Ever noticed how shoe liners (especially boots) tend to start curling and creeping around and just plain getting uncomfortable? My wellies were driving me nuts and I figured, with the cold weather approaching those of us dwelling in the Northern climes, thick boot liners were called for!
Though I'd been thinking of them for a while, I did these liners on the spur of the moment so I just used whatever I had lying around. I am a squirrel though, it must be said, so what I have "lying around" you may well have to go shopping for.
They came out brilliantly though; soft, comfy and warm; and only took an hour including time spent scrounging round for materials so if you gather everything together before you start, you could be done in about 45mins. So don't ditch the boots just because the inners have come away (or completely fall out like mine did) knock up a pair of these to proudly display to your nearest and dearest...preferably before you wear them...or better yet, take a picture!
Step 1: Gather Your Gear
My wellies (gum boots, wellingtons or whatever they're aka) are day glo pink so I hunted through my fabric scraps for something to match/complement the colour. I found some bright green felt and a sheet of deep green foam so I settled on those with some bright pink embroidery thread for fun.
What you'll need:
Your boot insoles
Felt fabric in your colour of choice (enough to make two layers each for both feet)
Craft foam, again in whatever colour you like, enough for one layer per foot
scissors, pen, glue (fabric/pva/bostic etc)
Needle and strong thread.
Step 2: Let's Get Started
Start by drawing round the insoles onto the foam. Cut out the foam and make sure the insoles match as near perfectly as possible. Then draw around your insoles onto the felt that's been doubled over, so you'll end up with 4 pieces.
Pin round the inside of the shapes to hold the layers together. Cut out the insoles.
Make sure that all the insoles match and remove the pins. Now is a good time to try one with all three layers in your boot to make sure it's not too thick, fits well and feels comfy. If not, make any adjustments necessary including trimming them if too long/wide etc.
I noticed that it was easier to get my foot in and out with the foam layer on top as it wasn't as grabby as the felt.
Once you're happy with the fit, layer them as you wish. I decided on the felt layers together with the foam on top. Start assembling them by putting a thin layer of glue on the bottom layer and attaching it to the middle layer. Put some glue on the top layer and attach to the middle layer, sandwiching it in nicely. The glue will hold the layers together while you sew them without the need for pins.
Repeat for the other boot liner.
Step 6: Start Sewing!
Select a needle with a long eye that's quite narrow; enough to hold three strands of embroidery thread but still pass through all the layers easily. Separate the strands of your embroidery thread, or cut three lengths of ordinary sewing cotton. Thread these strands through your needle carefully and pull it halfway down the length. Tie a knot in the longer length of the strands.
Start sewing by pushing the needle through from the underside of the foam layer. This will trap the knot inside and feel more comfortable. And it looks pretty. Even if you and your feet are the only ones looking at it.
Sew a basic running stitch about 5mm in from the edge, keeping the stitch length even, with slightly smaller, shorter stitches round the heel which will suffer the most strain.
It must of course be said that you could do this with a machine, but unless you have one out and ready to use all the time, it really is easier and quicker to do this the old fashioned way.
To finish off (or stop to add new thread as I had to) push your needle through to the middle layer, catch a bit of the middle layer and pull through, and then catch the same bit again but don't pull your needle all the way through, leaving a small loop.
Put your needle through this loop a couple of times in the same direction and pull gently. It will knot against the fabric. Secure it tightly and snip off the thread. Admire the beauty of your handiwork, revelling in the mastery of a new sustainable craft Muhahahaha!
Step 8: Nearly Done...
Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other liner and then determine which side up you want your liners. Pop them in your boots (be sure to photograph them first as a lasting memory and testament to your sewing prowess) and enjoy them for a long time!
I don't know exactly how long because I've only just made mine, but I reckon at least one season's wear. And if they last longer, great! If not, it wasn't exactly like training for space exploration now was it? Just make some more next year!