Shoe Hike: First Steps

Slipper drafts
DSC00163At one time in my life I was a shoe salesperson in a large department store. I sold shoes for about 3 to 4 years. Still, I knew very little about shoe-making until I recycled Ikea’s Njuta slipper soles last year. The crochet uppers I made with those soles did not stay on my feet, so I recycled them again. And thus began a quest to fulfill a long-held desire of mine to make all my shoes. I am calling the quest “Shoe Hike.” (Just so you know, all shoe and feet related puns are intentional)

DSC00160Last year, I made two boot slippers using a commercial pattern. I made a pair of fur slipper boots 5 years ago with the same pattern, but gave them away as I failed to alter the pattern and the boots did not fit well. Also, I used imitation fur and found that the fur was very irritating on my skin. I don’t understand why that was the case as later I bought short boot slippers with imitation fur trim at the top, which did not irritate my skin at all. The problem with the purchased slippers was my lower shins were not covered. That part of my leg tends to get cold in the fall and winter, regardless of the length of pants and socks I’m wearing. I figured the slipper boot pattern could still work for me if I used cotton for the interior and fleece lining for warmth.DSCN2115

I made slipper boots from blue jean fabric first. I thought I would not need non-slip fabric as a sole for the tough cotton fabric and I found I was right. However, due to the vinyl flooring in my apartment, covering concrete floors, I learned that I could not wear them for long before experiencing discomfort and pain in my legs and feet. I needed cushioning!

DSCN2112I removed the crochet upper from the EVA Njuta sole and used it for the next pair of slipper boots. The edges of the pink boot did not look as attractive as I wanted, but the boot served its purpose well. At last, my shins were warm.

Flip flopsThe photograph at the top of this post shows my attempts at making an indoor summer slipper.  I had success making a flip flop from a commercial pattern (see photo to left), but none with the summer slippers. I thought it would be a breeze if I just turned the seams inside like I did with the blue jean slippers and added a strip to the back. It just didn’t work. The upper bothered my big toe. My goal is to make a bunch of indoor slippers using scrap fabric, then move on to sandals, and eventually outdoor  boots. I have taken my first steps on what looks to be a long, challenging shoe hike.

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