Since my car was at the mechanic’s for a couple of days this week I turned my attention towards homemade gifts. In particular I’ve had a wool sweater that I’ve been wanting to upcycle into slippers. I’ve had this sweater for so long that I can’t even remember where it came from. I was going to get rid of it when I realized that it was 100% wool and could be felted. Felting is simply the process of washing the garment in hot water to tighten and shrink the fibers. This allows the sweater to be cut up and not unravel. Debra and I have used old wool sweaters to make pillow covers and candle cozies in the past (maybe we’ll post about these in the future). But, this week I really needed gifts and gifts for men in particular so I decided to see if I could make slippers. It turned out to be easier than I thought. Here are the steps in case you would like to try it with one of your sweaters:
100% wool sweater
coordinating or contrasting wool yarn for sewing slipper together
large needle for yarn
craft paper (or scrap paper) for making pattern
1. Wash the sweater in hot water along with other garments. Dry on medium high heat. Repeat as necessary.
2. Getting an accurate size is probably the most challenging part of this project. I used one of my husbands shoes to trace a pattern. It would have been better to have traced his actual foot as these slippers ended up being a little too big for him. But, I was hoping to use them as a gift so thought it would be a little suspicious if I asked to trace his foot.
3. To get a pattern for the top part of the slipper, simply trace about an inch larger than the sole, coming straight out the back with extra room for the heal.
I made rectangular cut-outs on the top of each slipper as you can see in the photo above.
4. Starting at the tip of the slipper, stitch down one side and then come back to the tip and stitch the other side. I used a simple whip stitch. You could experiment with different kinds of stitches but this worked for me.
5. I completed the heal last and needed to trim off some of the excess in order for it to fit together properly. I then stitched straight up the back of the slipper.
6. To finish the slipper off, I simply turned the edge under and whip stitched all the way around. I experimented with other cuffs but this seemed to be the simplest and looked the best.
Hope you try this project. It was so simple and fun. Plus, if you accidentally shrink your favorite sweater, all is not lost – it can be upcycled into you next favorite pair of slippers!