Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slipper Finishing School Day 2

Mom and Daughter Slippers. Pattern and Yarn Details at end of post.
On Day 1 I covered the Slipper Shopping List, listing all the materials needed for slipper finishing with lots of tips and ideas. Today I will cover the actual finishing. Be sure to come back for days 3 and 4 for even more tips on taking a slipper from merely completed to thoughtfully finished!

Step-by-Step Slipper Construction and Finishing

1. After you have decided on your pattern and yarn, CHECK YOUR GAUGE! You really can't skip this step for any item that is meant to be worn (or fit something else like a tea pot!)

2. Go ahead and make your 2 extra soles, leaving some long, long tails so you can slip-stitch them on later. The 'soles' part of the pattern may not be marked 'THESE ARE THE SOLES' but you can probably tell by where there's either a color change or you are to crochet in the back loops or some other part or simply where you first start crocheting without any increases. If the pattern you are using already has you making 2 layers for the soles, then this step is already covered!

3. Trace your slipper sole onto a piece of paper to make a template. To keep them flat you can use your foam board (if you don't already have something suitable) and pin the sole down over the paper. You don't want to use a marker or the kind of pen that could leak onto the slipper as you draw around. Follow as closely as you can, but be consistent. Set your pattern aside until you need it later.

4. Paint the bottoms of your slipper soles (I like the Right Side of the stitching to show- it's the prettiest!) or otherwise prepare them to be non-slip. I like dots, mostly, but I have also done donuts or stripes, hearts, pretty much whatever tickles my fancy at the moment. There's no wrong way to do this as long as you make sure you have plenty of paint at the heel and at the toe of the shoes.

On this Men's size 14/15 pair of slippers, I was worried about there not being enough paint in that little bottle to cover all of both slippers, so I painted only the toe and heel. I really liked how they looked

Note: You can also save this to the end, if you want, but using some wine bottles or other as easels to hold your slippers in place. I find it easier to paint evenly and neatly with the soles on a flat surface. Remember you need to stitch into the edges later, so don't paint those! For some methods of non-slip, it may be better to wait until the slipper is completely assembled. Plan ahead!

Warning: It takes about 24hrs for Puff Paint to dry completely. Sitting it out in the sun is a good idea- just be sure to pin them down to something if it's windy!

5. Crochet your slippers, following the pattern exactly. Count your stitches on every round and try to resist 'making do'. I know we may be tempted to add in another stitch at the end if we are off instead of ripping back to fix a mistake, but this may compromise the shape and fit, especially since later stitches meant to shape the toes would end up a stitch or two off and your toe ends up more to one side. If both slippers go to one side, then it looks like you have 2 right-foot shoes!

6. Use your sole template to cut the felt. I went ahead and drew a dotted line on mine to give me an idea of how much I would need to trim it down, since obviously the inside of the shoe is not as big as the outside of the sole you traced. I had to cut the felt down just a little bit more to get it to fit neatly.

7. You can go ahead and cut your layers of foam at this point, especially if your worktable is as much a jungle as mine and you may lose your template later. These also needed to be trimmed just a little, but mostly so they would all match. You will want them to be snug in the center of the sandwich so they don't slip around on each other- and you will also not want any sharp corners that will poke through.

8. Turn your slipper inside out (this you will already do to sew in any ends) and match your felt insole to the bottom. Pin it in place if you need to. Use a double thickness of thread and whip-stitch close and tight stitches all the way around. Knot anything VERY well, keeping in mind that the edge of felt can tear quite easily, so you will want to stitch far enough in to make a strong hold. Be sure you are not sewing through the layers to any part of the slipper that's not the bottom and you are leaving that last round of stitching free to crochet into later.

9. Once your painted soles are completely dry, sandwich your layers of slipper, foam, then sole with the painted side out (of course) and use that long, long tail you left to slip-stitch the two soles together. You will probably find it easiest to stitch about half of it before sliding the foam layers into place. Make sure they are all matched up and straight in there and finish slip-stitching around to close. They may not want to go in easily- just keep wiggling and pushing with your fingertips to get them into place. Slip-stitch from the top looking down because that part of the slip-stitch is prettiest! And slip-stitch through as many layers/loops as you can without it looking strange. The stronger the hold the better. Sew any remaining ends VERY WELL.

And there you have a very neat and comfortable pair of slippers to keep or to give!

Dryer warning! Because of the foam board in there, you really need to dry them on low heat OR just let them air dry. I've tested them in my own dryer even on the hottest setting without any melting, but all dryers are different. Even without melting, they did feel dangerously hot. Better safe than sorry. Plus, you don't want all your hard work to be ruined the first time they are washed!

Come back next week for Days 3 and 4 where I will discuss substituting a single-layer slipper sole onto double-layer slippers and enlarging an existing pattern to fit a bigger foot!

My Project
Pattern: Galilee Slippers by Mamachee Crochet Patterns - made in sizes toddler 7/8* and women 7/8.
Yarn: Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn Medium Acrylic in Peacock, Aqua, Menthe, and Limelight
Felt: Hobby Lobby Item #894311 - two sheets
Foam Sheets: Dollar Store purchase of 10 multi-color pack - 2 thicknesses for toddler, 4 for women's
Puff Paint: Puffy Paint by Tulip in Turquoise

*I sized down on the hook on the toddler shoes so they would fit my granddaughter that is just going into a size 7 now, They will fit her all winter, hopefully!

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