Lovely warm and soft, these shoes (or slippers if you prefer) began as an accidentally shrunken wool sweater. Shrunken, often high quality wool sweaters, end up in thrift and consignment stores on a regular basis. They also tend to cost very little, so all in all they make perfect material candidates for any felt related projects. (For my original post about these visit UncommonCate's Upcycled Sweater Shoes).
Step 1: Materials
Tools and Materials:
- Needle and heavy-duty thread
- Pen and paper for patterning
- One to two felted wool sweaters
Felt is wool fibers that have been locked together. This is accomplished by rubbing wool together with soap and hot water. So when a sweater in the washing machine it becomes felt. It shrinks because the fibers have pulled together and become more dense.
Step 2: Patterning
I began with two wool sweaters that had been washed in a washing machine until they were fully felted. Both were good and thick which makes for a warmer and more durable material. Depending on the size of the sweater and the size of your feet, you may only need one sweater.
The mid-sole is simply a tracing of a foot. The front upper is made by laying a piece of paper over the foot and tracing around the edges. Cut the sole out of the slightly thicker of the two sweaters because the sole gets more wear, and then flipped the pattern over and cut out the other sole. It’s important to remember to flip the pattern over when cutting out a left and right of anything. I forget and end up with two of the same side sometimes, which is always ridiculous.
Step 3: Uppers and Mid-Sole
So to begin, its best to begin at the toe and work around to one side, then return and start at the toe again and work to the other side. Otherwise, if something shifts along the way, the toe of the upper may not line up with the toe of the shoe, making the shape distinctly unlike a foot and therefore uncomfortable to wear. I like to use a saddle stitch for strength and stability, but a regular running stitch will also work fine.
Step 4: Back Upper
The back is a rectangle. Cut the rectangle a little long and a bit wide because its easy to trim it down to the right size at the end. Sew the back on, starting at the middle of the heel and then working to the side. When you arrive at the front upper, sew the back upper to the sides of the front upper, and repeat the process on the other side. Trim the excess and fold down the top of the back upper.
Step 5: Out Sole and Finish
To make the shoes more durable, adding a leather sole can be a very nice touch. Simply cut a sole out of the same pattern as the felt sole and stitch on, following the stitching line that holds the upper and the felt sole together.