Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

So I decided to commemorate the LONGEST winter I can remember by making myself some striped slippers from an old, holey sweater. We're fortunate that our apartment is usually pretty toasty and warm, but this year even the biggest of my bulky socks aren't cutting it. Srsly, why is so damn cold?

-old sweater
-2 pieces of 12"X 8" felt (maybe larger if you have a really big foot)

Creating The Footbed
Step 1: Trace your foot onto a manilla folder.  Clean up the shape till you like the way it looks.

Step 2: Cleanly cut out.

Step 3: Next trace the pattern onto your pieces of felt. Trace the pattern twice per piece of felt, as we'll need two piece per slipper- one for the sole and one for the midsole.

When you're done you'll have 4 foot shaped pieces of felt:

Step 4: Now place the foot pattern onto the sweater with the heel 1 1/4 - 1 1/2" away from the bottom edge of the sweater. Draw and arc around the pattern that is 1" above the toes and then extends straight down. (Don't worry that there is more allowance on the sides; it's supposed to be that way!) 

Step 5: Cut out.

Flip the pattern over and repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other foot.

Step 6: Use double stick tape to stick to stick the felt piece onto the sweater.

Step 7: Then repeat on the back side. Take your time to try to lineup the two pieces of felt as precisely as possible. (It will make the sewing look much prettier!)

Step 8: Place on your sewing machine with good side facing up and stitch all around.
**This step can also be handstitched. I'd suggest using a contrast color embroidery thread, so that it will become part of the design.

Preparing the Plug
Now we'll make the plug. (This is the part of the slipper that will be on the top of our foot, with footbed sewn all around it.)

Step 1: Cut off each of the sleeves 5" from the bottom.

Step 2: Stitch the sleeve opening shut.

Step 3:Round the other end. When you've finished this, the plug will look like an egg with a flattened bottom.

Now you have all the pieces and are ready to assemble the slipper!

Sewing It Up
Step 1: Place the the plug over top of the foot bed with good sides together. The pointed area of the plug should be lined up with the center top of the foot bed. Tack stitch together at the point.

Step 2: Pull the plug back 1" from where it would rest naturally and tack stitch the left and right corners onto that place.

Step 3: Make two more tack stitches. One at the midpoint between the point and corners stitches on the right and then on the left.

Step 4: Starting from the left side, moving right, stitch all around, evenly distributing the excess material from the footbed as you go. (It should be much easier to do this thanks to the tack stitches you did in the previous steps.)

Step 5: Flip right side out, then make two snips on either side of the heel that go almost all the way to the felt. 

Step 6: Fold the two side pieces to form the back of the slipper. Insert the center flap into the slit at the bottom.

Step 7: Close the back by running two rows of stitches up the back about an itch apart. Then sew straight across the bottom to close the slit.

Adding A Collar
The last step in finishing the slipper is to add a collar. This will give the edges a clean finished look and keep the slipper from being so floppy.

Step 1: Cut all around on the bottom of the sweater. Trim to about 2" high and cut in half. (If you can cut in half right on a side seam, even better.)Then put a little double stick tape on each piece.

Step 2: Fold in half around the top edge of the slipper and tack stitch a few place to keep it from flipping up. And that's it, they're ready to wear!

I was left with a good amount of extra sweater, which I've turned over to my kiddo, Ophelia. Ophelia is a wiz at making amazing stuffed animal from all things scrap.I look forward to  updating this in the near future with what she created from the remnants.

Think warm thoughts. The spring will be here before we know it:)

*manilla folder
*double stick tape
*needle and thread
*tailor's chalk
*sewing machine (optional)


  1. wow.. its amazing...
    I know this thing how to prepare shoe.

  2. That is terrific!

  3. Now its April.... and we still need these slippers! Thanx for the pattern:)

  4. A great tip. I'm going to make some over summer .all warm next winter. Thanx

  5. Great Idea, I have been saving felted wool sweaters to find some use for them and this is terrific!

  6. I was so looking for something like to for a project I am wanting to do.. These direction look so easy. Well explained. Good job,,

  7. Congratulations for your home shoes and especially for explanations.
    It will be easy to make them!

  8. Love this, you got a new fan :) Sharing...

  9. ...and to think; I was just making "scrunchie cuffs" for my ankle boots from wool sweater sleeves! Lol. These are adorable! May give it a whirl.. your directions are concise!

    1. Hi Anonymous, hope you will come back on and tell us about the 'scrunchie cuffs' for yur ankle boots. I want to make some. How? Thanks, Karleene

  10. Add some Grip-Tight Jiffy Grip fabric to bottom piece of felt before attaching and you're all set.

  11. Nice tutorial and really good idea! Love it! :)

  12. Great tutorial, thank you so much! I think I will try to make a pair over the next few days.
    I have one question, and I am probably just dense: In "Adding a Collar" Step 1, you say to cut all around the bottom of the sweater. But I thought that the bottom of the sweater was already cut into/cut up during "Creating a Footbed" Step 5 part? How was there enough sweater at the bottom to cut up? I hope that makes sense. I am scared to start and make a mistake that I won't be able to correct in the later stages of this project-I seem to do that to myself often. Thank you again!

    1. Hi! Happy to clarify that step. The footbed uses very little of the sweater bottom, so there should be more than enough for each of the steps.

      You could also get the material for the collar anywhere on the sweater you like, but the finished edge on the bottom will save you some extra sewing. Always a good thing:)

      Don't be nervous, it's an easy project once you get going on it. I'm sure they'll look great.

    2. Thanks so much! I'm just seeing this, I appreciate it! I'm starting to make them now :)

  13. Fantastic idea! Thanks for the concise instructions...this should be a breeze!

  14. Just a practical question: how do you wash these--cold water, air dry? Thanks, slippers are so fab, E

    1. Thank you! Cold water, air drying should be fine. Also, if the tag from your sweater is still sitting around you can read the care instructions. Hope this helpful:)

  15. Clever girl! .... just had to throw in my 2 cents in that 2013/14 has GOT to be THE l-o-n-g-e-s-t winter EVER!!!!(tho last winter was bad this has been worse!) ... if there is One More Snow Storm, i think i shall faint!! ~chuckles~.

    I found your precious slippers from Pinterest but it lead to lovethispic.com photo collage of your slipper construction and tho it was 'okay', i too sew, and needed a lil more clarification on construction so found your website! Am pinning this too! Wish i would have discovered these at the beginning of the season!

    Have you ever taken puff paints (Tulip brand - carried in craft stores, discount stores, amazon, etc they come in an assortment of colours) and made designs on the bottoms of your slippers in order to make them slide proof for bare floors? Did this years ago on thick wooly socks my children wore when they were little. Have also added it to those cheap lil one size fits all gloves they sell in packs of 2-3 pairs on the palms for better gripping ability like the steering wheel and such.

    Now am going to look for what your daughter created from your scraps !

    G-d bless!

    1. So happy that you like the tutorial! I think I have some of that paint, but haven't tried using it for traction. Sounds like a good idea, thanks for the suggestion!

  16. These are quite cute....I was wondering if your sweater has to be a certain kind of knit? It seems to me that once you cut into a sweater, there would be some unraveling of the fabric right away. thanks

    1. Using a wool sweater definitely helped, but if you look at step 2 in the link below it will tell you how to deal with fraying when using a knit sweater. Hope that this helps:)


  17. i love it. thank you very much.

  18. Brilliant! Then take some puffy paint and put some zig zags on the bottom and they are non stick too! Thanks for the post, I love them.

  19. Great tutorial! I need a new pair of slippers before this next winter - time to look for the right sweater. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. très bonne idée pour faire des chaussons bien douillets,bien chauds,mais c'est simplement à utiliser dans la maison,dommage, il faudrait avoir une idée pour faire une semelle qui puisse aussi aller dehors,habitant un pavillon,on rentre et on sort souvent.Merçi pour le partage

  21. Génial !
    What thickness for the felt ?
    Thank you
    Martine de France

    1. Thank you! The thickness of the felt doesn't matter too much. It's definitely worth picking good quality though. Good luck with the project!

  22. Thanks for this idea! My daughter just asked me yesterday if I would make her and her boyfriend slippers...now, I am ready! Definitely my "to do" this afternoon after work!

  23. Curious as to how these held up from when you made them until now if you wear them often. :-)

  24. I love your addition of the felt. I've made some in the past just using the sweater fabric and they didn't hold up well. I'm going to give your method a try this winter. :)

  25. Love these slippers. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Have you ever tried a felted sweater? Would love your ideas.

  26. Love these! One question, when you put the collar on for the last step I see you use double stick tape. and you say to tack stitch in a couple places. How come you don't completely sew from end to end of the collar. Won't the collar come off since you only have it stuck on with double stick tape?

  27. Out of all the patterns I have looked at regarding upcycling sweaters, this is the most hopeful! I know I will try this one. I need to wear clothes with natural fibers because my skin is sensitive. All I have to do now is find a sweater with 100% cotton or other natural fibers and I can begin! Thank you!

  28. bonjour
    je découvre avec bonheur ton blog
    j'aime aussi transformer pour recycler
    je reviendrai

  29. Wow...so creative. The upcycled slippers look great. I really liked the step by step guidance on this article. It looks really simple to make these slippers. Perhaps i will try when i have the time.

  30. Wow...so creative. The upcycled slippers look great. I really liked the step by step guidance on this article. It looks really simple to make these slippers. Perhaps i will try when i have the time.