A wood or ceramic floor can be pretty cold to walk on this time of year, but a pair of soft, comfortable slippers can keep yours toes perfectly warm. Slippers don’t need to be fancy or expensive to keep your feet nice and toasty — believe it or not, they are surprisingly easy to make.
The trick is using a sole that prevents slipping and sliding while still creating a soft and cushioned inside. There are lots of non-slip sole options, like using real leather or suede (though these materials can be expensive and challenging to work with). Applying puffy fabric paint in dots or lines to sole bottoms is the easiest and cheapest way to make the soles non-slip.
I chose to use a 2mm-thick foam core sheet: The foam core is super cheap, comes in 12” x 18” sheets (which is enough for two pairs of slippers) and comes in a variety of colors. Plus, it can be laundered in a washing machine — don’t put it in the dryer though. Foam core does show pin holes, though there is enough cushion that you can pin into it but not through it.
To provide a soft cushion support for your feet, I used foam shoe inserts from the dollar store. Simply cut them to the size you need and adhere them to the slipper base.
What you need:
- About a third yard of fabric that will be the public side of the slippers. Any knit or woven fabric will work, though a fabric that has some give is best.
- About a third yard of lining fabric. Nylon tricot works great. If you have an old slip you don’t mind cutting up, use that.
- One sheet of 2mm-thick foam core
- 1 pair of foam shoe inserts
- About a yard of ¼” wide elastic
- Additional embellishments
Part 1: Take foot measurements.
You’ll need three measurements to make your pattern. Record all these measurements, as we’ll use them in the next step.
- Length of your foot from toe to heel.
- Width of your foot at the widest part, usually the bunion. Add 1″ for seam allowances.
- Top of your foot length, or the area that the slipper top will cover. You can make it as high or low on your foot as you want, but a good starting point is from the toe to the widest part of your foot. Add ¼” to ½” to the measurement.
Part 2: Make the slipper pattern.
The pattern for making the slippers consists of two pieces: the slipper bottom or sole and the upper cover.
How to make the slipper bottom/sole pattern:
Place your foot on a piece of craft or tissue paper and then trace it. The outline will be a bit wonky on top, so redraw the outline to smooth out those lumps and bumps.
Add a ½” seam allowance all around the outline. Make a note whether you used your right or left foot to draw the pattern.
How to make the pattern for the upper cover:
On a piece of craft or tissue paper, draw a vertical line slightly longer than the foot length measurement. Mark horizontal lines indicating the top and bottom of the foot. Fold the paper along the vertical line.
Next, mark the top-of-foot length measurement (3″). From that point place a mark that is one half of the foot width measurement (in this case 2½”) out from the vertical/fold line.
Now, draw a curved line from the top of the foot length line to the half-width marking. Then extend that curved line to slightly beyond the bottom length line.
Starting at the 3″ point (top of foot length measurement) draw the inside curve cutting line so it creates a side panel that is about 2½” wide all the way to the bottom foot length marking.
Add a ½” seam allowance around the outside of the pattern. Cut along the outside and inside curved lines and open up to form the pattern.
Part 3: Cut out the pattern pieces.
- Cut two pieces of the foam core using the sole pattern.
- From the fashion fabric, cut two upper pieces and two sole pieces.
- From the lining fabric, cut two upper pieces.
- Trim the foam shoe inserts to fit within the original foot outline (with no added seam allowances) so it fits within the stitching lines of the slipper.
Part 4: Construct the slippers
Making the soles
Lay the fashion fabric sole pieces over the shoe insert, right-side up. Stitch the fabric to the sole using a ½” seam allowance.
Constructing the upper piece
Stitch the back seam of the fashion fabric sing a ¼” seam allowance by placing right sides together. Press the seam open. Repeat process for the lining uppers.
With right sides together, pin the inside edges together, then stitch using a ¼” seam allowance. Clip the inside curve as shown to facilitate turning.
Turn the piece so wrong sides are together. Then topstitch ¼” from the edge. This forms the casing for the elastic — more on that in a bit. Repeat for the other foot.
Pin the outside edges of the fashion and lining pieces together to prepare them for attaching to the sole.
Attaching the sole and upper piece
With the bottom of the sole facing up, pin the right side of the upper cover to it. Stitch the upper cover and sole together using a seam allowance of slightly more than ½”.
Serge the seam allowance to finish the edges, or simply trim them down and zigzag with a regular machine. Turn the slipper right-side out.
To insert the elastic, open the back seam casing. With a small safety pin secured to the elastic weave the elastic through the casing. When complete, hand- or machine- stitch the elastic closed and then hand-stitch the back seam shut.
Finish with some form of embellishment if desired.