Sunday, 7 February 2016

Slippers and slip-ups

Over the years I've had a few attempts at making slippers - with mixed results! I seem to have a bit of a mental block when it comes to sizing with footwear. It always comes up larger than intended. (Look out for a future post about some crocheted socks.....)

My first attempt at slippers was using a pattern from Sew magazine ( At the time I didn't have a printer, so using a downloadable pattern was a bit of a problem. I came up with the ingenious idea of tracing the pieces off the screen. If you are ever tempted to try this - DON'T! I got a perfect slipper pattern, but it made up a pair of size 10 slippers! Even lining them with a fleecy fabric wasn't going to make them fit. Luckily, my brother has size 10 feet, so guess what he got for Christmas that year?

Length-wise they fitted him, but they were a bit on the wide-side. I adapted the pattern for myself (by reducing the length accordingly), and made myself a pair very similar to those pictured. They were a bit wide on me too, but they served well for a couple of years. I eventually wore holes through them. Incidentally, the outer fabric for both pairs was recycled from an old pair of chinos. Not only was I impressed by their longevity as footwear, they were not in the least slippery to wear. No sliding across the kitchen floor at inopportune moments!

When I eventually wore them out, I opted to design a new pair to make for myself. I combined some ideas I had got from watching both Debbie Shore and Jenniffer Taylor make their own slippers. I really should have paid more attention! Once again they came up a bit large.

Having drawn around my feet (honestly! How can they be too big when my own body was the template?!), I cut two pieces for each sole, with a further two slightly smaller pieces to give the soles some rigidity. I stitched the smaller pieces to the bases with a series of circles, to try and give some grip.

I then attached the upper piece of the sole - what would become the insole.

For the tops of the slippers, I measured across the top of my foot and, from that crossing line, down to my toes. Having added seam-allowance, and connected all these measurements with a curved line, I used this pattern piece to cut out two shapes for each slipper. Stitched together across the straight edge, I then needle-felted the flower pattern onto one side of each slipper top. The general shading was done with wool roving, with the definition, details and highlights done with leftover knitting yarn. When all the decoration was complete, it was just a case of folding the uppers along the seams, and stitching them onto the soles.
I really like that this design can be tidied up with a pair of scissors after all the stitching is complete - but on this occasion not enough to re-size them effectively! Thank goodness for thick socks.

One last thing about this pair - they are made out of a felt-like fabric (left-overs from previous makes that you might recognise). This fabric does slide across the kitchen floor! I attempted to remedy this by drawing horizontal stripes across the soles with "Fray Check". This provided a little help, but not a total solution. Over time (and with a lot of careful waddling around the house), the soles of these slippers have picked up a patina that means they are no longer so slippery. Either that or I have started permanently waddling like a duck, and no-one has told me!

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