Friday, January 22, 2010

cozy slipper tutorial-- part 2: making your slippers

Hey! If you like these slippers, you might wanna click here, 'cause I'm giving them away...

I hope my pattern tutorial didn't scare anyone away, because we're about to get to the fun part.

But first of all, a reminder: this tutorial is for personal (or charity-- contact me on that one) use only.

Wanna use my tutorial to make these for yourself? Your grandma/sister/b.f.f? Great!

Wanna use my tutorial to make some to sell?
Not cool.

Also, I'd be really flattered if you thought this tutorial was good enough to share. I love it when people link to me! You're even welcome to borrow a picture from the post you're linking to, but please keep my tutorial right here. Thanks, I knew you'd understand.

Now, on to the tutorial...

Here's what you'll need to make your very own pair of custom slippers:

*A pattern (click here for my slipper pattern tutorial)

*Some fabric for each component of your slipper:

-Upper- Mid to heavier weight fabrics seem to work the best: corduroy, denim,
suiting, etc. You could even use a felted sweater, which is what I used in this
tutorial, although it's thickness made it a little harder to work with. If you
want to use a lighter weight fabric, be sure to interface.

So far I've only used recycled fabrics: wool and corduroy from old pants and
the slippers for this tutorial from a felted sweater, so it's hard for me to say
how actual much yardage you'd need. Maybe a half yard?

-Lining- A medium to lightweight cotton. I used a thrifted sheet for this tutorial. Again,
maybe a half yard if you're buying? You'll need enough for two uppers and
two soles.

-Soles- You can use the same fabric as your upper, but if you have mostly hardwood floors
like me, you might consider something a little less slippery. Leather, real or
fake, is great. I used fake leather from an old purse for my poinsettia slippers,
and real leather for this tutorial from some scraps I had laying around.

*Padding (optional): my first few pairs of slippers were unpadded, and perfectly fine. But if you want to kick up the deluxe factor a couple of notches, you could pick up some cheap foam shoe inserts. (I got the most basic Dr. Scholl's inserts at Walmart for $0.97)

*1 yard of 1/4" wide elastic and a safety pin.

*about 2 yards of 1/4" double fold bias tape. You can use store bought or make your own (it's not hard to do!)

*Thread. Matching or contrasting-- whatever floats your boat.

Got all that? Alrighty right. Let's get this show on the road.

Step 1: Cut out your fabric pieces. You'll need two uppers from your main fabric, two uppers and two soles from your lining fabric, and two soles from your sole fabric of choice. Be sure that you don't cut two rights or two lefts. You want one of each, people.

You've got a couple of options here:

You could cut out half of your pieces with the pattern piece right side up, and then flip that pattern over for the other half.

Or, if the size and shape of your fabric allows, fold your fabric in half, right sides together and cut out the pieces for both feet at the same time.

I found it helpful to notch my pattern pieces. I cut a double notch on the "inside" of the soul pattern and the "inside" of the upper pattern, and a single notch on the "outside" of each pattern piece. If you cut these notches in the fabric, too, you'll have an easier time telling your right pieces from your left pieces.

It's probably obvious, but from here on out, you'll be doing each step twice. Once for each slipper.

Step 2: Grab your upper and upper lining pieces for one of the slippers. Lay them right sides together, lining the edges up neatly. Pin along the inside arc. Using a 4/8" seam allowance, sew along the inside arc, back stitching at each end.

Step 3: Trim your seam allowance to 1/4".

Step 4: Clip the inside curve of the seam allowance. Be very careful not to cut through the stitching!

Step 5: Now, open up your fabric at the seam you just sewed and match the heel edges together. Again, right sides together. Pin and stitch, using a 4/8" seam allowance. Don't forget to back stitch!

Step 6: Flip that baby right side out. You should now have wrong sides together and all of your unfinished seams on the inside. Press and pin around the inside opening. (I only bothered finger pressing with the felted sweater.)

Step 7: Sew a casing for your elastic, 4/8" from the inside seam, being sure to leave a 1" opening at the heel.

Step 8: Measure your elastic. I just eyeball it and go for 1 1/2 times the length of the inside curve on a folded slipper.

Step 9: Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic and feed it through the opening you left in your stitching. You'll have to go through the wrong sides of your slipper to access the opening. Push that safety pin all the way around the casing and back through to the beginning. Remove your safety pin, trim off a little elastic if you feel like it, and sew both end of the elastic together. Hand stitching is probably the easiest way to do this.

Tug a bit on the inside edge of the slipper to pull all of the elastic up into the casing. Stitch your 1" opening closed-- back stitch at both ends.

Now set aside your upper, and pull out your sole pieces...

Step 10: With your sole and sole lining, wrong sides together, pin and stitch around the edges, using a 1/8" seam allowance. (I just follow the edge of my presser foot). Leave a significant opening in the toe area so you can slip that cushioning in.

A word on your cushioning: at this point, cut the seam allowance off of your pattern piece, and use that to trim your shoe insert to size. For compensate for very thick shoe inserts, trim off a teeny bit extra.

Step 11: From this point on, it's easiest to use your zipper foot. Close the opening where you slipped the insert into your sole.

Step 12: Pin the upper to the sole, right sides inside. It's easiest to start at the heel and work your way up both sides before tackling the toe area. Don't fret if you have to pucker the upper a little to make it fit. And if you're working with leather or something else hard-t0-pin for the sole, be sure to use a thimble.

Sew, using a 4/8" seam allowance, then trim your seam allowance to 1/4".

Step 13: Open up your bias tape and attach it to the bottom edge of your slipper, lining the edge of the bias tape with the edge of the slipper-- you should have a crease on, or very near your seam stitching. Stitch along this crease. Remove your pins and fold the bias tape over towards the sole, folding the raw edge under at the nearest crease.

Step 14: Use a ladder stitch to invisibly attach the other side of the binding to the sole.

Now pat yourself on the back-- the inside of your slipper is as tidy and lovely as the outside!

The options for embellishment are (almost) unlimited. For these slippers, I couldn't resist a ruffle. I kind of have a thing for ruffles.

I hand stitched a long straight stitch down the center of a scrap strip of leftover material (about 1" x 6"), anchoring the stitches really well at the beginning. Then I pulled on my thread to gather my strip, anchored it on the other end, and hand stitched the ruffle on to my slipper.

I've also attached flowers to my slippers (pics here and here). I cut out two circles of a contrasting fabric-- one a little smaller than the other. Then I laid the smaller one on top and stitched a vintage button through both circles and the slipper.

I'd love to hear your ideas for other embellishments.

And if you use this tutorial to make some slippers, I'd be thrilled if you sent me a picture!


RyanSarahN said...

Thanks for the tutorial and pattern - i am definitely going to be trying these. I like how you made the inside nice with the bias tape, hadn't thought about that before. I think I will probably sew on a strap, mostly just for looks, mary-jane style. Also, I have seen a tip for making your soles non-slip - paint the bottoms with fabric paint - either dots, or a pattern, or word. Then if all of your other materials are ok, you can throw the slippers in the wash! (I'm not sure if the insert would wash or not - would have to check the packaging.)Thanks again - and good job on the tutorial!

Christie said...

Quote from Myles: You better get going. I want a pair of those!

Sarah. said...

So pretty...they look a little ambitious for my sewing skills, but I may have to try them anyway!

kermiefrg said...

These are adorable! I'd love to try to make some one day : )

Katie Cannon said...

This was my first time sewing something with a custom pattern. Thank you so much! I love my slippers- so great around the house! I used an old pair of jeans and an old jersey sheet and they are COMFORTABLE!

Here's a picture:

Kerri said...

These are amazing!
I'm totally going to make a pair (or two, or three) when I have time!
Thanks so much for sharing!

iamOLDLIB said...

These are great. Maybe I'll make a few pairs in varying colors depending on my mood, which can vary. Thanks for sharing.

Che Birba said...

Hi, I'm Laura from Italy! I have a blog and I'd wrote a post where is cited also your blog:

I'd like to invite you to visite my italian blog (on the column on righ there is the link for transalte my blog in numerous languages), bye bye Laura!

casserole said...

These are fabulous!! I just a couple of pairs of baby shoes for a friend's baby shower, and thought to myself how much I'd like to have an adult-sized version of them. With your tutorial, I can make them!

I blogged your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


kimhoay said...

Cute! i linked this tutorial in my blog!

e_donaldson said...

What a terrific tutorial! These look awesome and so comfy! Thank you so much for sharing!

- Elizabeth

banuca said...

What a sweet slipper, I lovvved it... I'll give a link at my blog for to share this beautiful with my friends...

Ginger said...

I loved this tutorial thank you for sharing it with us (You rock!)

SuZeFashion said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Can't wait to make myself a pair of slippers made to fit my own feet!

Steph said...

Thanks for all the kind comments everyone! I'm glad you've enjoyed this.

Ginger said...

4/8" seam allowance? Is that a joke? Most people would call that 1/2". lol

Steph said...

Not a joke Ginger. Normally, I do call 4/8" a half inch, but for some crazy reason when I'm sewing I can only think in terms of eighths. Or maybe it was that I was sleep deprived when I wrote this... (wink)

Anonymous said...

great tutorial! thanks!!!
i made a pair for my 2.5 year old, it translated well. she loves them.