Felting a pair of slippers is a great sewing project to reuse a favorite old sweater that’s been destroyed by moths. With a washing machine, felting is easy to do yourself at home, and these bootie slippers can be sewed in less than an hour. Use a Fair Isle or border print sweater and incorporate the design into the slipper tops for a unique and special pair of do-it-yourself slippers.
Supplies for Felted Slippers
Brown paper grocery bag for pattern
Scissors, thread, needle, pins, measuring tape
Two plastic bags
Pre-Felt the Sweater
The first step in making felted slippers is to partially felt the sweater. This is your chance to disobey every washing instruction you’ve ever heard about sweaters. Run it through the washing machine using hot water and heavy agitation, and then tumble dry. The heat and agitation will cause the fibers to bond together. This is do-it-yourself felting. The dried sweater will be much smaller and partially felted.
Create a Felted Slipper Pattern
Cut open the grocery bag and lay flat. Trace, and then cut around the sole of one foot, leaving an extra ½ inch around the entire foot for a seam allowance. This will be the sole of the slipper.
Next, create the slipper sides and top. Measure across the instep of the foot, over the top, and divide that number by 2. Remember this measurement! Put your foot sideways on the paper and trace it in profile up to the ankle bone. Mark the area of your arch. If your legs are not flexible it may help to have a friend trace your foot for you! Mark a dot on the paper at the level of the instep, above the top of the foot, at your remembered measurement. Draw a curve on the paper starting at the toe, blending the dot into the curve, and then blending into the ankle. The side part will look like your foot tracing with puffy feet. Cut out this piece and make a duplicate piece from the brown paper.
The third piece – the ankle portion – is a rectangle and does not need a pattern.
Cutting out the Slippers
Pin the three pattern pieces – two sides and one sole – to the felted sweater, and cut the pieces out. This will give you two mirror image soles, and two sets of slipper sides. Cut two rectangles 3 inches wide by 12 inches long for the ankle portion of the slippers.
Sewing the Felted Slippers Together
With wrong sides facing, stitch a pair of slipper tops together along the straight back heel seam. Stitch the top center seam and press open. Insert the slipper sole into the bottom, pin in place and stitch around the sole. Try the slipper on and bring the seam in a little if needed to tighten up the top for a comfortable and slightly loose fit.
Pin a rectangle to the top of the slipper and pin in place. Stitch to the top of the slipper to create a band around the ankle. Trim the extra and close the seam in front. Trim all seams. Repeat with the other slipper parts to make the second slipper.
Felting the Slippers, Stage Two
Dip the slippers in the hottest water you can stand, and put them on your feet, being careful not to burn yourself. Put plastic bags over your feet. Rub the slippers vigorously. This will help them to further shrink and fit your feet better. As the slippers cool, dip them in hot water again and repeat. When the slippers fit comfortably, slide your feet out and allow the slippers to dry on a drying rack. Your custom felted slippers are finished!