Steps to making Kitenge fabric shoe at home

Making your own shoe could be a good idea. This helps you to evade expenditure thus you are able to have shoes of your choice at a simple cost. With traditional techniques of shoe making you don’t need to have expensive material, nice set up box or complex tools. All you need is a few materials from art store and a Kitenge fabric. Here are steps on how to make your own Kitenge fabric shoe at home.

kitenge fabric lased shoe
                                        Fig1.kitenge fabric lased shoe

Generate a concept

t Think about the type of shoe you want to make and sketch it somewhere.

  1. Making a last

This is a hard usually wooden, object used to build shoes. it usually looks like feet with space in front to accommodate the toes. This provides a hard surface for you to draw to draw your patterns. You can either buy or do a search on internet before you make one for your feet.

  1. Cast your foot

You need an alginate to make your foot, a casting material and box to hold on tour mold .A mold is a negative your foot. To makes mold, mix alginate and water and stir gradually using your hands until its gloopy.  Pour the mix into the box and put your feet in the box depending on design of your shoe. Make sure the mix covers your leg to ankle then wait for 20 minutes. Before you remove from the alignment When the material is dry take part apart your box so that you can have big cube of alignment.

  1. Making foot cast into last

Using your shoe design crease up and add it on your cast to round off as per your design. Make sure your last is of your best shape because it determines the shape of your shoe

  1. Cover your last in masking tape and draw your pattern

Wrap the last with two layers of masking tape then draw the pattern for the design on the tape and cut the pattern along the line you drew,. The sketch shoe include the following .Counters-the back of the, shoe and Toe-the front part,

  1. Flatten tour patterns

Carefully remove your patterns and flatten the patterns to 2d patterns from the bottom of the last.

  1. Trace & Cut Your Patterns

.Trace your pattern on paper and add ¼ inch seam allowance on all patterns. Always remember to draw a pattern for shoe tongue whose shape is determined by your design.

  1. Cut your fabric

Arrange your patterns on your fabric, using either tapes or pins, stick the pattern onto fabric.Using

a pencil outline the pattern on your fabric and remember to mark the seam allowance before you cut pieces out Sew all the patterns together

  1. Attaching the Outer Fabric to the Inner Fabric

Sew your pieces together until you have the two separate layers: the outside pattern and the inside pattern. Sew your inside to the outside n pattern while living ¼ inch seam allowances. Then flip your pattern back over

  1. Shoe Tongue

To make the shoe tongue make two shoe tongues piece, the outer line and line then up with wrong side facing outward .saw the top of  the left seam allowance .Sew some extra stitches around the bottom of your tongue sides to add some reinforcement.

  1. Adding Eyelets

Eyelets are the holes where your laces will be threaded. Depending on what your design, you can either make holes in the fabric itself, or you can add metal eyelets. You can buy eyelets which it accompanied by simple tools that enable you to make them better.
To add eyelets, mark the places on your fabric where you want to add shoe lace holes and, according to the instructions included on whatever tool you’re using, punch holes or cut holes, place your eyelet pieces in, and punch them together.

  1. Add Shoe Laces

Put your last inside your upper to fill its shape in. pick a plain colour laces to enhance your Kitenge fabric and then tie your shoe. Don’t tie it so tight that your pattern distorts.

  1. Soles

There are three types of sole the insole, midsole and outsole. The insole is the part that is in contact with your foot and it my must be slightly soft .the midsole provides the arch support while the outsole make contact with the ground .it is usually made of sturdy leather or rubber. To make this trace you’re using ¼ inch and 1/8 inch cork. Trace your last on the piece of cork leave at least ½ to avoid cutting it too small. You can still buy a sole from a shoe repair shop. Soak your cork/leather sole in water for 24 hours then tie the last tightly to the shape of your shoe.
Hold your insole to the bottom of your last. Using your utility knife, carefully shape the insole to fit your last.

  1. Sew Your Upper to Your Sole

Cut out another sole. Then cut out a ring out of the sole .a fix this ring to the bottom of your insole using super glue .then sew up insole and last to the upper. To achieve this Hold the fabric tightly against the ring of sole you glued on in the previous step.

Now, using as thick a string as you can find, stitch through the fabric, through the ring of sole, and back, continuing around the entire shoe, pulling fabric tight as you go along. You can always pierce the sole diagonally if you have trouble to manoeuvre the sole especially the heel.

  1. Cut off Excess Fabric

Once you’ve completely sewn around the shoe sole you should have some excess fabric. Your shoe is coming together!

  1. Glue in the Extra Material for Your Sole

Glue the remains of the sole together and then put the outer ring together with the insole, use your utility knife to trim off excess sole.

  1. Finish the Sole

To finish up the sole add a thin layer of Kitenge fabric or leather to cover up the work you did to fix the sole

  1. Appreciate Your Shoe and Make the Other One

Traditional uses of kitenge fabric

Kitenge  was used used on occasions and in many ways either symbolically or for practical reasons.It was also used  in different settings to convey messages. here are some  traditional uses of kitenge.

Kitenge T.jpg

  • Slings to hold children 0on the back  of mothers
  • Also used for  to hold children at the front so as to hide them while breastfeeding.
  • When tied together kitenge fabric is used as a  decorative  piece e for the dinning table
  • Kitenge fabric is also uses as a beach  where it is wrapped around the waist  or the body to modify the look or shield from cold air
  • Sometimes the kitenge  fabric is can be framed  and  hanged on the walls to form  batik  or artworks.
  • In Malawi the kitenge also known as chitenge is customary worn by women during the funerals  for symbolic and practical reasons.
  • As a gift to your girls especially when they visit their granny.


Kitenge upholstery for your house

Choosing kitenge  for upholstery complements your room making  two practically inseparable. This is because the fabrics that is rich in color  and  also replete with cultural are some of the decors that can be made from  kitenge.



Windows without curtains and other such covering look bare and unappealing and some curtains help to add some character and value to this space.thus using kitenge fabric enhances the African look to your house


One interesting fabric to choose for your bedding is the kitenge which works very well in African and other contemporary themes.


Cushions and apart from their aesthetic value, they are also comfortable and offer a soft landing on your couch or bed. The cushion cover brings out the beauty of this accessory in color and pattern and when this is made of kitenge fabric, the possibilities are endless.

walls of your house

Everyone need a wall art and wall hangings that match your decor theme for balance and harmony. Which is why you should go for kitenge fabric to enhance  an African them

While this fabric may be used in some of the upholstery and drapery in the home, the patterns can also be copied onto other surfaces such as murals, pots and other accessories .

Africa’s undisputed brand


Africa has for long stood out as one of the finest tourist destinations in the world, a factor contributed by our unique lifestyle widely envied in the world.

Africa has distinct natural sites, numerous natural scenery environments and a wide range of classy and sassy attires in our possession. Much has been attributed to the natural lifestyle and our valued way of life that is very distinct from other characters in the world.

Kitenge fabric on sale
Kitenge fabric on sale

One such dressing style is Kitenge. This is a culmination of different colours embedded together and integrated to produce a totally admirable gown that reflects a reasonable personality when won. Kitenge which in plural is termed as ‘vitenge’ is presently from the Swahili land at the coast. As many know, the coastal culture is characterized by a traditionally full length clothes to avoid exposing oneself to the world.

As a result of its welcoming nature, it has gained recognition among the Christian community in Kenya. Many respectful ladies nowadays embrace vitenge as a form of an appreciation geared towards a conducive environment for all notwithstanding the fact that there are others who still don’t welcome the idea as they perceive it to be a type of clothing made for the less conversant, timid, outdated and backward.

As the old adage goes that if a cloth makes a man, then kitenge makes a woman, there is a close relation to the authenticity and the glamour it brings when it comes to a proper presentation of a true African woman with dignity and self-respect. Kitenge portrays a woman of character, a personality with utmost self-distinct realization and a world filled with vigour and self-realization.

Its attractive nature, colorful and vibrant outlook and a true definition of class for those who value self-realization and selfless uniqueness has for time now earned it a title like no other.‘Colorful African fabric’ is an understatement. Those wearing this design not only reflect an eventful but domestic, everyday things happening in the lives of those who sell and wear the design. It particularly serves as an open forum for women to voice their opinions and concerns.

This attractive African way of life encompass a rich culture that should be cultivated and that stand out among those with class and value a true representation of vibrancy, colorful representation

It forms an important part of the East African culture. Kitenge fabric has a long history and gives the Eastern African region an identity. The simple dress from a simple region has attracted complex controversial celebrities from far and beyond; Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Kim Kardashian and Solange are some of the celebrities that have been spotted on the red carpet wearing Kitenge designs.


In Kenya there is usually a planned event to celebrate and enlighten people on this unique attire. Dubbed Kitenge festival is a popular event held periodically and is meant to highlight the varied uses of Kitenge fabric. This vibrant cotton fabric is wax printed, using rotary printing machines. Most often it’s a multicolored, dark wax print on a lighter background. The printing on the cloth is done by a traditional batik technique. This gives a top class notch and touch, attracting the big admirance all over the world.

Kitenge forms continuous prints lengthwise with no distinct border lines separating one piece from the adjacent piece. During national holidays, jubilees etc. specific patterns are designed. A large variety of religious and political designs is found as well as traditional tribal patterns with various meanings. This way, it provides an opportunity for integration and the coming together of the nation, a factor very crucial in eliminating tribalism.

Due to its expressive and colorful outlook with the various colours ,patterns, writings and symbols which represent moods, feelings, cultures and traditions of native African people, it has earned itself the name ‘ communicating textile’ Some of the African countries where kitenge is worn are Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Sudan. It is an informal and inexpensive fabric with a distinctive border and political slogans.

It forms an important part of the East African culture. The fabric has a long history and gives the Eastern African region an identity. Though used in many African countries, Kitenge is yet to be accepted as an official dress as it is only worn during ceremonies and non-official functions.

The Maasai wear dark red kitenge garments to symbolize their love for and their dependence on the earth. In Malawi, Namibia and Zambia, kitenge is known as Chitenge. Chitenges are never worn by men in Malawi.