Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Furry Elf Slippers

In early November, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with my good friend Zelda, who is, among many things, a costume wizard extroidenaire.  I presented her with the idea of designing a pair of slippers, something whimsical with a turned up toe.  I was thinking of something you might see on an elf or gnome, large and comical, much bigger than regular shoes to exaggerate the size of your foot because big feet are funny, and adding extra padding makes the slippers warm.  Zelda helped me imagine how the tops should look, and I drew a few pictures.  We decided that faux fur was the best choice, for so many reasons, not the least of which is the yards and yards of it stashed high up in the closet, leftovers from previous coat projects. 
I have never sewed slippers before, but I was confident that if I wasn't afraid to cut up and waste a bunch of fabric, paper and tape, I could eventually figure out a pattern.  That's what it takes to make a pattern.  You also need a needle and thread, a seam ripper, scissors, pencils, and patience.   I also used my sewing machine. 
To start, I traced and measured my foot, and drew a paper pattern that I used to cut the ugliest mustard yellow quilting cotton.  Ew.  I sewed it together, ripped it apart, pinned it, resewed it, inked in the lines, ripped it all apart, and made a new pattern.  I did that whole thing again in a different but equally ugly piece of fabric.  Two tries done, I realized that I needed to work on the lining FIRST, and THEN use that to design the fur pattern with the curling toe.  I was doing it backwards.  So I made another draft, but this time of the lining, something that conformed to the shape of my foot.  The lining took me two rounds of drafts, and then one more draft for the fur.  I made many adjustments at each draft. 
And then FINALLY, I was ready to cut some fur.  I knew my pattern was still wonky and unlikely to meet my vision perfectly, but it was good enough to make slippers, and my feet were cold. So I made a blue pair which are super comfy, but I didn't include enough ease in sole, which caused the toe to only curl up halfway.   My sister wanted them, so I traded for her home made chocolate covered caramel with two kinds of chile and salt. She also gave me a really ugly cookie, that I asked for in particular because I felt sorry for it in the beautiful bouquet of flower cookies.  It was yummy. 
Anyways, I altered the pattern again, and made myself a pair, finding only a few minor improvements, like trading in the icky polyester batting I was using for nice natural cotton batting.  Then I made the pair in the first two photos, and they are just the way I wanted them to be, so I put these slippers in my Etsy shop.  I think maybe I'd like to write up and sell this pattern.  I'm pretty happy with it.  They're super comfy.


  1. Ripping out is really a key to getting things right. I know that, I even practice that, but I am convinced you are a lot more patient than I am as you begin with the knowledge (ugly fabric) that it is just a test.

    Have a great holiday.

  2. Ripping and being willing to waist some materials together. Indeed this also took patience, which is why it took me two months to get them done. Where there is a will with cold feet, there is a way!


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