Up-cycled & Felted Sweater Slippers




About: We moved to the Crowsnest Pass 10 years ago to start our own business. We now have two little boys (and a girl!) and a thriving coffee shop. We are both DIYers and enjoy renovating our home.

This was a fun, gratifying and pretty quick project made from thrifted sweaters.  This would make a great last-minute gift, as they went together in no time. They are slouchy, homely and hard to resist on a chilly day, and would be equally appreciated by both guys and girls.


Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You will need a wool sweater (or two if you want your slippers multi-coloured), some wool yarn to attach the soles to the uppers, and a darning needle. I made a pattern for the foot with some newspaper.

I found a 100% wool sweater and washed & dried it several times to felt it. The fibres seized up and got worked together so tightly that it really changed the texture of the sweater completely. The other sweater was wool, but the percentage was unreadable (old sweater, old tag) and it did not felt at all.  As you'll see, I used the thick and plushy felted sweater for the soles, and the other wool sweater for the uppers.

Step 2: Make Your Pattern

I had intended on giving these as a gift if they turned out, but didn't know the shoe size of the recipient.  I traced about 3/4 of an inch around the outside of my foot.  The slippers are a smidge too big, but not much, so if you are making yourself a pair, keep pretty close to your actual foot size.  Having never made these before, I really didn't know how much wiggle room I'd need; turns out, not much.

Step 3: Make One for the Other Foot

I labelled them, although it was pretty obvious which was which. 

Step 4: Cut Out Soles

To get the most flat and useable area out of my sweater, I sliced up the seam under the arm of each sleeve. I laid the sleeve out flat and cut two pieces of the sole out of one sleeve. I put them together and decided that each slipper would have two layers of this scrummy felted sweater as sole. Cut two for each foot. 

Step 5: Match Up the Soles

I put the two pairs together and made sure they were the same size and trimmed any uneven areas.

Step 6: Get Your Other Sweater

There are likely a dozen or more ways you could do this. My original plan was decidedly more complicated. When I went to cut up the other sweater, I saw the perfectly good cuff of the sleeve and thought, 'how handy to be able to use that and avoid any hand or machine sewing, or any other monkey business'. Lo and behold, I had this super-awesome idea to cut the sleeve and simply sew the sleeve onto the sole. 

I started by cutting the sleeve off at the shoulder. Then I put my foot in the cuff from the 'hand' end. I pulled it up to roughly where I'd want it, if the slippers had been for me; mid to low calf.  I then sliced across the sleeve on the diagonal. The angle you slice it at will depend on your shoe size.  This is not precise and it really doesn't have to be. When you pin your upper to your sole, you can stretch where you need to, to make it work.

Step 7: Start Pinning

I really hate pins and rarely pin if I can get away with it. This is not one of those times. Get out your pins and beginning at the heel, pin the seam of the sweater sleeve you cut off, to the middle of the heel on the sole. Try to match up the edges the best you can.

Then go to the toe and place one pin there, pinning the upper to the sole.

Work your way around the remainder of the slipper, stretching where you need to. The sweater I used had a bit of give, as it had not felted. If you end up using a felted sweater for this step, you may need to work it and stretch it out to persuade it to do what you want it to!

Step 8: Repeat With the Other Slipper

Get your second slipper to the same point. Mass production, people!

Step 9: Get Ready to 'blanket Stitch'

I used cotton yarn, as it was all I was able to procure in my small town. I'm not a knitter and don't have a stash, but if I was, I would have used real wool for this step. The cotton really dragged as I sewed, and I think the cotton and the wool of the slippers reacted to eachother like the hooks and loops of velcro. 

So if at all possible, use wool yarn for this step. Pull off a very long piece (1 1/2-2 metres) to avoid having to knot part way through and beginning again with a new piece. It's a little unwieldy at first, but after a while you get a rhythm going and it's no biggie.

Begin by burying your knot in between the two layers of sole. Then bring your needle back to the sole, go up about 1/8" from the edge, through all three layers and come out the top, also 1/8" from the edge, but to your left 1/4" or so.  Now, put your needle back through the sole and up through the three layers, but you want to 'catch' the loop of the yarn. This is really awfully hard to explain and even document by photo by myself. I've included a picture with more detail. (I know it's upside down! I stitch right to left, so this image is most helpful, in my opinion!)

You could also just whip-stitch them together, but it wouldn't look half as smart. But I don't want to sound like a snob or anything. Rather than dissuade you altogether from making them, whip-stitch would work fine! :)

Step 10: Continue Around the Slipper

Working carefully to be sure the stitch lengths are the same, all neat and tidy, continue around the slipper.

Step 11: Hide Your Knots

Once you have blanket-stitched your way around the slipper. slip the needle through to the inside and knot your yarn a few times as close to where the upper and sole meet as you can. Feeling a knot while lounging would be ultra-annoying, no?

Step 12: Try on Your Plush New Slips!

The soles are so soft and squishy, it's like walking on a cloud! They felt so cozy the minute I put them on.  They may be a touch on the granola side, but they could  be dolled up with some easy embroidered daisies.  They could also be made non-slip with some puff paint on the soles.  



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    20 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is by far the easiest pattern I have found. I especially appreciate that the upper part of the slipper can be made using a sweater that won't felt correctly. I plan to make my first pair just for me in case they don't turn out so great. Then, I plan to make a pair for my 21 year old daughter and 18 year old son for Christmas!

    Thank you so much!


    3 years ago

    These are great! Best slipper instructable here. i'm definitely going to make some for the family.


    4 years ago

    It's creative but the stitching is a little unappealing. I think you could have flipped the fabric inside out and stitch on the wrong side and flipped it back so the stitches would be concealed.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    i have to tell you, this is my favourite instructable ever. i want to make them, but i don't have any feltable wooly jumpers. :(


    7 years ago on Step 12

    Great work. My husband just shrunk one of my wool sweaters, think I'll try it. My feet are always cold. Thanks for the info.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Old shrunken wool sweaters are very easy to find at Goodwill etc. Look in the kids' section, where you can find adult sweaters that shrank and are now very tightly woven. Also in adult sizes that say Large, 2XL, etc, but are obviously quite small. This is such a great project!

    Made a pair here too. Used old blue jeans for the sole (double layer with some felt between 'em). Amazingly good at keeping the cold from coming through the bottom on my concrete floors. Didn't get them sized quite right though, I never was that great with sewing projects. Thanks for the great idea.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I thought about this for a while now and even checked my closet. I couldn't find the right supplies, so I'll buy some cheap sweaters for this project. I couldn't come up with a better christmas present for my wife :-)

    One question though:
    Did you do anything to the cut out parts to prevent fraying of the fabric (I hope I used the proper word), like sewing around the soles first to hold them together properly?

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If you can find some real wool sweaters at the thrift store (you shouldn't have any problem, you could probably even find some already felted, lol! And that's why they're there) and felt them, they won't unravel the way a sweater normally would. Felting in the washing machine binds the fibres together. They seize up and tangle and essentially become more like fabric, than something stitched together. It's kind of hard to explain. In any case, when you cut the pieces out, if the sweater's been properly felted, it won't unravel. The blanket stitch around the edge holds it all together and covers the raw edge.
    Go you! Good luck! :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the hints.
    I only have a week left and due to the family mostly being at home, I think I'll only be able to work at night when everyone is asleep.
    So yesterday on my way home from work, I bought some kind of a fleece sweater. So far the edges didn't really fray much, and yes, I think once everything comes together, it'll work :-)
    I'm having a hard time though pinning the stuff down.
    I tried onc and found out that I have to cut the sleeve in steeper angle to get more leeway. I couldn't stretch the fabric as much as I wanted. Now it seems ok, but I had to take out the pins again as my family is coming home soon, and I don't want them to see. It would certainly spoil the surprise.
    I also have to get some good yarn. The stuff we have at home is for machine sewing and therefore too fine.

    Ok, I have to pick up my little one. I'll continue tonight.

    Thanks for this great idea again, it's really the best for a gift to my wife I could think of :-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I made it. For a guy who's mostly into electonic gadgets or wood working,I found it fairly easy to do this one. I think the slippers came out great and I can hardly wait to see my wife's reaction on christmas eve.
    I must admit though, that due to the uncommon work with needles, my left thumb and my right hand's index and middle finger hurt a bit. Somewhere in the middle of making the second slipper I thought about giving it a rest and to continue another day. But I'm glad I went all the way through. I even tried one slipper on, and due to its strechiness, I could get my foot in ;-) and I didn't even break it. Cool project, thanks again.


    7 years ago on Step 12

    My wife would love them (maybe I too). I think this would be an awesome christmas present for her cold feet :-)
    Now I just have to find some old sweaters.


    7 years ago on Step 12

    awesome! i recently "found" a bag of old wool sweaters i saved a few years ago for some unknown project. this is it, thanks!

    I love this. My husband has a thick sweater that is now too big and too nice material to toss. So it would make great slippers. I cant felt it, but maybe I can find one for the bottoms like you did.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'll have a pair if your offering ;) hehehehe


    8 years ago on Step 12

    These look SO cosy. A great way to use an old sweater that's been a favourite that you can't chuck out!

    So clever!! Well done. Thanks for sharring!!! BTW, I am a size 6 and I like red (just kidding-I do intend to make my own by following your brilliant Instructable over christmas hollidays)

    1 reply