drop-off. My horse shied away from the drop-off, hugged the mountain, and scraped my lower leg on a tree that was growing out. The botas protected as planned... the whole reason I became interested in making a pair in the first place, (full chaps are too hot to wear in the high desert mountains where we ride). Fortunately the tree didn't damage the botas other than to give them a little authentic "wear" in the form of a minor scuff.

Please feel free to comment, critique, or ask questions.










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Bob Blea   

Very cool. I know nothing about chaps, but they look great to me.


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They look great.

Is there any problem with them staying up when you walk around?


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Thanks for the kudos!

Regarding how they stay up... no, there is no problem with them staying up, whatsoever. i have worn them all day, ridden 6 miles on horseback, washed and groomed my horse afterwards, then ate a picnic dinner on the tailgate of my truck afterwards. They stay up very well, and don't gouge into your calf/knee the way a metal buckle will.

With a metal buckle, you may not feel it right away, but I guarantee that after you walk or ride around for a few hours, you will be sore and ready to take them off. Even with a soft buckskin or cloth tie below the knee, you will very quickly get tired of the single point of constriction holding them up. I know because I tried buckskin ties before going with the Velcro.

On my botas, the Velcro-lined smaller strap helps cinch them around the top of your calf. Then there is a wide section of Velcro below that distributes some of the pressure along a broader part of your calf. It is very comfortable, so much so that you forget you are even wearing them. I also don't bother unbuttoning them before putting them on because it is unnecessary, and way too much trouble. I leave the concho "buttons" and decorative latigo in place, loosen the Velcro, and slid my foot through like putting on a "shoe-less" boot. Then I cinch up the Velcro to keep them up.

I had thought of preparing a dedicated pair of riding pants by sewing "hook" Velcro to the pants just below the knee, then sewing "loop" Velcro to the inside of the botas to further lesson the need for a constricting attachment point below the knee. But so far they have been plenty comfortable, and stay up fine as they are.

I did consider making the concho's and latigo strictly decorative "plant-on's", with Velcro going all the way down the length to hold them together, but since they are "bell-bottoms" and don't hug your leg all the way down to the ankle they way an English half chap would; getting them on straight would be too much of a hassle. Plus all that Velcro would require a lot of stitching that would increase labor, and also be visible. So I decided against using full length velcro.

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