How to Make Cosy Slipper Socks from an Old Sweater

I used to have a lovely sweater. Until I washed it without looking at the instructions (lesson learnt). Then I had a cropped sweater that wasn’t quite as comfortable. So I made it into earmuffs for my hat, and then these wonderful, cosy, mustard yellow slipper socks!

I sort of draped these. Meaning, I stuck my foot inside the remaining sleeve and pinned round the bottom of my foot. Then I traced that onto paper to get the pattern you see above. The CB seam didn’t match so I trued it and added 1cm seam allowances. For the sole, I just drew around my foot onto paper. The seams aren’t the same length, but sweaters are stretchy, so I eased them to match. (Shh! I’m new to footwear!)

Anyway, I made a method for making a pattern so you can just draft your own. Because pattern cutting is fun. And so is maths. So, you’ll need a few measurements…

Measurements You Need To Make Slipper Socks

a) Around your heel and in-step (on me, 28cm-ish)
b) Length of foot (22cm)
c) Around the balls of your feet (for drafting the sole, if you’re not just going to draw around your foot).
d) length/height of slipper sock (30cm approx.)

This is the draft:

I did this clean version in Adobe Illustrator. (I wish they were paying me to say that, especially now my student discount has expired.) It looks almost exactly like a sleeve pattern, curiously enough.

How to Draft a Slipper Sewing Pattern

  1. Draw a big cross on the centre of your paper. Label the intersection A.
  2. A-B = a / 2 [14cm]
  3. A-C = A-B
  4. From B and C, swing a line to touch the vertical axis, measuring b – 1cm. Mark D.
  5. Divide B-D and C-D into 4 segments.
  6. On line B-D, mark E 3cm out from the top segment, and F 1cm in from the bottom segment.
  7. On line C-D, mark G 1cm in from the bottom segment, and H 1.5cm out from the top segment.
  8. Draw a smooth curve from C-G-H-D-E-F-B as shown.
  9. I and J are 2cm in from the lines coming down from C and B respectively.
  10. Join I and J with C and B with curved lines. The corners at C and B should be right angles (90°).
  11. Clean up your pattern and add seam allowances everywhere except on line I-J.
Cleaned up slipper sock sewing pattern with seam allowances, information, and grain line.

I was going to do a method for drafting the sole, but it’s really just easier to draw around your foot.

You’ll notice that pattern says “Cut 2 Pairs.” I like thick soles (and I cannot lie) on my slippers. Squishy ones are more fun to wear. So I doubled them up.

How to Sew Your Slipper Socks

  1. Sew the CB seam, RS together. Finger press open.
  2. Pin one sole to each slipper, RS together. Stitch all the way around with a 1cm seam allowance.
  3. Pin the next sole onto the slipper (still with the inside out) and hand sew on with overstitches. This is easier and neater than zig-zag stitching on.
  4. Turn RS out and apply to your foot.
  5. Dance around on wooden floors and scream “wheeeee!” as you slide about.

As I’ve already shrunken these (in their previous life as a sweater) I think I can wash these with confidence, with their older cousins which I made from socks, not half as neatly. Why not have half a dozen pairs of these squidgy little wonders? Or make some for your friends and family? If I still lived at home (and had any way of getting there affordably) I’d make Mum some (especially as she has water retention and can’t get shoes to fit).

I wonder if I could make actual shoes? I’d just need something more hardwearing for the soles…..

PS. Please share your makes! Leave links in the comments, or tag me on Instagram or FB! 😀

The Bare Essentials Sewing and Pattern Cutting Kit

One of the things that separates experts from enthusiasts is the amount of tools they have. (Not calling myself an expert, but definitely an aspiring expert). I realised this when I was watching Jamie Oliver teach a class of teenagers kitchen knife skills. He uses 1 knife 90% of the time, he just knows how to use it.

This got me thinking that it might be helpful for people if I rewrote my post about a minimalist sewing kit, and maybe updated it to include pattern cutting tools. The pattern cutting tools are used if you don’t do your pattern cutting on the computer, or if you edit your patterns by hand. I think there is a kind of zen to making things with the most basic tools, some peace and quiet, and taking your time. There’s a feeling of craftsmanship and self-pride in knowing that you know how to do something well.

Here we go:

The Sewing Kit

  1. Shears
    I have some Fiskars Heavy Duty scissors that I like.
  2. Paper scissors
    You have to have paper scissors because cutting paper with your fabric shears dulls the blades. Ironically, these paper scissors cut cheap lining fabrics better than my shears (I don’t know why).
  3. Snips or embroidery scissors (with strong, sharp points)
    For buttonholes and also to wear around your neck for cutting threads at the machine. You can also use these to unpick stitches.
  4. A quick-unpick.
    For buttonholes and mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning.
  5. Chalk
    The best way to mark your fabric along with notches.
  6. Hand needles
    On occasion you will need to use one, perhaps for a spot of mending
  7. A couple of pins (you seldom need them).
    In factories you’re not always allowed pins, according to one of my tutors, and I only use them when I have to.
  8. Tape measure in metric and imperial (fibre glass)
    A good tape measure is essential. I like the retractable ones. I still have the non-retracting one I got with a course 11 years ago and it does the job well. I had to re-write the early marks though.

The Pattern Cutting Tools

  1. A Pattern Master or something similar
    Good for right angles and adding seam allowances, as well as drawing curves neatly.
  2. A good square, quite large
    The bigger your tailor’s square, the more accurate your right angles, and accurate right angles are ESSENTIAL
  3. A metre stick
    As with the square, this aids neatness and accuracy
  4. Pencil (mechanical ones are good because they have a nice, precise point all the time)
  5. Notcher (not essential, but I love how neat and professional my patterns look when I use one)
  6. Pattern drill (the kind used by book-binders)
  7. Cutting mat or something like that to use under it

Note: 1-3 can be replaced with Adobe Illustrator and some sticky tape.

Sewing Machine Stuff

  1. Sewing machine
    A good quality, basic sewing machine is all you need. Features I like are sometimes quite expensive. They include a knee-lift, a good flatbed, decent harp-space, the option to lower the feed-dogs, and needle up-down. I like a DC motor because it’s more powerful than a standard AC motor, and quieter and smoother. Now, my Bernina 380 has 115 stitches and two alphabets, but I very seldom use anything other than the utility stitches, including the basic buttonhole. The exception being that my best friend is obsessed with cars and wanted me to use the Truck stitch on whatever I make for him. Bless him 🙂
  2. Feet/attachments
    You obviously need a zigzag foot, a zip foot, and a buttonhole foot. Other feet you might need will depend on your particular machine (e.g. how it makes blind-hem stitches may mean you need a blind-hem foot to do them well) and on what sort of thing you will be doing. I have discovered a passion for free-motion work so I love my free-motion foot #24. I also love my jeans foot #8 that came with my machine. I love it for straight stitching because it has handy guides (of a sort) for neatness, and I just feel like it does a better job than the standard foot #1.
  3. Basic accessories
    Bobbins. Have plenty of them. About 10 will do you.
    Oil and cleaning stuff. A watercolour brush works well, or an old makeup brush. Softer bristles are better.
    Possibly also a feed-dogs cover.

Once you get used to a flatbed and a knee-lift you’ll hate going without them. If I don’t have a knee-lift on a machine I’m using, my leg will go anyway and find nothing there!

Calling Pattern Testers!

Remember my final collection #TheShire from last year? Well, I finally got around to grading the first pattern from it (the Viking Dress), and I need you to test it for me! You’ll get full support, and it will be done through a private FB group. I need 2 testers per size ideally. Completers will get a free pattern of their choice from either what I currently have available, or from a future release, and of course, the Viking Dress pattern for free.

Please pop your details into the questionnaire below and I’ll get back to you shortly! 🙂 Thank you

 

Secret Garden Tea Dress Now Available with Seam Allowances!

Simplified for a quicker project and more suitable for intermediate level (rather than advanced level) sewists, the popular pattern is now available with 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowances, and on both A4 and US Letter size PDFs (both in the same file!) 🙂

This version omits the pattern-cutting stage and focusses on the sewing. All the instructions are illustrated. And if you have any questions or need any help, never hesitate to get in touch! 😀

See it here!

TBT When

Coccole e Sole made it into a beautiful dress for her little princess!

Ornellla at My Cute Sewing made a sunny yellow one too!

As did Ana Sofia at S is for Sewing

So go and check them out! 🙂

Quick update after Uni

So, I’ve finished uni now (I get my grades next week). I’ve also moved to another house share. I still work at Levi’s and will do for the foreseeable. But now I need a new goal. And I have one: my own home.

Now, I want to be free, so it will hopefully by either a Tiny House (if I can sort out the land and plumbing situation) or a houseboat. And the first hurdle to overcome is money. I need to earn more and/or spend less. Spending less is virtually impossible, but I’m looking into ways of doing it.

Spending less is one long-term benefit of my latest obsession: being (nearly) zero-waste. I want to grow my own food too. I’ve started making my own underwear (after about 10 years, the old stuff finally wore through). But I’ll go into my new “Elven” ways (rather than “hippy” ways) in more detail in future posts.

This blog can no longer be a Student blog, so I’m rebranding it with the interest of Sustainability and Ethical Living, and Hygge and all that good stuff. I don’t know what it will look like yet, but it will unfold 🙂 Fear not, sewing WILL be involved. I think sustainability will be such a part of me that it will have to channel through my career, however that pans out. I feel like the picture is just becoming clearer and in more colour now. I can’t see it properly yet, but it’s slowly getting there 🙂

Jeans

There are three jeans-type garments in #TheShire: The Golden jeans, the “skinnies,” and the shorts.

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That’s quite a bit of embroidery. 🙂 These jeans have a button fly, which I had to relearn because it’s such a long time since I’d done one.

The waist somehow ended up rather larger than I expected, even after toiling, so now it’s a paperbag waist. Well, they are inspired by Levi’s 501S anyway, which have a square-cut hip. 🙂

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This fabric is quite thin and stretchy (though still not stretchy enough to be proper skinnies), so embroidery wouldn’t be advisable. Apart from that I was running out of time. So used lace overlays on the pockets instead.

You may have noticed the pockets: they’re shaped like shields, which I thought fitted because it’s heraldic. 🙂

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The lace bits at the hem are not symmetrical. They were cut the same, but I should have used more notches. One of the back pockets is floral embossed leather, and the other has gold and silver embroidery in the style of Tolkein’s illustrated trees.

These and the skinnies have a zip fly, which still took a bit of reworking out. I still have to perfect the specs to make it look exactly like RTW.

 

The Viking Dress

Some years ago now, I came across an article in Threads Magazine about Zero-Waste patterns. There was a Viking dress in there, and it kind of stuck with me. As Tolkien was largely inspired by Scandinavian culture/myths and legends, and would likely have been a proponent of sustainability, I thought I’d have a go at using this concept.

The initial design is very different to the final one.

Initial Design

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It looks wildly different on different sizes. This is actually a couple of sizes too big for me. It looks miles better with a belt. 🙂 The sleeves were too narrow for anyone bigger.

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Trying it on the right size mannequin. With potential embellishment. I like it better on me. Moving on…

The Final Dress

Completely different silhouette. And I love it! 😀 Note the dart in the back hem that just curves the silhouette. 🙂

I tried it on one of my taller friends and we established that for a model to wear it, it would have to be longer. So I added a few inches. Also enlarged the neckline.

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It’s a versatile pattern because you can remove the sleeves and wear it as a pinafore or a sleeveless, so it’s a good transitional piece, or you can switch up the sleeve and pleat fabric. I’d like to make it in a lighter colour. I have some grey jersey, but that might be a bit sweatshirtish, in a bad way. :/

Also, pockets are essential. 🙂

Weskit Pinafore

This dress is somewhat less modern than the other pieces, and slightly ’70s. I wanted to show that I can actually cut garments to fit the figure, not just drape over it.

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The first go was a funny fit. Somehow I lost about 4cm on the chest and it only just closed. I also needed to enlarge the armholes.

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Take 2 was much better. I also flared the skirt and embroidered on of the waist panels. Note the mis-matched buttons. I kept that. 🙂

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The embroidery looks somewhat Scandinavian, which is good because Scandinavia was part of the inspiration for #TheShire. It’s not perfectly symmetrical, but Tolkein’s illustrations were very clearly hand-done, which is part of their charm. 🙂

The dress is made from stretch-needlecord and has a bagged lining done entirely by machine! I’m so pleased with myself for figuring out how to do it! 😀

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I can pass this off as not being too big on me, partly because it’s a fitted style, and partly because the fabric is stiff so kind of holds itself up.

 

Leather Dungaree Dress

You can’t have missed the dungaree trend lately. Well, I’m not fond of having to get undressed every time nature calls, so I’ve done a dungaree dress. In leather.

I wanted to have leather in #TheShire from the beginning. I’m sure a lot of hobbits’ things would have been leather, and more likely pigskin because cows are bigger than pigs. This dress is pigskin, and the hides are from GH Leathers so it’s from the meat industry.

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I had to reverse engineer the dungaree button flies at work. And please forgive my imperfect stitching. It was nearing hand-in day and I was NOT going to go full-on perfectionist. Plus, this is real leather, so you can’t unpick.

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The parts of the dress are in slightly different colours, which happens, evidently, when you use a few hides.

 

The Three Tees

By coincidence there are three tees in #TheShire (like three rings). There are two circle tops too, but I’ll cover them separately because they’re so different.

The first one has a kimono sleeve at the front, but Dolman sleeve at the back (so that I could get the lace to look as I wanted). I blogged about the toile of this top here, so check that out for details!

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The second tee is a bit more normal. The key things here are the embroidery and the lace sections. The embroidery (free-motion) says “The Shire” in Dwarven runes. 🙂 The jersey is sort of like a Broiderie Anglaise kind of jersey. It’s covered in tiny flower-shaped hole patterns.

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The third tee is intentionally devoid of embellishment because it was always intended to go under a dress. But I wanted to give it the versatility to be worn over jeans too, so I gave it the lace asymmetric hem section. It’s a bit big on me, but only by a size or two.

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And yes, I will be wearing any of my collection that I can when I get them back. 🙂