Popscicle Toes

Besides being a great song, "popscicle toes" accurately describes my feet! COLD! With a big snowstorm in the forecast for this weekend, I thought I'd share how I keep my piggies warm using a felted sweater and my sewing machine.

I've looked all over for fair isle sweater type slipper boots, and the ones I love are close to $40. Ouch. When I saw a 100% wool sweater at Goodwill for $5, the choice was easy. Here's how to make your own wool slipper boots.
1. Buy a 100% wool sweater. Look for XL men's sweaters as they will give you more fabric. Toss it in the washer on HOT with some soap and towels or jeans. You want it to get rubbed around and agitated a lot to make it felt/shrink. Throw it in the dryer, go ahead and abuse it. Repeat if necessary until you're happy with how felted it has become.

2. Cut the soles. I laid the sweater out flat and used one sleeve for each sole. Put your foot directly on the sleeve so there are two thicknesses of fabric under your foot. This double-thick sole will last longer and keep your feet extra warm and cushioned. Cut .5-.75" around your foot so you have a big foot-shaped piece. Repeat for the other foot on the second sleeve. Baste the double thickness together for each sole near the edges. (my sweater had dark grey sleeves and light grey body with the white pattern, thus the color difference)

3. Cut the foot/leg piece. I used the front of the sweater for one foot and the back for another, so cutting the sweater up the side seams to separate them is a good idea. I did each foot separately, but if I had been thinking I would've cut them both at the same time to get the fair isle pattern to match on each foot (see top photo). There's probably a "right" way to do this, but this is how I did it which worked and require no pattern. It's only a $5 sweater remember, and if you mess up, you can still use the pieces to make mittens, potholder, etc. Relax.

The bottom ribbing of the sweater will be the top cuff of the leg. I put my foot UNDER the fabric to place the patterned portion where I wanted it on my foot. Pulling the fabric over and down the sides of my foot like it would be on the slipper, I cut around my foot starting at the side of my heel, going around the toes, then down to the other side of the heel, leaving a generous .75" seam allowance. (I did not cut around to the back of the heel.) Here's where the "wing it" part comes in: There will only be one seam up the back of the leg from the heel to the ribbed cuff. Wrap/pull the fabric around your leg and pin where you want the seam to be, then cut the extra fabric off (leave a seam allowance!). Stitch up the seam with right sides facing.

4. Putting it all together. You now have a funny shaped foot/leg tube and the sole. Put the right sides together and pin the sole to the foot/leg tube. Take your time, ease in the curved toe/heel areas, making sure the leg seam is at the back center of the heel. Baste them together and try on the slipper. Note any areas where you'd like to tweak the fit and sew accordingly.

Ta-da! Your slipper is done! There's only one more to sew.... and you'll never have to worry about popscicle toes again.


  1. great idea #2!

  2. Thanks for sharing both of these ideas! I may actually attempt some creativity and try them! :)