Introduction: Tank Slippers

About: Engineer from the Netherlands. Projects in 3D printing, electronics, prop making, sewing and whatever interests me. (If you have a pressing question go to my site and ask it there. I am way more likely to an…

In this Instructable I will be sewing a pair of Tank Slippers. These are warm slippers in the shape of a tank. The original concept has been done a lot for crochet (google it), but I have no intention of learning crochet and I do want to have a pair. Now I have a little experience with sewing, but this is something I am slowly learning. I would love to have more experience before starting, but winter is coming in the Netherlands, so I gave it my best shot.

I will give the disclaimer that I am no expert or intermediate at sewing. All you will see in this Instructable is me learning as I go and trying my best. I will also not discuss any techniques in this Instructable. I am convinced that other people will be more qualified to do that. Also I do not know all the jargon, especially not in English, so forgive me if I use a term wrong.

Step 1: What You Will Need

For materials you will need:

  • Fleece in the colors of your liking. I used:
    -Green (80cm x 140cm should be enough)
    -Black (at least 10cm x 140cm, I only used double sided black and white fleece because black was out of stock)
  • Real faux leather (a strip 15cm x 70cm should suit most people). Real is also an option;
  • Thread in the colors of your fabric (Green and black);
  • Fiber fill or some other comfortable stuffing;
  • (Optional, fabric glue);

For tools you will need:

  • A sewing machines;
  • A sharp pair of scissors;
  • Pins;
  • A needle;
  • (a printer capable of A3 to print the template);

Step 2: The Design

The design of the outside of this tank slipper was made in Solidworks (Yes, Solidworks). It is a tool I know well and this is one of the rare sewing projects I would consider it for. The Inner shoe is roughly based on a pair of slippers I own.

You can download the pattern in the attachments.

The design is made to be printed on A3 paper. There is some space around most edges to increase the size of the design. Decreasing the size should be easy.

The size of the design is around 44 European men's. This is US men's 11, around 27.9cm long (11ish inches). A conversion chart in European men's size, percentage and US men's size:

  • 39, 84%, 6
  • 40, 87%, 7
  • 41, 91%, 8
  • 42, 93%, 9
  • 43, 97%, 10
  • 44, 100%, 11
  • 45, 103%, 12
  • 46, 105%, 13
  • 47, 108%, 14

I would like to go further, but the chart I found ends here.

All parts are sewn with green wire that matches the green fleece. Except to part of the track, where the seam will be visible and the fleece is black. This is sewn with black wire.

Step 3: Cutting the Fabric

First cut out the template. The template does not include sewing allowance.

To cut the fabric you can pin the paper template piece on the fabric. Then cut the piece out using a sewing allowance of between 0.5cm and 1cm. The exact amount is not important, as long as you sew the pieces with this allowance. Fleece does not fray much and is easy to sew. Try to keep the parts separate. Some parts look similar but are not.

To make 1 (ONE!) slipper you will need:

  • 1x Sole (rectangular);
  • 1x Back (rectangular'ish);
  • 1x Top/Front (rectangular'ish);
  • 2x Side (rectangular'ish, one of each, they are mirrored);
  • 1x Turret Side (rectangular, spread on 2 pages, glue together);
  • 1x Turret Top (Round'ish);
  • 1x Sole (Foot shaped)
  • 2x Side (clog shaped, one of each side of the paper. 1 normal, 1 mirrored)
  • 2x Track Outside (rectangular'ish);
  • 2x Track Inside (rectangular'ish);
  • 2x Track (rectangular, spread on 2 pages, glue together)

  • 4x Tank (round)
  • 2x Tank (rectangular)
  • 2x Barrel (round)
  • 1x Barrel (rectangular)
  • 2x Fender (rectangular)

Step 4: Sewing the Inner Shoe

For the inner shoe you will need the pieces marked 'side' shaped like a shoe and 'sole'. For 'side' you will need 2 mirrored pieces.

The first step is sewing the inner shoe. This part is actually where you put your foot in. I made it from fleece, but if you can find something as stretchy that is a bit tougher, I advice that.

The 2 mirrored sides of the shoe need to face each other with good side. Both back and top edge are sewn. The sole can now be aligned with the shoe with the good side facing in. Make sure that you space the sole correctly and sew it to the shoe.

This part does not need to be folded inside out. The orientation is correct this way.

Step 5: Sewing the Tank Body

For the tank body you will need the pieces marked 'sole', 'side' shaped rectangular, 'top/front', 'back', 'turret side' and 'turret top'

Take the sole, good side up and place the top/front and back piece on both ends, good side down. Sew the edge. Then take both sides and place them round side facing top/front, good side in. The pointy bit needs to point to the back. Sew both sides to the sole. Last, sew all edges between the front, sides and back.

Take the turret side and and place the edge to the middle of 'back'. This way the seam will be on the back. Sew the turret side all the way around the opening. Sew the edge between both ends of the turret side and cut to length if necessary.

Take the turret top and pin it in the middle of the turret. Sew a small piece to get it stuck, then sew both sides of the top until you run out of fabric on the top.

Step 6: Sewing the Tanks

For the tank, you will need 2 sets of: 1 rectangular 'tank' and 2 round 'tank' pieces.

Sewing the tanks is tricky, mostly because they are so small. Other than that, they are fairly straight forward.

Fold the fabric double on the long side so the good side faces inward. Then sew the edge of the tank wall. Place the lid in one of the openings and sew the edge. Repeat this with the other lid, but keep 2-3cm open near the seam.

Fold the tank inside out through this hole. Then fill the tank through this hole with fiberfill or something else. When the tank is filled, stitch the hole of the tank. The stitches will be hidden by the fact that the tank is mounted to the main body with the seam.

Step 7: Sewing the Barrel

For the barrel you will need 1 rectangular 'barrel', and 2 round 'barrel' pieces.

The barrel is actually the same as the tanks, with one difference. The barrel needs to be folded on the short side. Other than that, the steps are the same.

Step 8: Sewing the Tracks

For the tracks, you will need 'track inside', 'track outside' and 'track' in black fleece,

First you will need to sew the black track to the inside. The black track needs to face the good side of the fleece with the black side. The black track will most likely be too long. Start sewing in the middle of the inside, so you will have a seam you can put at the bottom of the slipper. Sew the track around the inside. Then join both ends of the track and cut the excess.

Fold the assembly with the right side out. Then create fold of around 0,5cm in the black track. Sew this folded piece on the seam to create a nice protruding hem. I used black wire to hide the seam here.

Fold the track inside out again and sew the track outside to the assembly. Keep a 3-4cm gap near the seam of the track.

Fold the track inside out through the hole. Fill the track with fiber fill using the hole. When you are satisfied with the track, stitch the hole.

I did find that the tracks bulged a bit. This was expected, but was still somewhat annoying. You can add cardboard or a stronger fabric to reduce the bulge. Ultimately, I chose to accept it for simplicity, but anyone more experienced giving this a go might want to add improvements here.

Step 9: Sewing the Fenders

For the fender you will need the rectangular piece named 'fender'.

I see the fenders as an optional addition. It will still look like a tank with them. You can choose to leave them off if you want to.

Fold both short sides with the good side in and sew the edges. Then fold the strip lengthwise with the good side in and sew the whole edge.

Fold the tube inside out. To flatten the fender, the fender can be sewn through the middle, over the existing seam. This will make it flatter, but will also add a line to the middle. Ironing might also flatten them, but I have no iron.

Step 10: Assembling the Tank

To assemble a slipper you will need, the main body, a barrel, 2 threads, 2 tanks and 2 fenders. All steps require you to stitch pieces to the body. I used fabric glue as a safeguard to keep the parts in place, but stitching alone should be enough.

Fold the main body right side out. Position the tanks on the back, with the seams facing in.

In the tracks to the body and fold the body (with tracks and tanks) inside out. Now you can fully stitch the tracks to the body.

Turn the body right side out again and stitch the barrel to the front of the turret. Alternatively you can stitch the barrel to the body further down the length to secure it, but I have not done this (yet).

Sew the front edge of the inner shoe (sew, not stitch) with the 2 good sides facing each other. Fold the shoe inside the slipper. Now with your foot in the slipper, add fiberfill in all places until the slipper feels right.

Attach the fenders to the body, right above the tracks. You could chose to do this before filling the slipper, but I found it difficult to find the fender from the inside. I chose to stitch it from the outside using the green thread.

Last, once everything is right, fold the edges in and sew the shoe to the tank body. Use the same color to make the seam not stand out too much.

You now have one fully functioning tank slipper. Repeat this Instructable once to get another one, and enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of pluche tanks on your feet.

Step 11: Final Thoughts

Some great properties of the tank slippers:

  • Shaped like tanks;
  • Warm;
  • Fuzzy;
  • Comfy;
  • Shaped like tanks;
  • Fuel tanks on the back are nice cushions for resting feet;
  • Shaped like tanks!;

Some less great points:

  • The fabric bulges a bit in the flat areas;
  • The slippers are a bit wide big for walking naturally (at least for me);
  • The slippers are a bit too big (I aimed for 43, but got around 45); I corrected this in the size chart.
  • The inner shoe does slide (I might stitch it to the sides;
  • The amount of fabric between foot and floor is a bit thin (Double up on the sole?);
  • The barrel flops around (I might stitch it to the tank);
  • More details in the treads and the barrel might be nice. They are a bit bland.

All in all I like the project and the result. I hope to give it another try later, when I have a bit more experience. Until then I hope to be wearing these.

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