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Now that I have almost completed tanning my the first deer hide that looks like it will come out nice I have been thinking of a project to use it for. If I tan two more hides I was thinking a shirt might be nice. So, I have read a few how-tos on the internet and it seems any extra hide just ends up as part of the fringe. To leave more than a couple of inches of fringe seems like a bit of a waste. Is the fringe anything more than decoration? Does it wave in the wind to provide better camouflage or something?
 

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the eastern men of the 1700s didnt have fringe it was more of the rockies mountainmen had the fringe i think it was decoration to help with the indian in trading ans such
 

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I might be wrong but, I thought the idea of fringe on the jacket/shirt was to help channel away the water.
 

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Among some tribes the extravagance of long fringe was a sign of wealth and hunting prowess. Wealth to the extent that the Indians were able to accumulate material goods.
 

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Mag, correct, the water runs from the shirt to the fringe and then drips off, or that is the theory anyway.
 

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Yes if it is done correctly the fringe will help get rid of water.
It is also a neat place to put trade beads, tie scalps and show your prowess. I have seen some work their elk ivory or bear claws into the fringe.
Some used the fringe as extra "string", if they needed to tie something up quick they would cut off a piece of fringe, it wasn't done everyday but when camp is a days walk away it worked in a pinch.
 

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