I inherited a bunch of unfinished sweaters when my mom passed away. A few, I finished, but others, I wasn't interested in finishing or couldn't find the pattern for. Yet, I couldn't bear to throw them away either, Mom always used good yarn, and there is the work involved. I was resolute to find some way of using them. I'd been reading about felting wool, and some of the peices were wool. So, not even knowing what I'd make out of them, I decided to throw them in a hot wash and the dryer and let them felt to their little heart's felty delight.
Then, I had to figure out what the heck to do with the stuff! After it sitting around for a few weeks, one day, it came to me that I could make slippers out of them, and with Hanukkah around the corner that they would make great gifts for Dad and my brother. (This grey ended up as my brother's pair, another sweater back became Dad's.) The problem was, I couldn't find a pattern for men's scuff slippers. I saw lots of moccasin and sock style patterns, but not a sip-on classic scuff. I didn't have enough felt for those, since I only had the back of the sweater and odd bits to work from. So, determined to make the kind of slippers I wanted, I had to make up my own pattern!
Luckily, my dad and brother have the same size feet, a US mens 10 1/2 (European 43). I remembered that, years ago, back before Birkenstock had stores all over the US and online, there was a fold out page in the back of the catalogs with the outlines of different sized feet that you would compare your foot to determine your size. I thought that this would make a great template for the sole. I searched all over, and finally found it at a Danish Birkenstock site. I've copied it so that you can download it, it's in two parts: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/chris_wass/Slipper/right1.jpg
here and http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/chris_wass/Slipper/right2.jpg
here. But, I still had to figure out a pattern for the top. I have a pair of women's scuff slippers, and I winged the sizing up for the differential beween the sole and the length width of the top part and the base. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/chris_wass/Slipper/pattern-top.jpg
Here is the pattern for the top, it should work for most mens and larger womens sizes, but was formulated for the mens 43. I scanned and saved it at actual size, the tip of the toe to the back should be 6 inches when you print it out.
For the sole pattern from the Birk foot chart, I used the "wide" line for the foot and added an extra 1/4 inch as a seam allowance to sew the peices together. I also cut peices of black leather for the soles the same size as the felt. I cut peices of mat board to stiffen the soles, but cut then 1/4 smaller so that I wouldn't have to sew through them. You could use any pressed cardboard for the inside, or layers for thinner recycled board to get the right thickness, just not corrogated cardboard because it will compress and get yucky.
These are the cut peices:
Cutting was pretty quick, but nervewracking! I was so afraid to mess up! But, I am happy to report that they came out really awesome, that's why I wanted to share.
Anyway, to sew the peices together, I used a nylon heavyweight thread. I sewed them by hand because my machine couldn't handle the thick felt and leather together. I gotta say, sewing leather by hand is a bitch and a half. Make sure you have a thimble and a leather needle! I'm sure that vinyl would be easier. I tacked the felt bottom, the board, and the leather together into a sandwich with a little fabric glue around the edge of the board only so that it wouldn't move around when I sewed. I started sewing the top on from the tip of the big toe area, working down along the inside of the foot to the heel. Then I worked my way around the other side. This worked well enough that I didn't have to pin the peices together. I did a running stich with a back stitch every few along, pulling fairly tightly. I hide the knots between the felt and the sole.
Here are the finished slippers!
Here is my brother modeling his new slippers on Hanukkah.
I got all peices for one pair of slippers out of the back of the sweater. It was originally intended to be a woman's sixe 2x wool sweater. You could likely get one pair of slippers out of a back and a sleeve of a small sweater, meaning two pair of slippers from that small wool sweater you found at the thrift store!