Yesterday I went to Tea and Crafting (https://www.teaandcrafting.co.uk/) for a very exciting workshop! I put the vouchers I received for Christmas towards a ‘Make your own leather trainers’ workshop. Prior to attending I received an email from the lovely Maddie who works at Tea and Crafting asking for our shoe size and colour preference so that they could have the kits ready for us on the day. It took me ages to decide what colour to go for. I didn’t want to go for white as I already have white trainers but I wanted to pick a colour that I thought I would wear and would go with my wardrobe. In the end I chose a mauve colour as I thought it would be neutral enough to go with most things but still a bit fun.
When we arrived our kits were waiting for us. They included:
- Coloured leather
- Rubber soles
- Wax thread
- Paper template
Plus each of our stations had the equipment we would need such as scissors, hole punch pliers and a pen to draw on the leather.
We started off by cutting out the paper templates. There was only one template, which you had to flip over to create the other shoe, so we had to be careful to note which side was which. There were three options to choose from; a low trainer, a normal trainer or a high top. I decided to go with the normal trainer, but some of my classmates made the high top and I have to admit I was a bit jealous as they looked so good! Once the paper template was cut out we positioned it on the leather and drew round it, then flipped it over and drew around it again to create the reverse pattern for the other shoe.
Then it was time to cut the shapes out. The leather was pretty tough to cut and it was important to be as precise as possible.
We then attached the templates back on to the leather pieces so that we could punch the holes. There were two sized holes to punch; the larger holes for the shoelaces and the smaller holes around the bottom to secure the uppers to the soles. Punching was probably the most difficult part of the process. You needed quite a bit of hand strength! The smaller holes weren’t too bad, although there was a lot of them, but the larger holes caused a bit of trouble in the class!
Once the holes had been punched in the leather it was then time to punch the holes in the soles. The holes were marked around the edge of the soles so it was just a case of going round with the smallest size on the pliers and punching through. The rubber was really easy to punch, but there were a lot of holes to match the uppers! When all the holes had been punched with the pliers we then went round with our needles poking out all the little pieces of rubber to make it easier when it came to actually sewing.
After lunch we moved on to construction. Our tutor Alex showed us how to line up the leather with the sole and how to sew it all together with the wax thread in the correct order. Starting along the inside edge we worked our way around to the nose, then down the other side, finishing with the heel, then sewing back around the other way to secure it all. Once the uppers were attached Alex showed us how to create a little stitch on either side to hold the tongue in place.
Lastly the insoles went in and the laces were threaded through! I couldn’t believe I’d made a pair of trainers! They just came together so quickly and with so few materials. I can’t wait to wear them! I think they’ll look good with some of my summer dresses, so roll on summer!
The workshop cost £150 and took place at their Covent Garden studio in London. Jane, the owner of Tea and Crafting, took part in the class along with Maddie and it was great to meet them in person. The tutor was Alex of Sewrendipity (https://sewrendipity.com/) a sustainable sewing blog. She was fantastic and really knowledgeable. I can’t recommend this class enough. It was a lovely day out and not only did I get to meet other creative people and spend the day crafting, I also created something that I’m actually going to use; my favourite kind of crafting!