Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tutorial: Suede Slipper Bottoms

I made these suede slipper bottoms for the felted slippers I made for my grandmother's birthday. I saw similar ones in a yarn store for $9.00. If you're careful when placing the templates on the suede sheet, you can get two pairs of adult slipper soles and one pair of children's slipper soles from just one sheet (which costs about $8.00).

You will need:
  • A sheet of suede, about 8" x 10" (see above for how many slipper soles this yields)
  • A sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • A leather hole punch with a 2mm punch, like this one:

It actually has six different hole diameters and the tag said that it will punch through leather, vinyl, and plastic, so it's a pretty useful tool.

First, decide what type of sole you would like. Here I chose to do two sections, one for the sole and one for the heel. You could also make one large sole for the entire foot.

I measured the widest part of the top part of the slipper sole and the length from the toe to about halfway down the foot. I put these measurements onto scrap paper as shown above, centering the length measurement in the middle of the width measurement. Since the widest part of the foot was closer to the top than in the middle, I did not center the width. Then I sketched an oval around these measurements. It took a few tries to get the right shape. I took the same measurements for the heel part, but since it is smaller the width is almost centered on the length line. If you are making one large sole, use these same measurements, extending them the entire length of the foot and taking at least three different width measurements at the sole, arch, and heel. Cut out your paper templates.

Place the templates on the suede sheet, and carefully trace around them with the permanent marker. Pay close attention to your placement if you are trying to get as many soles as possible out of the sheet. Cut out two of each template.

Using the permanent marker, mark spots for the holes 1/4" apart all the way around the edge of the sole, keeping as close to the edge without breaking through. Do this on the side of the sole that was traced with permanent marker, as you can sew that side to the bottom of the slipper and it won't be seen.

(I realize that my measuring tape isn't quite on the dots at 1/4" intervals, but I assure you I drew them 1/4" apart. I must have moved the tape when I went to take the picture).

Then take your hole punch and use your marks as guidance to punch holes all the way around the edge of the sole. Now you have neat little holes to sew the sole to your slipper!
The hole punching can be hard on your hands, so do a few at a time and then take a break. Also, don't stress out about the way that they look. They will be on the bottom of the slippers, after all!
Please don't hesitate to comment if you have questions or concerns, or email me at

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