Felted Wool Slippers

First order of business in our mad scheme to have an entirely DIY Christmas: the felted wool slipper.  You may remember this blue sweater that I felted recently.

I borrowed a template from Martha Stewart.  These were originally supposed to be felt slippers, not made out of old sweaters, but when do I ever follow instructions?

Anyway, I printed out the template and had it photocopied in the sizes I wanted.

To save myself time and to ensure my pieces were exactly the same, I cut through two layers of wool in cutting out my pieces.  I used two pieces for each sole to make them extra squishy and more durable.

I also took advantage of the shoulder seam in the sweater I was using to serve as the heel of the upper. 

It’s Ralph Lauren.  That’s what the pink blotch is.

I pinned all the pieces together and found that the upper actually was a little longer than the sole, so I did some trimming.

In the end it turns out my trimming job made them look a little funny, but I will fix that next time.

I used a blanket stitch with a contrasting colour of thread and went all around, making sure to get all the layers of wool sewn tightly together.

I also went around the open edge of the slipper for consistency.

Then I embellished them a little with some buttons.

Not the prettiest of things, but they’re warm and light and soft.

And they fit, which is always a bonus.

Felting Old Wool Sweaters

As you may know, I’m doing a DIY Christmas this year.

Many of the projects that have come to my attention recently have involved re-using and re-purposing old things you don’t want anymore.

Some of those particular projects involve making items like mittens and hats out of felted wool, which is easy to make and fun.  When natural fibres such as wool are washed and rubbed against each other, the fibres shrink and separate, tangling with other fibres, creating the thick, durable material we know as felt.

Take yourself some old sweaters.  Sweaters that are 100% wool (or merino, angora, cashmere, etc., all the natural animal fibre ones) work the best, but I experimented with two orange sweaters which were 90% wool and 10% nylon.  I picked up most of these at Value Village.Chuck them into your washing machine and wash them in HOT water.  Just make sure you turn all the knobs back when you’re done so the next person doesn’t accidentally shrink all their clothes in the next load!

I managed to produce a large ball of wet sweater babies when I cleaned out the washing machine.Pop them in the dryer when you’re done and when they’re dry they should be felted.  You may have to do this more than once if your sweaters are loosely knit, just to get all the fibres tangled up with each other. If you can cut into the sweater without it unraveling or fraying then you have successfully felted your wool.

You can see how much smaller the sweaters are now.  This used to be a medium-sized adult man’s sweater, and now it would maybe fit a two-year-old.

I removed all the stuck-on sweater babies with a fuzz comb.

Stay tuned for all the fun things I plan to make out of these!