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Sewing Easy House Slippers

Sewing Easy House Slippers

I go through slippers pretty fast. I’m pretty much home all of the time, so I wear mostly slippers. I’ve tried purchasing expensive ones and cheap ones. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I spend for them, they start wearing out around three months. It’s not the soles that go, but the fabric. I wash them a lot. Air drying or machine drying – both methods take an equal toll on the slipper fabric.

Cue my last pair of slippers. When the fabric uppers finally separated from the rubber foam soles, I had it. I’m tired of plunking down $ every three months. So, I did what I do well and I studied the slippers really hard. Then, I got out my seam ripper and began to disassemble my ratty slippers. When I was finished I laid the pieces out on the table. Ironically, this one pair of slippers contained TWO rubber soles. One sole was sandwiched between the upper fabric and the bottom sole. Hmm…that means using the soles from the ONE pair of ratted out slippers, I could make TWO pairs of slippers.

The easiest way to sew new house slippers is to take apart an old pair and use the pieces as patterns. If you don’t have an old pair, never fear – I am going to show you how to do it.

What you need:

Rubber foam or old slipper soles to reuse
Paper & pencil
Tape measure
Straight pins
Fabric for slippers
Fleece or felt for slipper liners
Interfacing for slipper upper lining
Iron & ironing board
Sewing machine

To begin with, make your pattern pieces. You need 1 sole pattern (you can flip it over for right or left, so you only need 1), and a pattern piece for the slipper upper. You can download mine and adjust the size to your own foot (I wear a 7-7 ½) and print it out OR you can free-hand it by tracing around your foot like you used to when you were a kid making hand and feet prints in art class. If you don’t have an old pair of slippers to re-use the soles, like I did, you can find lightweight rubber foam at craft and/or sewing stores. You also might be able to find other sources like old placemats, etc.

The upper is an odd shaped piece that probably has a fancy shape name that Super Scientists know, but I am NOT a Super Scientist, so I will just call it a Slipper Upper pattern piece. Download, print, cut out. You can trace around it and make it bigger to fit your foot.

Cut a right and left bottom sole from the foam.

Cut a right and left bottom sole for a liner – use an old fleece blanket, mattress cover, towel. I used part of an old pressed fleece type mattress cover. The liner will go between the foam sole and the fabric.

Cut a right and left sole from the fabric you have chosen for your slippers.  You should now have 6 sole-shaped pieces of fabric/foam: foam sole, liner, fabric.

Now, you need to cut out the fabrics necessary to form the slipper uppers. For each slipper, cut 2 pieces of fabric that you have chosen for your slippers. I used a different fabric for the inside of my upper for variety. Cut 2 pieces of interfacing or fusible web interfacing or lightweight cotton. This lining will go between the outside and inside upper fabric to give the slipper upper some form. You will have 6 slipper upper shaped pieces of fabric when you are finished cutting.

The edging on the slipper can happen 1 of 3 ways: you can use pre-made double fold bias tape, you can make your own matching double fold bias tape, or if you have more advanced sewing skills you can go back and cut a sole pattern piece that is about 1-inch larger than the bottom rubber sole and fold the edges under over the liner and between the rubber sole.

To make your own double fold bias tape:

Measure around the bottom sole pattern piece with a tape measure. Add 3-inches. Cut 2 strips of fabric 2-inches wide by the measurement around the sole+3-inches Long. If you’re using pre-made bias tape, this is all you have to do for this step.

To create the double fold bias tape, with the print side of the fabric visible, fold each strip in half vertically and iron (you want a very sharp crease to go down the center of the entire strip). Open the creased fabric strips and position the strips so you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric (the “inside out” side). Now fold each vertical edge in until they align on each side of the center crease. Iron.  You now have a strip of double fold bias tape for each slipper.

Please refer to the photos as assembling the slippers is really quite simple. I don’t want to confuse things with too many words.

Assemble the slippers bottoms:

Place the rubber sole on the table. Place the liner (fleece, towel, etc) piece on top of the sole. Place the slipper fabric on top of the liner. Pin together.

Use the zigzag stitch on your machine to sew the 3 pieces together following the contours of the sole.

Using a ¼-inch seam allowance, straight stitch around the contours of the sole inside the zigzag. This provides added support on the seam and lets the slipper fabric lay better.  Set aside.

Assemble the slipper upper:

Place the interfacing on top of the wrong side of the fabric you have chosen for the inside of the slipper upper (the part that isn’t visible, but touches the top of your foot).

Fold the fabric top and bottom edges about ¼-inch over the interfacing and pin. Iron.

Place the pinned fabric/interfacing print side up onto the wrong side of the fabric of the slipper upper that will be visible when you are wearing the slipper.

Fold the top and bottom edges of the fabric that will be visible when you are wearing the slipper under ¼-inch, pinning the edges to the already pinned edges of the interfacing/inside slipper upper. The interfacing will be between the wrong sides of both fabric.

Using ¼-inch seam allowance and the straight stitch feature on your machine, sew along the top and bottom edges of each slipper upper. Remove the pins.

Assemble the slippers as they will look when you are wearing them. Fold the side edges of the slipper uppers under slightly and pin together.

Using up to ½-ich seam allowance (you judge depending on your fabric/placement, etc), and a straight stitch, sew the slipper upper sides to the slipper bottoms.

Slide the edges of the slippers into the fold of the double fold bias tape, pinning as you go around the contours of the slipper. When your bias tape ends meet again, cut to fit leaving 1-inch to fold under so there is no visible raw fabric. Pin.

Using the widest zigzag stitch, sew the bias tape to the slipper layers, making sure you are catching the tape beneath the bottom sole, removing the pins as you sew.

For advanced sewers, to skip the bias tape altogether, cut 1 sole pattern about 1-inch larger than the foam sole, snip the edges about ½-inch apart, following the contours, place the fabric sole on top of the lining, folding the snipped edges under and pinning. Sew, straight stitch or zigzag, the fabric, liner, and rubber sole together. Then sew and attach the slipper upper as directed.


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