Lovely warm and soft, these shoes (or perhaps slippers) began as an accidentally shrunken wool sweater. These poor, shrunken, often high quality wool sweaters end up in thrift and consignment stores on a regular basis. They also tend to cost next to nothing, so all in all they make perfect material candidates for any felt related project. These shoes are a quick and fairly simple project that I learned at the skills gathering Echoes in Time.
I began with two wool sweaters that had been washed in a washing machine until they were fully felted. Both were good and thick which makes for a warmer and more durable material.
The Pattern: The mid-sole is simply a tracing of a foot. The front upper is made by laying a piece of paper over the foot and tracing around the edges. I cut the sole out of the slightly thicker of the two sweaters because the sole gets more wear, and then flipped the pattern over and cut out the other sole. It’s important to remember to flip the pattern over when cutting out a left and right of anything. I forget and end up with two of the same side sometimes, which is always ridiculous.
So to begin, I think its best to begin at the toe and work around to one side, then return and start at the toe again and work to the other side. Otherwise, if something shifts along the way, the toe of the upper may not line up with the toe of the shoe, making the shape distinctly unlike a foot and therefore uncomfortable to wear. I like to use a saddle stitch for strength and stability.
The back is a rectangle. I cut the rectangle a little long and a bit wide because its easy to trim it down to the right size at the end. I sewed the back on, starting at the middle of the heel and then working to the side. When I arrived at the front upper, I sewed the back upper to the sides of the front upper, and repeated the process on the other side. I then trimmed the excess and folded down the top of the back upper.
To make the shoes more durable, I added an oak tanned cowhide out-sole.
“No other garment fits form to function as exactly as footwear” – D. A. Saguto The Art of the Shoemaker