Activities Inside a Sod House

Hide Working and SewingIllustration

Illustration by Autumn Downey (PWNHC)

Hide Working and Sewing


Women and girls spent much of their time in winter preparing warm clothing from skins of various animals, and especially caribou.

Watch women in Tuktoyaktuk making caribou skin clothing

Ikuun, or 'scraper'

In preparing skins to make clothing, the inner layer of flesh, and sometimes the outer layer of hair, was removed using a scraper (ikuun). Before metal was readily available, the blades of scrapers were made from stone. Inuvialuit today use hide scrapers with metal blades.


Ulu, or 'woman's' knife

Inuvialuit use knives with a crescent shaped edge for a variety of tasks. Most commonly they are associated with sewing. Sewing traditionally was a woman's task, and this type of knife is called a “woman's knife”. Before metal was readily available, the blades of ulus often were made from stone. Inuvialuit today use hide scrapers with metal blades.


Mitqutausiqpik, or 'needle case'

Inuvialuit needle cases were often made from a piece of hollow bird bone. Needles, also made from bird bone, were carefully rolled into small pieces of hide and stuffed into the needle case.


Next Page: Making and Repairing Tools