There are few things that say “Made in
Africa” quite like
shweshwe fabric. Its vibrant colours and traditional designs are synonymous
with , Nelson Mandela and lions in
the backyard. With it being National Women’s Day we decided we’d celebrate by
giving you a tutorial that brings together a national treasure and the things
most women treasure – their shoes. Table Mountain
You will need• pair of pumps
• two pieces of shwe-shwe cotton fabric that contrast well
• brown paper for pattern
• contact adhesive
• masking tape
• dressmaker‘s pencil
• matching coloured sewing thread
• appliqué paper
• spray starch
• waterproof glue
Before you beginYou will need to use both craft and stitchcraft skills to make a pair of shoes. It is time consuming as they are made in stages, and the glue must dry thoroughly between each stage. Read the instructions first and if necessary make a mock shoe out of a piece of denim before you start cutting and sewing the printed fabric.
- Choose either the left or right pump for making up the pattern and put the other aside. Place the shoe on the brown paper and neatly trace around the sole. Cut out the pattern and trace it onto a piece of leather. Cut the leather sole out around the outline. in the same way, cut out the identical shape on an insole. It is advisable to purchase insoles larger than your shoe size so you can cut the correct shape out accurately. Now, in exactly the same way, cut a sole out of a piece of supawood – this will be used as a last when gluing and clamping the pattern pieces together.
- Place the sole pattern piece onto the fabric with the fabric wrong side uppermost and trace the sole onto the fabric using a dressmaker’s pencil. Cut out the pattern piece adding a 1cm seam allowance around the entire shape.
- Take the shoe that you used for the sole pattern and, using masking tape, cover the front of the shoe. As you work, stick the masking tape in strips over the shoe, overlapping each strip by half every time. This will give you a firmer pattern piece as it will be a double layer. Cut away the excess tape at the edges if necessary.
- When the shoe is completely covered with masking tape, cut it away from the shoe at the back of the heel. Carefully pull the masking tape away from the shoe and stick it onto the brown paper. You will need to snip around the toe section of the masking tape so the pattern is flat. This section of the toe is gathered in the sewing process.
- Draw around the masking tape to produce a pattern piece. With the wrong side of the fabric uppermost, cut the pattern piece out adding a 1cm seam allowance around the heel and outer section edge. The inner edge is bound and it is not necessary to add a seam allowance to this section of the pattern piece.
- Place your foot on the fabric and, using the dressmaker’s pencil, indicate the position of the big toe and little toe.
- Cut a pattern piece accordingly for the lining from the contrast fabric. Apply appliqué paper to the wrong side of the fabric. This will reinforce the fabric.
- Cut diagonal strips of fabric to fit the inner edge of the shoe from either the main or contrast fabric for the binding. The strips must be 3cm wide, including the seam allowance. If you need to join pieces together to obtain the correct length, remember these must be joined on the bias. Bind the inner edge of the fabrics together using a matching coloured sewing thread.
- With the right sides of the fabric facing, close the seam at the heel. Note If required, this seam can be bound, which will produce a neater seam on the finished shoe. Work a row of ease stitches along the toe section as indicated with the markers. Pull in the ease stitches until the shoe fits the shape of the toe section of the sole.
- Sew the shoe section to the sole piece. Snip the seam allowance frequently around the outer edges when completed, taking care not to cut into the seam.
- Using contact adhesive, glue the leather sole to the fabric sole. Place the Supawood last into the shoe and clamp together. Leave the last clamped in position until the glue is completely dry. Unclamp and remove the last.
- Cut out a piece of lining fabric with a 1cm seam allowance so it will cover the insole. Using contact adhesive, glue the fabric to the insole, snipping the seam allowance around the curved edge and sticking the allowance to the back of the insole. Leave to dry thoroughly.
- At this stage the fabric shoe is completed, but it is floppy and has no form. You will need to reinforce it with felt to produce the actual shoe. To do this, place clingwrap on the front toe section of the original shoe. Remove the clingwrap and cut out from felt. Fit the felt over the shoe and spray starch it. Leave the starch to dry and spray a second layer. Now paint the shoe with waterproof glue. Leave to dry.
- Carefully remove the felt from the shoe and using contact adhesive fit it to the inside of the shoe so it fits firmly. Leave to dry.
- Repeat for the other foot, reversing the pattern pieces and using the second pump to shape the fabric sections
TipsOnce you have made the pattern pieces for one foot, turn them over to the wrong side for the pattern pieces for the other foot. Decide which fabric you wish to use as the main fabric before cutting out.
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