Yesterday, I hosted my first ever Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party and it was a crazy success!
I’m not crafty and was really nervous about hosting a party that included tracing patterns, cutting jean fabric, and making sure to avoid any mistakes for shoemakers in Uganda. I invited a few crafty friends (guinea pigs) that would be extra patient with me.
A few weeks ago, I ordered my Shoe Cutting packet online here and read the instructions over and over. I watched the instructional video provided and it looked really easy, but I was still nervous.
I followed the simple steps outlined in my packet and sent out invitations praying my friends would wrap their hearts around this project! They all jumped in with such joy and excitement, I knew this was going to be a blast!
Everyone brought jeans, (used or from the thrift store) fabric scissors, and yummy snacks! I provided plastic placemats, large safety pins, permanent markers, and pre-cut patterns to trace (provided in the packet) and drinks.
Together we cut out patterns for 30 pairs of shoes for a Toddler size 5 in two hours!!
The best part, I’m packing up the patterns and taking them to Uganda with me on Friday. I will meet the shoemakers in person and watch the process of constructing shoes at Sole Hope! I can’t wait!
Here’s a few shoe cutting tips my friends and I wanted to share with you:
- Make sure you bring fabric scissors! Regular scissors won’t cut the jean fabric.
- Pre-cut the plastic placemats pre-party. This saves a lot of time.
- Your guests can pre-cut their jeans in 2 sections to lay flat. This will make it easier to trace patterns.
- Make sure to have plenty of space for your friends to trace, cut & spread out their jeans.
- Provide yummy finger foods that won’t make fingers too messy.
- Don’t forget to pray over every set of shoe patterns…they will soon belong to someone living in Uganda fighting against foot-related diseases and the crisis of jiggers.
Sole Hope’s staff, Amy Vick shared these 3 tips and they REALLY helped:
- Prep your materials! I have each pair of jeans cut off just below the pockets and cut up the inseam. This leaves them flat and much easier to work with. Plastic placemats and folders don’t take much prep but some people like to cut a small pile of these ahead of time so each participant can grab a couple and pin them in as they finish with the denim parts of the shoes. If you are using milk jugs, I quarter them ahead of time to make tracing and cutting easier on the hands!
- I have each attendee work on cutting her own pair of shoes instead of working in stations. This seems to be less confusing, especially in larger and mixed age groups, and provides some continuity for cutting so there is less quality control needed at the end.
- Organization. I have templates sorted and paired with scissors and a sharpie for each lady (or fella) as we begin. I also go ahead and lay my gallon bags out on the table with a pen and a post it on each. As each person placed a completed pair in the bag, he or she places a tally mark; the tenth person to place a pair in seals the bag and places it in a box or under the table. This makes it easier to keep count without having to go back through each bag and keeps you from having to have someone there to “monitor” the table.
Mission-hearted friend, if you’ve been looking for a new project to make a real difference…search no further! I can personally recommend this party with a purpose, even for non-crafty people like me!
Don’t forget to post your party pics on Sole Hope’s party site here.
Would you share this on your social media and blogs, too! Together we want to spread the word about Sole Hope.
Sole Hope is an organization based out of Jinja, Uganda. Sole Hope removes jiggers, small sand flees, from the feet and hands of children and the elderly. Jiggers can cause great pain and Sole Hope seeks to remove that pain. Visit solehope.org for more info.