Sew Along – Slippers

How I start my slippers

First I pull out my copy of Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker, from the bottom right corner of the bookshelf….. Where is it supposed to be but is not. (Vow to make book plates with trackable gps chips inside for every book.)

In lue of said book, trace the bottom of each foot. Set aside to shape properly into the sole when either my copy of ELHOS appears or a copy arrives via ILL.

Remember, I have wide feet.

Move on to the top, which simply must get started.

Take the following measurements:

  • Straight across my toes.
  • Over the ball of my foot.
  • Over the top of my foot where I want the opening to start.
  • The centered bit of where the opening will be. (marking foot where that centered bit will be?)
  • From the ends of the center bit to the back of the foot (tendon)
  • The rise from the floor to the the side of the foot





To make the U shaped slipper:

Lay these measurements out on a centered piece of paper. Connect all of the points. Shape to reflect your period’s slipper shape. Add seam allowances. I will use a half inch for the bottom (outer edge) and back seam, and no upper (interior edge) because I plan to bind that with ribbon on my wool pair. If I were not binding, I would leave a half inch, which I could trim down to a quarter inch.

To make the front part or the two part slipper:

Lay out the measurements on a centered  piece of paper, using those for the front of the foot. Connect and smooth the lines to reflect the look and fit of your period’s slipper.  The back piece is simply a long rectangle that is twice the distance from the front of the foot around to the back. Add seam allowances. For the front, I will be adding a half inch for the seam that will attach to the sole and a half inch for where I will slide in my foot. (I have yet to determine if I will simply line with silk, line with quilted silk or bind with ribbon.) For the back, a half inch top and bottom will be safe as you can trim after.

Notes on my slippers:

For the Berlin work pair with the grapes, at the moment of writing this, I plan to use an Aida cloth though I would much prefer to use a linen. I do not know if I have a linen in the stash that will work for a measured stitch. I feel linen is more correct and will be more durable. EDIT: As per Carolann’s note below, I will find and use canvas for my grape slippers.n

Also for the Berlin work pair, I plan to cut the upper much like the quilted green pair of slippers where the sides angle backwards. I feel this gives both a secure, comfortable fit and a period look.

Who Else Has Made Slippers?

Published in: on May 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. All of the original Berlin woolwork slippers I’ve examined to date have been worked on canvas, not an even-weave cloth. I did a quick check of some of the original instructions I have and they all reference canvas. I have not checked every set of instructions in my files, and I know there are many instructions I don’t have. I’m concerned neither the Aida cloth nor the linen will provide the stability and durability you will need for a pair of slippers. Linen or cotton are mentioned for linings for the slippers. Do you have any information on the use of even-weave fabrics for Berlin woolwork slippers? I’d love to update my sources and my opinion if you do.

  2. Thanks for the nudge. I needed that. Canvas it shall be…. do I have some?????
    (No, I do not have sources for an open weave material.)

  3. One of my favorite sources: Thistle Needleworks Give the shop a call if you can’t find it on their website. Most original Berlin woolwork is worked on 14-18 count canvas.

  4. A Huge thank you!

  5. I am looking at their 16 or 18 mono. I hadn’t thought about color canvas. My eyes would like to work on s white or off white. What do you see in originals for canvas color?

  6. Natural color linen canvas is the most common by far. It won’t be visible, so a white or off-white is fine if it will save your eyes. I don’t recall finding any original examples worked on a colored canvas, e.g. blue, green, black, etc.

    The size of your yarn needs to coordinate with the size of the canvas. I can’t remember what you are using.

  7. Thank you. I have to re-locate the wool I have. It was a pretty set I picked up at Bits and Pieces.

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