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Recycled Sweater Slippers - The Green Way to Warm Your Feet
Disclaimer: Winter has never been one of my favorite seasons. I prefer my outdoors warm, dry, and easy to explore. Even so, winter does have its small joys. One of those is snuggling up in warm comfortable clothing while the snow (or rain) swirls and eddies outside.
Along with a thick fuzzy robe and flannel pajamas (and don’t forget the warm beverage!), it’s nice to have some cold-weather slippers on hand for times like these. You could go to a department store and buy a machine-made pair – but that’s the average way to do it. The green way is to wear a pair made from old sweaters.
If you have a sweater that has a hole that cannot be repaired discreetly, a stain that will never come out, fraying edges, or is too large or small for you now, you can repurpose them into a pair of recycled sweater slippers that will keep your toesies cozy all winter long.
With a sweater, you can create slippers in several popular styles, including tall boots, clogs, and ballet-style, but short boot appears to be the most popular and the simplest to make.
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How To Make Your Own
Start by measuring the foot of the person whom the slippers are for. Usually, that means doing an outline of the circumference of the foot, and then measuring each side of the foot from the back of the heel, the instep (the arch of the foot), from the instep to the toes, from the bottom of the foot to the top of the proposed boot, and around the ankle at the height of the proposed boot. When you cut the sweater, make sure there is extra space for sewing the seams.
If you do not already have a pattern, you have two choices: you can base it on a pair of slippers you already own, or you can purchase a pattern at your favorite craft store or online.
Use your pattern to cut the pieces of the recycled sweater slippers. It is best to keep the sweater ribbing vertical; it looks nicer and makes it less likely to unravel.
When all of your pattern pieces are cut, sew them together inside out. Whether you are sewing by hand or by machine, make sure you use a thread that is thick enough to hold together sweater material. Be aware that thin sweater material may be hard to keep in place (especially in the ankle section), and thick material will most likely be harder to sew together. If you are using wool, remember that if the sweater was itchy for your arms, it will be itchy on your feet! If so, you may want to sew a liner of non-itchy material on each piece of the pattern first.
Whether you are sewing by hand or by machine, make sure you use a thread that is thick enough to hold together sweater material. Be aware that thin sweater material may be hard to keep in place (especially in the ankle section), and thick material will most likely be harder to sew together. If you are using wool, remember that if the sweater was itchy for your arms, it will be itchy on your feet!
If you are going to wear your slippers indoors only, you may go soleless, or add a cloth or fleece sole. If you plan to step outside (even if it’s just the patio or deck), it is best to add leather soles.
How to wash them? If the sweater was machine-washable in its original form, you can wash the recycled sweater slippers in the machine. If it was hand-wash only, continue to hand-wash. If the slippers have leather soles, though, just wash or spot-clean the top part and wipe the soles down.
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If You Are Just Not Crafty...
If you are just not that crafty yourself, you can buy some from the gifted artists at craft-sales sites. Prices for adult sizes range from $8.00 (at June’s Knit Design and Stuff, http://www.junesknitdesignsandstuff.com/recycled-sweater-slippers.html) to about $20.00-$58.00 at Etsy (http://www.Etsy.com) . When you buy from a craftsperson instead of a big store, you reward independence and initiative – as well as the “small economy” which could be the way we’ll do most business in the future.
No matter where you live, chilly days are on their way. Be prepared – the eco-friendly way – by making or buying recycled sweater slippers for yourself and your family. Believe me, your hard-working feet will be grateful!