Who said you have to settle for the typical?! Did you know that you can…
For Valentines I decided to make something for a special couple I know. They work so hard for me all the time and deserve something cozy and warm! They are my feet. These Woolie & Furry Slippers are made from things I’ve up-cycled but you’d never know it…
I know it may be hard to find some genuine shearling but who doesn’t have an old pair of Uggs hanging around or even an old jacket?! I do also have some of the vintage pure virgin wool blankets as they are so thick and lovely to work with. They can be felted (maybe by accident) and were great to make mittens as well. Wool has so many great qualities, why let those blankets go to waste?!
I do not make slippers to save money, I make them because I am fussy about the design and wear. My feet deserve a good footbed as well as being warm & plush. Old footwear usually still has good soles. Even flip-flops and those grungy Birkenstocks would also work.
The Free Pattern:
This pattern has been tested by me and sized for my size 8.5 – 9 feet. I find that using different fabrics can have an effect on the sizing but since it is a middle seam it can easily be adjusted as well. As a sizing adjustment you may print it at slightly smaller sizes and compare to the size of your sole.
The best part of these slippers is that they are quite thick and substantial. I hate flimsy DIY slippers since I wear mine to a great extent. The Wool is doubled and stitched before exact cutting to the pattern. Rough cut larger 2 pieces of each of the sides per pair.
Free-Motion Sewing Fun:
Let me tell you that doodling with a sewing machine is much fun! Grab the fabric and swirl it under the needle, round and round or hearts; what ever design that catches your fancy. It’s my new way of drawing – with thread! The needed presser foot is a free motion pressor foot. (Do be aware of what type of machine you have for height of the shank). I’m lucky enough to own an old Swedish machine that’s about as old as I.
The presser foot gets lifted and lowered with each stitch so you can move it as you like since the feed-dogs get lowered. Tip; You can wear a pair of rubber gloves for better grip. It does not have to be perfect either…
Once sewn it becomes a lovely quilted thick felted wool and is very stable – perfect for slippers. Lovely hearts… for Valentines!
Cutting the pieces:
After the wool is free-motion quilted the pieces can be cut to exact pattern pieces. You may trace them with a marker for ease of cutting.
Trace out the sole pieces of shearling. If using pieces with seams make sure they are near the arch of the foot so it will not aggravate your ‘soles’.
Cutting Shearling or any fur is best from the skin side. I watched my mom carefully use a double-sided razor blade to cut fur when making hats as she was a milner. I have found that a scalpel works amazingly well. The fur then does not fly everywhere since it stays attached to the skin when pulled apart.
Using a strong needle and waxed thread follow a running stitch at the dashed lines, and then double back filling the opposite stitches. Wool is wonderfully easy to stitch and the shearling is not that tough. At the front curves of the foot ease the sides into the sole between the marks. The cozy fur should be facing up for the tootsies!
Slip stitch the fur strip around the opening as marked on the pattern. This will help keep the slippers snug to the feet since they are the mule type. I like the quick on/off as full foot ones get aggravating…
Once the 3 parts are assembled, test the size. If need be some stitching can opened and adjusted quickly.
Disassemble the repurposed shoes/sandals. Peel back and cut the leather off. The suede insole will work well for adhesion.
The Final Assembly:
For a very strong bond I use contact cement as it allows some working time. Use under well ventilated conditions as it has a lot of fumes. ‘But soles need be strongly attached! It works by applying to both surfaces and let dry, once they ‘meet’ they grab instantly so be careful to align them on the first try. You can also put a clean sheet of paper in between (called a slip sheet) to pull out when aligned. Apply firm pressure once aligned. This is what adheres your laminate to the kitchen counters…
I can never leave well enough alone… use up the scraps! Hearts of course. As they say it’s the little things…
Yes, they may just be slippers… but maybe it shows my age; happy feet are the best! Oh how cozy and shearling (especially up-cycled) can’t be beat.
These will get you more reaction than a box of chocolates… just saying! Or just pamper yourself! My feet are thanking me right now. Happy making!