Straw sandals were worn by the Egyptians, the Copts, and other desert dwellers, as well as many oriental peoples. I have also seen references to grass or straw sandals worn by the Gaulish tribes.

  • a bag of real raffia (from your local craft store)
  • a large, heavy needle
  • waxed linen thread
  • additional materials for straps
  • Begin by taking 15 strands of raffia and tie them together at one end with linen thread.

    Divide the bundle into 3 sections and braid, just like you braid hair. As you finish a strand, add another one in, overlapping the pieces so your braid is always the same thickness. It is hard to say how long to braid. Two soles for me (size 9) took most of a bag.

    Stand on a piece of paper and draw around your foot. Measure the length, take 3/4 of that and begin to form the sole as shown. The braid is laid on its edge.

    Sew back and forth through the braid until your needle is too short to do so, then new through 2-3 layers at an angle.

    Check sole against drawing frewquently for size. If you want pointed toes, add those in the last row or two. Stitch down the cut end of the braid.

    Straps can be added several different ways. You can tablet-weave a short piece, leaving lots of warp on each end. Sew the woven edge to the heel and braid the warp for a toe-strap like a beach flip-flop.

    You can also thread faffia through the edges of the sole, and braid them for a strap.

    Some Egyptian sandals...

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