By Branko Diklitch
Puttees, also known as leg wraps, have been worn in various forms since antiquity. Every possible manner of wrapping them has already been invented. However, those re-enactors that don't have somebody to show them how to do it, end up having to figure it out for themselves with varying degrees of success.
And so, the following example of tying your Puttees is certainly nothing new, but it is meant to help create a credible impression.
The two main styles of tying Puttees are top down and bottom up. In the British Army, Infantry tied their Puttees bottom up, and Cavalry and Artillery top down.
For this particular impression, the Mounted Rifles, photographic evidence suggests both methods were used.
I find that because of a greater difference of diameter of my calf and my ankle, I have to use the "herringbone" method of tying my Puttees if I go from bottom up. This helps to keep a tight wrap and the Puttees follow the contour of the leg better than a simple wrap.
Start with your Puttees all rolled up into a bundle just like this. This makes the job very quick and easy.
Unroll a small amount...
Place the end just above the shoe...
Fold over upwards so the bundle is at a right angle to the end piece, and start wrapping towards the outside of the leg tightly...
Keep doing simple wraps until you get to the bottom of the calf muscle. For me, that's three wraps. And make sure they are tight (but don't cut off your circulation.)
Now we're at the calf, and to be able to accomadate the larger diameter so that the Puttees properly fit the leg, we now start the "herringbone" pattern.
This is done by folding downwards at the front of the shin only, but carry on wrapping simply without a fold around the back.
Continue wrapping in this manner until you reach the widest point of your calf, which should be about two-thirds up your lower leg. For me, this is three "herringbone" wraps.
With the third "herringbone" completed, I finish with a simple wrap.
The tie that is at the end of the Puttee, is now wrapped around several times just above the calf...
The end is tucked underneath the wrapped ties. I use my finger to create a space to do so...
Wrap the end underneath and around several times. Some people create a knot, but I find wrapping it around a few times is secure enough.
Now you are ready to chase Boers or go on a trench raid and not embarrass yourself!
And here is a video of how it's done.