** lederhosen construction: shorts

Lederhosen Construction: Shorts

Figure 1.--Given the many variations of lederhosen a wide varity of stylistic variations occur. This German boy is wearing lederhosen with a zipped front and a halter, but no belt.

Some basic information is available on the lederhosen short pants. They have come in a great variety of lengths from very short to knee length. Other variations concern the pockets and front flap. Some shorts are worn with cuffs turned up while others have no cuff or have them turned down. There is a great variety in the construction of lederhosen, bearing in mind that they tend to conform to a pattern. The type and thickness of leather used, the colour, the type and number of pockets, the quality of the finish, the width of the fall front, the length of the leg all contribute to making the lederhosen from each source different. Even when there are a large number of boys in a group wearing lederhosen, they may all look differently dressed.


Lederhosen length was partially a function of fashion which has varied over time as is also related to the age of the boy and when the shorts were purchased. There are also substantial differences in the style of the shorts which affected the length. The length was also adjustable using the halter.


Lederhosen over time have been worn at different legths. Lederhosen like other short pants in 1920 were worn quite long. Leerhosen in the 1960s and 70s, however, were worn quite short.


Some lederhosen shorts are styled quite differently which affected the length. Some are made with very high waists. One variation of lederhosen has short legs with turn ups, but the body of the shorts is very long. Extra seems can be seen to be running across the back.


New lederhosen for children were generally purchased in large sizes. As they were made from leather, they lasted virtually for ever, boys wore them for many years--unlike most other clothing items. Boys thus "grew into their lederhosen". As they grew up, boys thus wore their lederhosen at shorter and shorter lengths.


The length of the shorts could be adjusted. The halter straps were adjustable which could rise or lower the length at which the shorts were worn. Also the cuffs at the hem could be let out which in effect lengthen the shorts.


Lederhosen vary widely. Often however the pockets, especially the front pockets, are decorated with folk-like detailing. The most common arrangement was two front pockerts. Some also had a rear pocket. Many fancy lederhosen have pockets with the applied oak leaf motif in contrasting leather. Traditional lederhosen have a small pocket on the right side that was traditionally used to hold a knife. Although now quite unsual. In the first half of the 20th century, one of a boy's prized possessions was a knife which was used for a varaiety of purposes from campling to widdling--but not fighting.

Front Arrangement

Lederhosen have a variety of front design construction. The most common design is the fall front with either button or twin zip closures. The great bulk of lederhosen are made with this arrangement, especually the button fall front. This is the classic lederhosen design. Some lederhosen come with flys, but this is not common, although it is more common on knicker-length lederhosen. Some lederhosen, particularly those for young children have no fall front at all, they have a side zip for fastening and two applied pockets, often heart shaped.


The modern sportive Lederhosen with double zippers indeed sometimes were called (in advertisements) 'Sporthosen' (Sport-shorts) to stress the point and stimulate wearing by a new young generation.

Straight Leg

The classic lederhosen have straight legs. There are no cuffs and turn up lacing at the bottom hem of the shorts.


A HBC reader reports that among the short lederhosen their is a variant that was very popular: the "sepplhose" with "the lowest part of the short, where it meets the leg, turned around." HBC is not precisely sure what this means, but believes it refers to the cuffs that are often worn lederhosen. We are not precisely sure what the purpose of the cuffs are. Asthe lederhosen are virtually indistructable. The cuffs allow for the boy to grow in that they can be turned down as a boy grows taller. The cuffs can vary substantially. The legs of some lederhosen are turned up, with wither a shinny or unfished surface showing. The shinny surface cuffs are made by attaching a separate piece of leather the bottom of the leg, this is done so that shiny surface of the leather remains outside. Other lederhosen have cuffs that show the inside color of the leather and the side lacing.


The construction of lederhosen was not as varied in the back as in the front. There were, however, some important differences. Some lederhosen had a plain back while others have a rear pocket. Some have a rear seam. [??is proud of the leather] This is a traditional method of making a rear seam, the two pieces of leather are brought together sandwiching a third strip of leather and are stitched. A benefit of this that there is no inward seems to rub or chafe the skin. Some lederhosen have rear adjustment. Some have a gusset that gives a limited amount of adjustment to the waist, the adjustment being held in place with lacing. There are generally two buttons to attach the back of the halter/braces.


Some lederhosen are made entirely of leather, including the pockets and waistband, while others are finished with a cloth waistband and pockets. Lederhosen are not lined. Some have the internal seams overlined in fine soft leather, to prevent chafing. Where there is a straight leg that has lacing, some pairs have a small tongue on the inside. The holes for lacing can be lined with metal eyelets. There are various combinations of button and zip front with halter and belt support. The zip lederhosen may be used with a halter rather than the more usual belt. Button front lederhosen may be used with a belt. The author has seen some boys wearing lederhosen that have a belt and halter. It is not uncommon for the zipped lederhosen to be provided with buttons for attaching a halter under the belt.


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Created: July 31, 2001
Last updated: 1:50 PM 12/29/2020