Thursday, 22 November 2012

My Make Do And Mend Year: Handmade Slippers

Hello Vintage lovers,

Two months into My Make Do and Mend Year, and I know you are all desperate for another update! For the uninitiated, My Make Do and Mend Year is a challenge I have set myself to buy nothing new for a whole year (with a few obvious exceptions, like pants.) It started on the 1st September this year, and so far I have been Making, Making Do, Mending, Thrifting, Re-loving etc with gay abandon.

Highlights this month include:

  • My first mistake (more of a lowlight really)-I bought a new book. Completely by accident, when my brain was caught napping. I was mortified.
  • My first ever radio ‘appearance’-BBC Radio Wiltshire very kindly featured My Make Do and Mend Year on their mid morning show with the lovely Mark O’Donnell
  •  A visit to The Bristol Vintage Fair-I enjoyed a lovely afternoon on my birthday weekend, having a mooch around The Bristol Vintage Fair perusing all the vintage loveliness. I may have even purchased a couple of things (!) and I got to meet the lovely Gina, of The Vintage Fair blog fame.

Now I'm sorry to interrupt the update guys, but Jen has been making some fab things on her challenge and one of the more unusual ones is a home made pair of slippers! I thought this was so odd (yet brilliant) that we would share Jen's tutorial with you all. 

You will need:

  • a wool jumper-has to be at least 80% wool, and keep an eye out for a handwash only symbol on the label. You will be (intentionally) shrinking it, so the last thing you want is something that has been treated to make it safe to machine wash)
  • some A4 paper and a pen
  • a ruler/tape measure
  • a marker pen
  • some scissors
  • a big needle
  • some wool-ideally in colour that match /complement your jumper
  • patches of suede or similar if you want to ‘non-slip’ the bottom-mine were from a charity shop suede skirt that I picked up for less than £5, and that will hopefully provide enough patches for all of our slippers

First, you need to felt your jumpers. This essentially means shrinking them. My understanding is that this is so that all the wool sticks together and won’t unravel when you cut it. Put your jumper into the washing machine on a hot wash. It helps if you put a pair of jeans or 2 in with it, as this bashes it about a bit more, and makes it felt better. I think I did 2 jumpers at the same time, with a pair of jeans, at 60C, with a normal speed spin etc. Then I laid them out flat to dry.

You need to take your paper and draw as best you can, around the shape of your foot. Then draw a kind of oval shape around your foot template going about 1cm wider around the sides and just a couple of mm above and below-hopefully the picture below will explain this better than I can:

For the upper pieces:
Draw around your foot again on a new piece of paper. Then draw a smooth curved line about 0.5-1cm above your toes-when you get to your little toe and your big toe continue the curve around and then draw a straight line vertically down to the bottom of the paper.
You then need to cut out a rectangle (this is where your foot will ‘emerge’ from the slipper)-mark about 3-3.5cm in from the edge of your straight lines at the bottom on either side. Then about 2/3 of the way up your foot shape, mark about 2.5cm in on wither side, and then join these points up to make a rectangle-again the picture below should help:

Now you are ready to cut out your fabric pieces!
Place your sole pattern piece on the wrong side of your felted jumper, draw around it with a marker pen, then flip the pattern piece over and repeat (to get a left and a right sole piece with the ‘pretty’ bit of your jumper showing on the outside)
Then place your upper pattern piece on the right side of you jumper and repeat the steps above so that you have a right and a left upper piece, with the nice pattern of your jumper (if it is patterned) showing on the upper side.
I wanted grippy bits in my sole pieces, as I was worried about skating around our tiled kitchen floor, and thought it would be a bit more hard wearing, so I cut 2 pieces out of suede skirt that were about 1cm smaller all around than my sole pattern piece.

Blanket stitch around the edge of the suede piece. If you never blanket stitched before, or even heard of the term blanket stitching, there is a You Tube video here (by Gulf Coast Cottage) which I think shows you far better than I could try and explain it!    I didn’t tie a knot in the end of my wool as I thought this might be uncomfortable to walk on, I just did a ‘normal’ stitch at the beginning and went over it about 3 times.
It is quite tough to go through all the layers at once with your needle, so if you are struggling, pull your needle all the way through the suede bit before trying to go into the woolly bit (does that make sense?)
Once you have done this for both soles and have 2 lined sole bits, basically pin the 2 left foot bits together (place your pins parallel to the join, not perpendicular), wrong sides together. On one of mine for some reason, I needed to stretch it slightly to get the side bits to meet at the back. So place a couple of pins at the toes and then see if your bits will meet at the back. If they won’t, then don’t panic, just stretch the wool slightly as you are pinning around and the 2 side bits should meet just fine. If on the other hand, you have too much fabric at the back after pinning, then you can simply cut a bit off each side so that they can be pinned without any overlap.
Repeat for the right foot.

Then you need to blanket stitch the two bits together.
At the beginning,I just did 2 or stitches on top of each other, but you could tie a knot, and then when you start just sew one stitch through only the top Then you need to blanket stitch the two bits together. At the beginning,I just did 2 or stitches on top of each other, but you could tie a knot, and then when you start just sew one stitch through only the top layer and then your knot would be buried in between the two layers of fabric.
Then you need to make trim bit for around the top of your slippers. Measure around the opening of your slippers. From the wastiaband bit of your jumper. Cut 2 strips that are about 2-3cm shorter than you just measured, and about 3-4cm wide. Then pin the trim piece to your upper piece right sides together, and sew together with matching wool, using a back stitch (You Tube video here from Expert Village). You have to really stretch out the trim piece as you are sewing to make it fit around and this then ensures that your foot hole is nice and snug and your slipper stays on. Then you just basically fold the trim bit upwards, et voila!
You can embellish your trim bit with buttons if you like, or just be lazy like me and leave it plain.

You can read all about what I have been up to in far too much detail on the blog:
or you can find me on Facebook by searching for My Make Do and Mend Year, or you can tweet me at @makeandmendyear

Thanks for reading!
Jen xxx

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