August 2, 2012

House Slippers To Be Sewn

Hi everyone, I'm Andrea from foursquarewalls. I'm honored to be a guest blogger for Megan while she's strolling around an old stone French village snapping gorgeous photos and eating buttery baguettes or whatever. Oh I'm not bitter; I'm sure the current view out my window of a restaurant parking lot is equally stunning. Anyway, I love following Megan’s blog because it’s obvious she’s naturally creative and is able to master new crafts very quickly, something I admire in others. Her first sewn dress was pretty spectacular, and made me ashamed that my first ten handmade dresses were basically potato sacks with straps.  I’m a sewing blogger so that’s obviously the thing I love to yap about the most if given the chance. The fact that Megan loves to travel inspired me to think of a way to incorporate my own travel memories into my sewing. So for my guest post I've decided to share with you how I sewed some simple indoor slippers (aka room shoes, house shoes) inspired by my travels to Japan. It's Japanese custom to remove your street shoes when you enter someone’s home, certain public buildings (like school), or anywhere that has tatami flooring. To protect your socks, then, you wear house shoes. The custom exists to protect the floors from outdoor scuff, but also to better designate the indoors as a separate and distinct space from the outdoors. The physical transition represents the mental shift of shedding yourself of the worries of the outside world. 
  I studied for a semester in Osaka, Japan, and visited and lived there briefly after college while my boyfriend taught English in a small mountain town in the Shiga prefecture. So it's a special place to me, and there are certain customs -- like removing your shoes indoors -- that I'd like to incorporate more in my daily American life, too. Just think about it: your shoes trek through public bathrooms, wet grass, muddy parks, gummy sidewalks, mysteriously stained carpets... and you bring them home and march right onto your rugs in them.  
These slippers are lightweight and made of breathable fabrics so they work well in summer. They also have non-slip soles so I can walk without fear of sliding gracelessly into some painful splits. I like the idea that they will keep my home cleaner, but will also protect my bare feet from all the sewing pins I leave laying around my warzone floors. So these slippers are practical all around, right? OK, let's make some!
1/2 yd. (0.5m) fabric for outer top: I used home decor-weight cotton canvas, but you can use any sturdy-ish woven fabric like quilting cotton, linen, tweed, wool, etc...
1/2 yd. fabric for the outer soles: something non-slip. I used a remnant of flannel-backed vinyl (like a tablecloth) that I tested on the floor to see how slippery it was. You can also use suede, rubber or buy ready-made non-slip soles at craft stores.
1/2 yd. fabric for the lining: If you want summer slippers, use something breathable like linen or cotton. If you want warmer or thicker slippers, you can use fleece, felt or flannel.
1/2 yd. interfacing and/or 1/2 yd. interlining: Depends on how comfortable you want these. I used fusible fleece to give the slippers structure, and I used felt to interline the sole for added comfort. You can use quilt batting, too.
*Note that you need approx. 1/2 yd. (0.5m) of everything to accommodate the length of your foot, which seems like a lot of stuff to buy, but there will be enough width of the fabric to make more than one pair of these slippers.  It's not difficult to draft your own pattern to begin. You can trace a flip flop or other sandal to create the sole, and then drape fabric over one-half of your foot, tracing an outline around your foot in the shape you want. Add seam allowances (I used 1/4 inch). Cut the top fabric on the fold to ensure the sides are even.
 Or you can download this free slipper pattern from BurdaStyle just to get the general shape and size you need, changing any details as you please. I didn't use their pattern because it looked like the seams were exposed inside the slipper, so I followed my own method!
For the top of the slippers, cut two in your outer fabric and two in your lining fabric:
For the soles, cut two in your lining fabric, two pieces of felt or batting for comfort, and two pieces of vinyl or whatever non-slip fabric you chose for the soles. You'll notice that I chose the lining fabric of my soles to be from the same fabric as my outer fabric. The lining for the slipper tops are solid beige canvas. My vinyl is also beige. Sorry if that's confusing:
 I interfaced the print fabric with fusible fleece interfacing for structure and added softness. Up to you:
 Pin and stitch the felt/batting pieces to the wrong side of your sole lining fabric:
 Stitch together the back ends of your slipper top lining, right sides together:
 With right sides together, pin and stitch the top lining to the sole lining. You will have to ease in the lining fabric around those curves:
Now stitch the back ends of your main slipper top fabric, right sides together:
 Pin and stitch the outer top fabric to the outer sole (vinyl), right sides together. Pin within the seam allowance, as holes will remain visible in fabric like vinyl or leather. Trim the seam and clip the curves:
 Turn the slippers right side out. If you must press, press the cotton side only, or else the vinyl might melt:
 Fit the outer slipper into the lining so their right sides are touching:
 Pin the slipper openings together, lining up the back center seam. Stitch, leaving an opening for turning:
 Pull the right sides through the opening, being careful not to rip any stitches. It'll look like siamese twins:
 Push the lining into the outer shell:
 Slipstitch the opening closed:
 You're done! Now fill them with your huge size 10W feet! Oh those are just mine.
 They're not perfect, but they sure are cozy. And now I expect my floors to be spotless forever. Hope you enjoy making your own house slippers. Thanks for hosting me, Megan!

--A big thank you to Andrea for putting together this post for us!  I can't wait to make these when I get home.  After spending some time in the French countryside, I am 100% head over heels over house slippers.  Each and every tiny, "harmless", intimidating scorpion around these parts is a reminder.


  1. WOW! great tutorial! Love these slippies.

  2. I love these slippers, I'm so gonna try and make them for myself! :)

  3. Oy oy oy ,very nice:))
    I try to make....
    Thank you :)))

  4. Oh boy! Good slippers are so hard to find and these are EXACTLY the type I like.

    I have some suede and I'm going to try your technique. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. they look great!!!!!! thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  6. Oh this is exciting! I've been checking out your blog and really love your posts, but this is great because i was trying to make slippers for Christmas but couldn't come up with a decent pattern. thank you for sharing this.

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  7. Oh this is exciting! I've been checking out your blog and really love your posts, but this is great because i was trying to make slippers for Christmas but couldn't come up with a decent pattern. thank you for sharing this.

  8. Love those slippers. I have almost the same but with more red dots. They are really comfortable.

  9. Looks so easy, I'm a beginner sewist (I only sewed a Sorbetto top yet) but I am gonna try this one with leftover fabric pieces. Thank you for the tutorial !
    Charlie from France ;)

  10. the way you lined up the color blocking on your blue-green fabric with the board-lines on your floors in the picture of the cut-out tops...Great tutorial. Simpler than the ones I've made before, so....much quicker. Now I can make them in ALL my favorite colors! Thanks :-)

  11. great tutorial and nice slippers. Thank You!

  12. They look great!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  13. I love these slippers, I'm so gonna try and make them for myself! :)
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  14. Thanks for this! I made these last night out of an old woolly sweater and an old t-shirt for lining. I used a scrap of leather for the soles. My machine doesn't go through leather so I followed your instructions but used a piece of t-shirt in place of the vinyl and then added the leather after. They look great! Thanks again!

  15. Hello from Germany, this looks like the perfect guide for house shoes. I just bought a ton of inserts for soles. I hope they work. I also saw somewhere that if u use silicone on the outside of the house shoes, that u will not have a slipping problem.

  16. Oh this is exciting! I've been checking out your blog and really love your posts, but this is great because i was trying to make slippers for Christmas but couldn't come up with a decent pattern. thank you for sharing this.
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  17. I love this pattern..Thanks for sharing...10W isn't so bad I have to wear mens 9 since my size is usually gone. Mom always said the boxes would be easier. Thanks again..time to retire to my sewing room.

  18. Seeing the flip flops pic gave me an idea - you could buy a pair of flip flops. cut off the "buttons" from the strap part and glue them back into the holes in the flip flop soles and then glue the soles to the bottom of your slippers. That would afford you even more protection to your feet.

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