slippers are constructed from a flat piece of felt, rather
than being formed over the foot as in the boot demo. Period?
Probably not but very cool!
Making the Felt Piece -
I prepared my craft table to do a little felting, put some
felting solution in a pan and turned on the stove and opened
up the bag of wool. I laid my wool bats out, first a layer
of black ones and then a layer of white ones until I had a
wild felt poodle pile eleven layers high. Then I poured on
the felting solution and made an enormous piece of felt. To
make it thick and hard, I flopped it onto my kitchen floor
and stomped on it for over an hour. It was the loveliest and
thickest piece of felt I've ever made... it was beautiful.
If you haven't checked out my demo on making felt boots, click
here. It describes the basics of making felt. Once the
piece was as felted as I could get it, I threw it in the dryer
to speed up the fulling process and pulled out some paper
to construct a slipper pattern.
Making the Slipper Pattern -
love pointed toed shoes. I really love curved, pointed toed
shoes such as can be seen in many of the period miniatures
from Central Asia and the Mediterrainean areas. Realistically,
those shoes were probably all made of leather and embellished
accordingly. However, after discovering felt and working with
it, I've also discovered that many of the characteristics
of felt are quite similar to leather. And, since leather is
somewhat expensive, felt seemed like a great alternative to
make a pair of slippers.
Once I figured out the pattern - it took several tries and
a couple of mock-ups, I was ready to cut my felt. Back to
the dryer I went to discover that the felt piece had shrunk
and dried very nicely. The piece was actually big enough to
cut out a pair of slippers for myself and for my son. More
on my son's shoes in a later demo...
Sewing the Slippers Together -
first started with the vamps. Since it was cut in two mirror
image pieces to facilitate that lovely curved and pointed
toe, I stitched the pieces together at this center seam. At
this point in time, I also quilted the pieces and added the
embroidery so that I wouldn't have to struggle with it once
it was attached to the sole. Once this was done, I attached
the vamps to the sole.
sole is made from a piece of felt and a piece of leather,
which is placed on the bottom to protect the felt from the
ground. I didn't use any special equipment to sew all of this
together, just a really sharp needle. Once the vamps were
attached to the soles, I cut out the backs and sewed them
to the rest of the slippers.
this point, I quilted the backs of the shoes for extra stiffness.
the quilting added a lot of visual interest to the suface
of the slippers. The embroidery, done with a lovely shade
of yellow, set off well against the black felt. But I felt
that there needed to be something more... so, I drug out my
lucet and made some bright red lucet cord. Once I had enough,
I laid the cord along all the seams and attached it. Decadent
but very worth it...
Final Thoughts -
These slippers are probably not period. It is possible that
some slippers in period could have been made this way. After
all, the materials are period, the sewing techniques are period
and the embellishment is period... but... I have yet to find
any real hard evidence. There are one or two tantalizing pictures
of felt slippers from ancient times; one pair even has slightly
curved toes and a center seam down the vamp. But realistically,
these slippers would probably have been made from a soft leather.
They do look cool though...
Sewing the vamp to the sole.
Sewing the back to the sole and vamp.
|Ready for lucet cord!