Your Guide to Fuzzy Footwear
List of Materials
brown paper for pattern
10 oz wool roving (for adult size slippers)
2 old towels
a large embroidery needle
colored yarn or thread for finishing
Step 1: Make your pattern
Fold the brown paper in half and trace your foot beside the crease. Draw the pattern shape (See Figure A) around your foot’s outline, and then draw a second line around this pattern a ½ inch from the first line. This process sizes the pattern to your foot, and provides a little extra space for the seam. Now draw a rectangle off the pattern’s heel, which is 2 ½ wide, and as tall as the heel. Cut the pattern out, making sure to leave the crease intact, and separate the rectangle from the main pattern piece. Cut the rectangle in half along the crease, these are the heels. Make a copy of the main pattern piece. Your four pieces should look like those in Figure B.
Step 2: Soap and Roving
Heat up a pot of water, and either melt your bar of soap into the water, just have your liquid soap on hand to mix later. Now using your pattern pieces decide how large of a rectangle to felt. You’ll need two of the main pattern, one for each slipper, and one each of the rectangles. For a pair of size 5 women’s slippers I felted a piece that was 16” by 24”. Now lay out your roving in parallel pieces on top of an old towel, so that it covers the whole area you are felting, this is one layer. The next layer should be laid out perpendicular to the first layer, and the third perpendicular to the second, and so on. For a real thick slipper lay out 8 layers, and 5 layers for a thinner felt. Your pile will seem ridiculously high, but don’t worry it will compress.
Step 3: Felting
This step can take many hours so make your self comfortable. Now take your hot soapy solution and start sprinkling it liberally over your roving pile. At first just push the pile down and gently distribute the solution across the pile. Then gradually start applying more force and friction. When you do this the soap should lather up, if it doesn’t, or the wool is sticking to your hands then put more soap in your solution. Your pile should slowly start to mat and compress. At some point you’ll want to flip the pile onto your other towel and work it from the other side. Continue working both sides until it is felted to your satisfaction. Rinse your felt and leave it to dry. If you would like a different color felt now is a good time to dye your felt.
Step 4: Cutting and Finishing
Lay out your pattern on top of your felt and plan how you’ll cut them out so there will be space for each piece. I recommend the arrangement in Figure B. Pin down your pattern and cut away. Now use a blanket stitch to finish your slippers. See Figure C. If your slippers are a little too small you can dip them in warm water put them on your feet and dance around they should stretch a little and conform to your foot. However, if they are really too small cut two strips from your extra felt, cut open the toe to ankle seam on your slipper, insert the strip and sew up either side of it giving your slipper a little more wiggle room. Good luck and warm toes!