Learning to Make Handmade Sandals at the Chicago School of Shoemaking

Very proud of my new sandals!
Yes – I need a pedicure. Ignore the toes.  Focus on the shoes.

When you pitch a “how-to” article to a magazine – it’s probably a good idea to actually know “how-to” do the thing you are pitching.  But, like a complete idiot – when I made my pitch to Creative Embroidery Magazine – I had no idea how to make embroidered shoes.  Machine embroidery – yes – I knew how to do – but making shoes?? Are you kidding me?

Somehow though – I managed to pull it off.  But in the process of Googling “shoemaking techniques” (and many many other similar phrases )- I stumbled upon the Chicago School of Shoemaking – and that is when the fantasy began.  I mean – I could actually go to a class that would teach me how to make shoes?  Are you kidding me? Nope.  They are totally for real. And I actually finally got my chance to go.

I attended the Sandal Making 1 class and lucky for me there were some last minute cancellations and I ended up with a private lesson.  We began by tracing around my feet and making a cardboard sole.  Then I played around with paper straps to design the sandals of my dreams.  We stained and sealed the insoles, punched slots, cut straps, finished their edges and, finally attached and trimmed the soles.   8 hours later – I had a pair of sandals.  I learned so so much in that short day at the Chicago School Making –  but most importantly it gave me some skills and inspiration to make more shoes.

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