Repurpose Old Denim For Shoeless Children In Uganda WIth A Sole Hope Party

If there is one thing that gets my ears perked up, it's hearing the letters D-I-Y. I love crafting (even though I'm sort of horrible at it) and Sole Hope's DIY denim shoes recently became one of my favorite ways to get my Pinterest on. The company provides shoes to children in Uganda who often walk barefoot, exposing their precious feet to parasites which can cause disease in young children. By repurposing old denim with Sole Hope's shoe making kit, you are not only providing shoes to children, but you are also providing funds to the shoe-making team in Uganda that Sole Hope has equipped with tools, skills, and a fair wage.

Oh, and the best part? You get to throw a party when you do it!

It's almost time to swap out my summer wardrobe with my fall attire which likely means there will be items that I haven't seen in months. I'm likely scrunch my nose up at said items and wonder why I ever thought I would actually wear a pair of bell bottoms. Every year, I bring huge bags of clothes to second-hand shops in hopes of some much needed store credit for a new wardrobe. This year, instead of schlepping everything on the subway for a measly $12 credit, I decided to do some good with my old denim and throw a Sole Hope party.

Here's how my DIY shoe making party went down, and why you should consider throwing your own.

1. Pre-Party Prepping

To get my party started right, I ordered a 10 person shoe-making kit from Sole Hope's website for a mere $15. The amount of shoes you make isn't relevant to the size kit, but what comes with your kit varies. I chose this option because I wanted to repurpose old denim into shoes, but some of the kits do come with fabric. Next, I sent out an invite to my friends demanding their attendance and bribing them with booze and food.

2. Party Time

The day of my party, I decided to open my shoe making kit and actually read the things I would need. Turns out, I should've opened that package weeks ago. I was short on fabric scissors, plastic, and safety pins to keep the shoes separated. Luckily, while I ran to the store my guests were sipping on Old Fashioneds and attacking a cheese plate so they barely noticed my absence. Plus, it wouldn't be a true DIY party if I didn't have to leave in the middle to get supplies, right?

3. Tutorial

In hindsight, we probably should have watched the tutorial before the Old Fashioneds, but the video was short and sweet so we watched it a few times to make sure our non-crafty brains could grasp exactly how to make shoes. Sole Hope is a Christian organization, which we knew going into our DIY Denim party, but we were happy to learn that the proceeds go directly to the children we wished to help — and that the video only had to do with making shoes.

4. Shoe Making Time

Fortunately for us (and the children wearing our shoes), you don't need to be super crafty or know how to sew to make denim shoes. We were equipped with cut outs of the designs needed to make the shoes and the biggest task was tracing the cut-outs on our jeans and being able to cut outside of the Sharpie'd lines. Trust me, it's harder than it seems. Once we had four heels, four vamps, and two heel patches cut out of our old denim, we safety pinned them together and had ourselves a pair of shoes that could be sent to the shoe making team in Uganda.

5. Giving Shoes Back to Africa

This was by far the most successful craft party I've ever been involved in. The shoe cutting kit had everything we needed and instructions on how to send our shoes back. We put our shoes together, marked the size of the shoes we were making, and forked over $10 each for the shoe makers to have the tools to finish the job. Our old denim has been recycled into something far more useful than we imagined, and I'm feeling pretty good about abandoning that thrift store credit.

Images: dream79/Fotolia; Kristin Collins Jackson