Buckskin Clothing: A Beautiful Working Wardrobe for Your Backyard – Woniya Thibeault








Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

  • Discover why buckskin is so ideal for making clothes.
  • How to make clothes that last 10X longer on the homestead.
  • The tanning process—explained in a nutshell.
  • Patterns made EASY: using your body or existing clothes.
  • How to put together your own buckskin garments.
  • The best tools for sewing buckskin.

About The Speaker:

From the first time Woniya Thibeault saw buckskin clothing, she was hooked.

Long fascinated with both the natural world and off-grid living, tanning hides and making them into clothing seemed a natural way to merge these interests and apply them to everyday life.

Woniya has been living off grid, growing most of her own food, storing it without refrigeration, and teaching classes on these and other ancestral and homestead arts for decades. With both a Masters in Environmental Science and a lifetime of practical living, Woniya brings a wealth of experience to her teaching and writing.

Her first book “Buckskin Revolution” is now available in PDF form and hopefully, soon, in print.



QUESTION: Have you ever tried tanning animal hides yourself? Tell us about it! If not, would you consider giving it a try?


  1. Melvin Beattie

    You may want to check your facts about using potato or eggs to test KOH.

    1. Woniya

      Hi Mel, Thanks so much for watching, I am honored to have you pipe in with your expertise. (For others reading, Mel is a hide tanning legend and expert). Do you have a better method for testing the alkalinity? I have used the egg method but I never use KOH. If I buck I always use hydrated lime specifically because one can’t make it too basic and damage hides as you can with KOH or NaOH. Would happy for better methods to pass along.

  2. Hank Will

    What an awesome presentation, Woniya. Thank you for sharing all the great information. I’ve sewn leather and buckskin for years, but never attempted clothing. Now I am going to. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Marjory WIldcraft

      Hank, I’ve tanned several deer hides and I love the moccasins I made with them. Feels like wearing socks. Buckskin is a Super strong materiel.

    2. Woniya

      Hi Hank, Wonderful! Please do and good luck with them! I always love it when folks sens me photos of their finished products too!

  3. Marjory WIldcraft

    I’ve tanned rabbit hides, coyote, deer, and one a gopher skin! Ha ha. My cat brought it to me. Gophers are so soft!

  4. Chad

    How do I watch? I signed up last week but every time I click on the watch live now button I only come to these comments, or the page where to but it. Very frustrating, please help, Chad

    1. Jimerson (Post author)

      Howdy Chad! This sounds like you might be using an unsupported browser. Do you have an alternate browser you can use, such as Chrome?

    2. Kathy Lundgren

      click on the video, not on the button that says ‘click here’

  5. Aaron Scott

    You need to make sure you have an up to date version of Adobe Flash Player working in your web browser and scripts etc. are working for the video player to show up for you.

  6. ed

    I got a hold of a Rattle Snake skin. Scraped and Salted it. Then sun dried it and hung it on the wall. That’s it.

  7. Susan Harris

    This has been the best presentation thus far in this Summit. It gave a lot of information that I did not expect but greatly appreciate. I am looking forward to attempting to tan my first hide.

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Thanks Susan!

  8. Jean

    Excellent presentation. Looking forward to trying buckskin. Don’t know a hunter but there are some in the area. I will checkout your website

  9. Heather

    This was a wonderful presentation! Thank you!

  10. John Kendall

    This is a well set up presentation on Buckskin. I noticed how some people gave poor ratings, I have no idea what they were looking for but this video was an overture of the process and use of Buckskin, not a “How-To-Guide”. Well done!

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Thanks John!

  11. Heather

    Really nice narrative! So much concise information, I really think I might be able to do this at some point! Thanks so much!

  12. Robbie Howse

    Well done ☺ I’ve worked mainly with raw hide or fur like fox , deer and goat , look forward to making my own buckskin ☺ thanks for sharing information and insights ☺ in gratitude ☺ Robbie and the Cloonabinnia Clan

  13. Angie

    Hands down my favorite presentation so far! This is so unique and so useful! These summits can sometimes get repetitive so I am glad to watch something completely new! Thanks for all the work that went into this summit!

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Thank you so much Angie!

  14. ellvj

    Loved this… I have several items i purchased made from buckskin. was disappointed a number of years ago to not receive a hide from a hunter… this presentation & info gives me hope of picking up & following that long ago inspiration… Thank-you…

  15. Mike Eaton

    Like WoW! didn’t expect to see this here, but too much information, it could put many off, me? I love it. Oh yes and I caught the ‘bug’ some 25 years ago, the trouble is the only way to get hold of buckskin in the UK is to buy it ready made (but deer is getting more popular so maybe one day? – shirt number three coming up!)

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      I do tend to be heavy on the information, but glad it worked for you and glad you too have the bug! Good luck with shirt number 3!

  16. judy

    Chock full of information! Thank you

  17. Al

    Woniya,thank you so much:
    I have tried and tried and finally given up tanning…because I didn’t have good information!
    I certainly got the bug back,and it’s a material that I like so much,I think I don’t want to wear anything else!!!
    I didnt catch the names of the authers of the 3 books you recomend…could you say that again?
    Marjorie,tell your kids the frige is good for storin photo material,not food!!!
    Thank you both!

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Hi Al, sure. The Ancient Art of Brain Tanning by Steven Edholm and Tamara Wilder, and Deerskins into Buckskins by Matt Richards. The third, Leather by Lotta Rahme is more anecdotal, less how to. Good luck!

  18. Servants of the Harvest

    Excellent presentation! thank you 🙂

  19. chynsia

    Please play this again.

  20. Doug

    I tanned three goat hides with the hair on in the 50’s. Lost them when I stored some stuff at my aunt’s house when her wonderful children left them outside and they rotted. Thew were tanned with salts and alum. I want to try brain tanning.

  21. Marilyn

    Wow! I though you said this wasn’t going to be very detailed? Boy, oh boy, this was an excellent, thorough presentation. There was enough information to really understand the process and be able to decide if this is something you really want to dive into. Thanks for a beautiful, quality information rich presentation.

  22. Debra Cisneros, HHP

    Awesome information! Great styles, too! Thank you, Woniya for sharing your expertise and experiences. It’s too bad it takes so long to watch each presentation because the buffering is sooo slow on my tablet. Nonetheless, I am enjoying the summit thus far!
    Thanks Marjory for making this available! 🙂

  23. Dorothea Lowe

    That was an excellent presentation, THANK YOU! Is anybody selling their Buckskin clothes? I would love to buy some pants…

  24. Bea Taylor

    How warm is buckskin warm enough for a winter coat where it gets down to 0 degree weather?

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Hi Bea,

      Buckskin does great as an outer layer in cold weather as it cuts the wind and keeps heat in while still breathing, but you definitely want to wear some insulation beneath it. I find long underwear and a light wool sweater good even in low temperatures if i am being active, and more layers if I am not


  25. Peggy

    Very well done and concise. Followed the natural progression, and was easy to see each step. Great tips regarding how to lay out patterns onto the correct areas of the hide, how to make thong, and how to keep the shape of the garment. Definitely learned lots of new info with your presentation!

  26. Becky

    I appreciate you explaining why each step is done. Also the sewing tips. Hope to try this!

    1. Chris A. Marcus

      I am just getting into this. I will guess that there is a way to line a coat with a natural fleece or other insulating material, or tan your hide with the hair still on them.

  27. Chris A. Marcus

    The only way the could have been better is to have had video or film footage. Lots of great information.
    Thank you.

  28. Wanda Goldfarb

    This was fantastic. Do you have a source for buckskin that you could recommend? I’m light years away from skinning and preparing hides on my own. I enjoy sewing and would like to try using these hides.

  29. Jacqui

    Wow, Thank you, always wanted to know how to do this. Great presentation!

  30. Lynn

    Wow, watched this with my children and Woniya is just an amazing teacher. We appreciated all the detail and tips!!! Learned so much! TY!

  31. Heidi

    Great presentation. I want to go out and tan a hide right now and make some clothes. Thank you for such concise detailed information.

  32. Jean

    This presentation contains the amount of details that I was expecting all the presentations to contain! Thank you Woniya for a beautiful lesson on buckskin. You made me want to try constructing a garment and if it is as comfortable as expected, then trying to tan a hide. Could this method be used with sheep skin?

  33. Robin

    Great Presentation! I would like to recommend skillcult.com for more detailed videos on the tanning of hides. He has a great series you can watch on youtube.

    1. Woniya Dawn Thibeault

      Hi Robin,

      Absolutely, skill cult is great. That is my friend Steven, who is brilliant and an excellent teacher. He is one of the authors of the first book I recommend in the presentation, Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Brain tanning.

  34. Maggie J

    Is Chronic Wasting Disease a concern when brain tanning? And I’m assuming the same process would be used for cowhide.

  35. Jon

    I come from major hunting area and I know of no one who does this. Shame on us.

    You inspired me and I know some creative and non lazy people who may have interest in you.

    I have interest in your custom work. Thank you!

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