While most of London was glued to the World Cup final game on Sunday 15 July, my daughter and I were happily designing and stitching our own espadrilles. A departing gift from her colleagues (crafting class gift card), she chose a shoe making class hosted by Tea and Crafting.
Guided by Joanna and Hafiza from Juta Shoes we selected correctly sized soles and coloured leather components. A quick glance at my fellow students’ choices reflected the creativity even in two upper pieces. Though using a single colour was the most popular choice, one student combined two colours, making that my planned next pair! The texture I selected turned out to be a vegan choice (vinyl), but I can see that the shoe upper presents a lovely spot for embellishment (stitching, beads, tassels, appliqué, lace, paint or markers).
Our obviously well-seasoned teachers guided us through sole-size selection, pattern placement/marking/cutting the leather components. We pinned the uppers to the soles (aided by some great detailed tips), then proceeded to blanket stitch using waxed linen thread. Thread colour is another important design consideration.
As a teacher, I have come to appreciate the quiet hum of students on task. Discussions that occur when hands/eyes are engaged are as tasty as my tea and cupcake break between left and right. Joanna shared Juta Shoes’ origin story and its’ impact on their local community, by teaching and providing jobs and using reclaimed leather in their products. The midpoint permitted a one shoe try-on. This confirmed we had successfully navigated through choosing the right sole size and provided a brief glimpse of the WOW to be achieved.
The class was outstanding with Juta Shoes providing all the tools and supplies we needed. The Tea and Crafting site was a bright happy work room, obviously set up for all sorts of crafting fun. It was a delightful afternoon with a lovely tea break in just the proper spot.
Guest Blog post by Dianna Voisin
Photographs by Kanahaya Alam