The women were responsible for making and repairing the family’s clothes. They had to be skilled seamstresses since survival in the harsh Arctic environment depended on appropriate clothing. They also sewed summer tents, dog harnesses and whips, kayak covers, sacks and bags to hold water and oil, drum skins, children’s toys, hair ties, etc.
The different peoples of the Far North dressed in much the same way. The women would cut the hides based on traditional patterns passed down by their mothers.
In winter, the Inuit wore a fur parka , with the fur side in, under another parka with the fur side out. The hood of the parka was often trimmed with wolf or wolverine fur. The pants, made of caribou or polar bear hide, were roomy so as to retain body heat. Footwear consisted of two pairs of boots, one made of caribou or rabbit skin with the fur side in, and another of more rugged, waterproof sealskin. Between the two boots was an insulating layer of dry grass.
In addition to their everyday clothing, the Inuit also dressed up for special occasions. When they had the means, the women loved to wear beautifully decorated ceremonial outfits. They would also sew amulets onto clothing to protect the wearer and ward off evil spirits. A pregnant woman would sew amulets to her parka to ensure that the child would grow up to be a great hunter or seamstress.
In the summer, the Inuit wore a single layer of clothing, generally made of caribou or sealskin with the fur side out.