Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tom's Inspired Slipper Tutorial

Hello again everyone! Here's my Leap Day present to you: the Tom's Inspired Slipper Tutorial.

This pattern has taken some tweaking to get it to you in good condition, but I think it's ready for everyone to try!  I wanted to think of a small and relatively quick sewing project, and for some reason the first thing that came to mind were slippers, in the style of Tom's shoes, which are absolutely adorable.

My favorite part of this slipper is that is so easy to customize and completely change the look. You could use burlap and lace trim together (lined, of course, or else it would be itchy!), quilting cotton and ric rack, piping and a thick woven...any style would work with this.  You can make it for tiny feet, toddler feet, any size feet.  You can definitely make it your own.

Here's how I did it, and I tried to get the best photos I could on such a gloomy day here.

What you'll need:
  • A yard a fabric should be enough for two slippers
  • A yard of trim
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins - flat head or glass head would work best, for ironing and sewing (plastic heads melt in the iron, round heads get caught under my presser foot.
  • iron/ironing board
  • tracing paper - I use Swedish Tracing paper (you can find on Amazon), but any paper will work
  • clear ruler
  • fabric measuring tape
  • fabric markers and a pencil
Here's what you do:

Make your pattern:

  • The Enlarged Foot
    • Trace your foot on a piece of tracing paper

Just a good excuse to show off the new socks my MIL sent yesterday.
    • Next, use your ruler and every inch or less, make a dot 1/2" outside of your "foot"
    • Connect all your dots, essentially enlarging your foot by 1/2" all around.
    • Cut the Enlarged Foot out.
    • You only have to trace one foot unless your feet are a drastically different size, since you can flip the foot pattern over.
    • Yes, it will look ridiculously too big for your foot.  With the seam allowances, it should fit perfectly when you are done.
  • The Toe Top
    • Place your foot on the pattern and decide where you want the top to stop...4"-5" I think would work well for most people.
    • Trace the enlarged foot pattern you made in step one, only make it stop after the 4"-5" mark.
    • Where you "cut off" the foot pattern, add 1" on each side of the foot to make it wider.  This accommodates for the height of your foot.  Angle back towards the toes on each side.
    • Cut out the top, following the new angles for the sides and the original enlarged foot toes.

  • The Angled Top
    • Trace the Toe Top on a new piece of paper
    • Draw an angled straight line from a couple inches down the inside of your foot (the big toe side) to the opposite corner of the toe top. Make sure you are following the wider angle, or else they won't line up when you go to sew them together.
  • The Foot Back
    • This was the trickiest piece, and the piece I'm most worried people will struggle with. I'll tell you how I got to my measurements, and you can take it from there.
    • Using a flexible measuring tape, measure the outline of the enlarged foot, on the heel end,  from 1/2"  past the Toe Top line on each side.  My measurement was 15 1/2".  
    • Draw this line on your tracing paper. Now draw a 2" long line perpendicular to the long line at the end of it.
    • Mark 4" in from each end, and from there, mark 2" high and low on each side and each end of the line.
    • Connect the dot at (4" in, 2" high) to the end of the line.
    • Repeat on the other side of the line.
    • You should have a rectangle that tapers on each end, around a central line.
    • Cut down the central line.
    • Each piece should be 2" wide at the widest, 1" wide at the ends, and mine was 15 1/2" long.  If you like a taller back, adjust the widest point accordingly. Just make sure you still slant the ends narrower.

Cut out your fabric pieces (this is for 2 slippers):
  • The Enlarged foot - do this twice
    • The easiest way to cut these pieces is to fold over the fabric a little more than the width of the foot.  Trace the foot onto the fabric, and cut both layers of fabric simultaneously.  
    • You are cutting a liner for the inside as well as the bottom of the outside, and the pattern needs to be facing different directions when you sew it together. Don't let this confuse you now, you'll understand later.
  • The Toe Top - do this twice
    • Fold over to trace and cut, as in the Enlarged Foot step, to get two mirrored pieces
  • The Angled Top - do this twice
    • Fold over to trace and cut as in the Enlarged Foot step, to get two mirrored pieces.
  • The Foot Back - do this twice
    • Fold over to trace and cut, as in the Enlarged Foot step, to get two mirrored pieces.
Attach the trim (repeat per slipper):
  • We're going to trim to Toe Top, the Angled Top, and the Foot Back (everything but the Enlarged Foot pieces).
  • The Top Pieces:
    • Find the straight edge of each Toe Top and the Angled Top.  Turn the fabric face down, and iron over a small width of fabric - I used about 1/4", due to the width of my trim.
    • Lay your trim on top of the small width you just ironed, with the part you want to show on the shoe hanging over the outside edge.
    • Pin it in place.  Really, I know, I hated pinning once too...but if you don't do it your trim will slip and be uneven.
    • Sew the trim down using the coordinating thread and a straight stitch.

    • Repeat on Toe Top and Angled Top for other shoe.
    • When you place the toe pieces over the Enlarged Foot, you can see the size difference.  Don't worry, you still did it right.
  • The Foot Back
    • Lay one piece face up.  
    • On the long straight side, place your trim, with the part you want to show on the shoe facing towards the rest of the fabric, and the other edge even with the straight edge.
    • Lay the other piece face down on top, lining up the edges, and making a trim sandwich.
    • Sew 1/4 or smaller seam down the "trim sandwich".
    • When you unfold it flat, you should have one right side, trim in the middle enclosed in the seam, and the other right side.
    • Iron flat.

Put it All Together: (Repeat per slipper)
  •  This is where words stop working so well, and pictures describe it better. I'll try to use both to our advantage.
  • You are going to attach the Foot Back to the Top pieces all in one go. Ready?
    • Stack the Top pieces, right side up, lining up the edges.
    • Place the Foot Back 1/2" under the edge of each foot, making sure the trim is towards the inside of the foot.

    • Sew along the trim line on the Toe Top for the length needed to attach the Foot Back, about 1/2" inch.
    • Repeat this on the other side, making sure you don't twist the Foot Back.
    • It should look like this at this point.
  • Attach the Enlarged Foot pieces
    • Stack the 2 Enlarged Foot pieces, with right sides facing out (wrong sides together).
    • Turn the Top/Back pieces inside out, and line up the Enlarged Foot pieces with all the bottom edges.  This is where you'll see if your Foot Back is too long.  
    • Pin right sides together all the way around.
    • If your Foot Back is too long, you have 2 options, both work fine:
      • Sew right sides together of the back of the Foot Back, with the excess length on the outside of your stitches.  Cut the offending length off the center back.  You'll have a seam in the center back, but no big deal, it still looks great.
      • Measure the excess, redraw the pattern shorter, and pick your seams apart for the Foot Back.  Replace that piece.
    • Sew a 1/4" seam around the entire slipper.
    • Turn right side out and admire your work.
What do you think?  Does it fit?

Here's one made of tester fabric, I have more "grown up" versions in the works.

(ignore the heel - remember where I told you how you could fix a too long  Foot Back? Yeah, that's how I know.  I fixed it right after this shot, using fix #1.  

Tips and Ideas:
  • If you want to make a cushioned bottom, cut a layer of batting or thick interfacing cut to the Enlarged Foot pattern and sandwich between those 2 layers before assembly.
  • If you want to add traction, you can pick up gripper fabric for the bottom, usually in the notions department of the craft store, and cut to the Enlarged Foot pattern.
  • If you want to line the entire thing, sew the Enlarged Foot pattern to the Toe Top, and attach to the inside of the slipper.  If you need more intense and thorough directions, I can do an add on tutorial.
  • If you use a knit fabric instead of a woven, you might try making the pattern a wee bit smaller, since the knit will stretch more.  
  • Also, try adding elastic into the Foot Back to keep it from sliding off, if you made it a bit to big.
I'm almost done with another pair, I'll post it soon!  In the meantime, where do you need more pictures to help you along? I'd love to fill the gaps for you. Comment and let me know, and I'll be happy to take more.

Have a great Leap Day!


  1. Thanks so much...I've been wanting to make something similar and wasn't sure how to start!

    1. So glad you found it helpful! I poured myself into making this project to share with everyone - it's so nice to get some feedback. If you make them, send my a photo to share!

    2. I just found your site, off of pinterest, I cannot wait to try these!!

    3. I just found your site, off of pinterest, I cannot wait to try these!!

  2. Super cute! I'd love some of these for myself. Right, on to my to do list they go! I'll be back....

    1. I'd love to see a pic when you finish! And honestly, I don't think you truly need a whole yard of fabric, but I like to think everyone makes as many errors as I do sometimes. :)

  3. oh so cute! i'd love for you to link this up to my new spread the love link party. there is also an amazing giveaway going on now for a green berry shop scarf! check it out if you are interested! {love} lauryn @

  4. Super cute!! Wonderful tutorial! thank you for sharing at our Uncommonly Yours link party! Bonnie ;)

  5. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!


Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or ideas to share.