Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jeff's Slippers

I have a student who has been trying to learn to sew and his project of choice has been slippers. He made a pair last year for a friend that has Multiple Sclerosis. A few weeks ago he contacted me to help him make another two pair for the same friend in time for her birthday next month.  His schedule unfortunately, became too demanding so he asked me to make them for him. These are the results. Aren't they cute! 

They were made from this pattern downloaded from the internet and is available on Here's the link:  J Howell Recycled Slippers

The body of the slippers are made from recycled wool sweaters that have been felted. Of course lots of other types of materials can be used, like fleece or regular woolens.  The pattern comes with the pattern pieces needed for several men's or women's sizes and instructions for both how to felt the wool and construct the slippers. 

Its a basic slipper design that works quite well but I would make a few modifications. Only the sole is lined so I would adjust the pattern so the upper is lined as well. It also doesn't include instructions for an interlining to cushion the sole, which I would add as well. But, other than that its a good pattern for a basic slipper. 

Jeff selected the fabrics which look ok, but weren't what I would have chosen. The upper on both pairs are made of recycled wool sweaters, one felted the other left as is. The brown pair features leather soles which worked out great. The grey ones used a suede like material, also a good choice.  What I really didn't like was his choice of material for the cuff and sole lining,. He purchased fake fur, one in ivory and the other in black. What an unbelievable mess these fabrics made. I have fur literally everywhere in my workroom and in and around my sewing machine!  The end results look pretty good, but neither fabric had the stretch or loft needed for a pair of slippers. 

The most difficult part of making them was dealing with the bulk the felted wool presents. Joining the upper with a back seam and adding a tag along that seam were particularly bulky.  Since the felted wool didn't fray I lapped the edges and stitch over it with a decorative stitch that literally fused the two fabrics together. 

The other issue I had was sewing with the leather. Pins became useless so I used binder clips to hold the layers together.  The added bulk combined with the leather also made it difficult to sew as the presser foot continued to stick. Fortunately my new sewing machine has a dual feed foot that solved the problem. Awesome feature!!