Wet Felted Slipper Socks With Soles

IMG_6850I love these socks.  Unfortunately, we have dogs and wooden floors.  The floors are slippy and the dog hairs get everywhere.  When indoors, we wear slippers.  My socks will collect hair, but I can put them in the washing machine.  You really don’t want to be washing your felted items if you can help it.  I have added felted soles to my first pair of slippers and they turned out really well.

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Once the soles were stitched on, I rewet the bottom to shape them to the slipper.  I have these for sale as I wouldn’t be able to wear them in the house as the hair will just stick to it.  I have anti-slip latex drops, but hair is the big issue, along with the dirt.  Animals are dirty creatures.  I made these before I knew about vibram soles.  While I was waiting for my order from Joe’s Toes to arrive, I made a pair of socks for the hubs.  

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I used black merino for the inside (I got it in a mixed bag, so I don’t know the micron) and a blend of the 23 micron humbug merino mixed with alpaca from a batt that I made on the drum carder.  Because these are supposed to be socks, they are made with only 2 layers of wool, but with an extra layer on the bottom.  When I was nearly complete with the layout, I realised that I made a boo-boo in the heel placement on the template.  That meant I had to cut and reposition the heel on one sock.  It was a palaver, but it worked out fine in the end.  I think I am just getting old and forgetful.  Thank goodness I have some experience behind me and was able to rectify the situation.  All went well until the hubs had to try them on.

This is where I go off piste a bit and talk about sizing.  Firstly, my hubs has long, but narrow feet.  I have the same.  I also have sturdy legs (the less said about that the better, but you will get the idea).  We both struggle to find shoes or boots that fit well.  Most shoes sold in the UK are for a wider fit.   I have European sizing or US sizing.  I have never had a problem finding a shoe to fit in the US when I lived there.  My feet are only narrow in the UK.  I think this is why I can’t get on with the shoe lasts that I have, and why I will be selling them.  The other thing about making felted slippers or socks is that they don’t stretch.  If you make slippers that cover the ankles or are like little wellies, you need to have a notch somewhere to open them up to be able to get the feet in.  I can just about get my feet in comfortably in the purple pair above.  Once I cut a 2 inch notch at the top of the hubs’ slippers, he was able to slide his feet in with no problem.  They also look nice folded down.  I will probably do this for any future slipper makes.  If you think that when you buy a pair of boots, even short ones, they all come with a zipper.  Wellies are quite wide at the top, even short ones.  So, whatever tutorial you use, you need to take into consideration the width of the top of the slipper and make adjustments.  One size definitely does not fit all.  This is my learning curve.

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These slippers are a little slouchy because of my sturdy legs as I can’t pull them up any further, but they are still comfy.  I will most likely make some adjustments on the template when I make another pair.  I like the faux layer, so I would need to make the top a bit wider.  I love it with the new soles.  They still feel soft and comfortable and I don’t slide on the floor.  My washing machine is in the shed outside, so I can wear these on the back patio.

I am now going to share how I stitched these on.  There is a video on the Joe’s Toes website for stitching a pair of slippers.  I modified this to add to the felt.  I have no process photos of this as I figured out the nuances when I was stitching the second pair and wasn’t sure I would elaborate on my process.

  1. You will need a sharp pair of sturdy needles as the blunt ones will not go through the felt.
  2. You will need waxed thread (recommended) or embroidery thread.  The waxed thread from Joe’s Toes will stitch up a pair of slippers with some left over.  As I don’t like to worry about thread running out, I pulled what I needed in one go.  I measured the length of the sole 15-16 times.  
  3. I first stitched the felt sole to the vibram sole in 4 places.  This helps to keep the holes lined up.  These stitches will be removed later so you can use any color and ordinary sewing thread.  Do not knot your thread.
  4. Stuff the slipper.  I used bubble wrap.  This gives a nice shape as if a foot is in it.
  5. Using the sewing thread, stitch the sole with a holding place on your slipper in 4 places; toe, heel and sides.  I then add extra in the curved bits.  This way your sole won’t slip when sewing with the thicker thread.  These will also be removed.
  6. You are ready to start sewing the sole to your slipper.  You will be holding the slipper with the sole on top.  Think of holding a sandwich;  the slipper is on the bottom, the felt sole in the middle and the vibram sole on top.
  7. Starting in the middle at the heel end, thread your needle into the felt sole and go through the slipper.  Pull the thread through and leave a tail hanging between the felt and vibram.  This is your first stitch.  (Have a look on the website)
  8. You then take the needle two holes to the right and push it through the top of the vibram and felt sole and into the slipper.  You want to be as close to the edge of the slipper as possible, but still have a sturdy anchor.  I can’t put this in words as I work by eye.  You don’t want to over or under stitch it.  Pull the thread through and make sure it is tight without pulling out the tail.
  9. Now we go back one hole to the left.  As before, push the needle through the vibram and felt soles and into the slipper edge.  Pull tight.  You should now have an ‘X’.
  10. For the next stitch, we move forward two holes, stitch.  Pull tight.
  11. For the next stitch, we move back one hole.  This time, when we put the needle through, we want to make sure it comes out through the same place (or as close as possible) as the thread from the previous stitch directly under the hole.
  12. We carry on, two holes to the right, and one hole back to the left.  That is how you get that lovely ‘X’ pattern.
  13. Keep checking to make sure that the slipper doesn’t slip on the sole.  If you’ve tacked the sole to the slipper, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  Make sure your stitches are tight.
  14. Also, keep checking to make sure the vibram and felt soles are lined up with the holes.  A sharp needle can go through the felt without noticing, so you want to check now and then to make sure your stitches are lined up.
  15. Finishing:  when you have gone all the way around and stitched up your slipper and you get to the tail end, keep stitching until each hole is stitched.  For my last stitch, I went back one hole and slid the needle between the vibram and felt which is not easy to do.  I then tied the two tails together with 3 knots and tucked it into the middle.
  16. Make sure you remove all of the tacking and holding stitches.  They should be easy to remove.  That’s it!

Joe’s Toes has an offer of 10% off everything.   I am not sure how much longer it will last.  The discount code is: HelloJoe

5 thoughts on “Wet Felted Slipper Socks With Soles

  1. Great post Arlene and I know what you mean about hard floors and dogs. We have the same situation here but I love my felt slipper boots and have made my soles out of leather in the past. I will have to give the Vibram a try.

    Liked by 1 person

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