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Slippers from jeans

If your favourite jeans have seen better days, turn them into some stylish slippers.

fashion and trends Updated: May 27, 2010 15:03 IST
Nancy Minsky

The appealingly soft textures and faded colours of worn denim make it the perfect fabric to sew into ‘new’ things. So yank those long-forgotten jeans out from the back of your closet and discover what you can create!

You need:
Pair of old, cast-off jeans
25cm wadding
25cm iron-on fusing
Piece of thin cardboard (not the corrugated type), about 30x30cm
Two pattern pieces
60cm ribbon
Blue thread
Scissors
Straight pins
Pencil/tailor's chalk
Needle and thread/sewing machine

Step one: Prepare the pattern
Print out the pattern pieces and enlarge to right size.

Step two: Cut the denim
Cut the legs off your jeans and cut them open along the inside seam.
Using the pattern, cut one sole piece and one upper piece from one of the legs. Draw on the stitching lines using a pencil or tailor's chalk. Turn the paper pattern over, then cut one more of each piece from the same leg. Mark with pencil or tailor's chalk as before.

Repeat last step using the other jean leg. You have eight denim pieces.

Step three:
Using the paper patterns, cut two pieces of the sole and two pieces of the upper out of the wadding.
Using the paper patterns, cut the same four pieces out of the iron-on fusing.
Using just the sole pattern, cut two pieces from the cardboard. These now need to be trimmed, so they are 1.5cm smaller than the pattern all the way around.
Put all your left pieces into one pile and all the right pieces into another pile.

Step four: Sew the upper
Start with the left upper. Place the left denim upper piece on to a flat surface, right side down. Following instructions on the fusing packet, iron it to the wrong side of this denim piece.
Take the wadding and sandwich it between the two denim pieces - the right side of the denim pieces should face out. Pin these three pieces together.
Temporarily sew these pieces together using long, easily-removable stitches (basting). Remove the pins, then stitch all around the perimeter, 1.5cm from the edge, as marked in figure A.
Sew a running stitch on the toe, as marked on the pattern (later it will be pulled to form gathers.)
Repeat all of this with the right upper.

Step five: Prepare the sole
Start with the left sole. Place the left denim sole piece on to a flat surface, right side down. Following instructions on the fusing packet, iron it to the wrong side of this denim piece.
Stitch a running stitch on the toes of both denim sole pieces as marked on the pattern and figure B (later they will be pulled to form gathers.)

Step six: Sew the upper to the sole
This step is rather cumbersome, but don't despair.
Start with the left slipper. Lay the wadding on the table and align the denim sole on top (the upper one), right side facing up.
Align the upper on top, right side facing up, as noted with blue thread in figure C. Pin and baste together.
Align the other denim sole on top, with the fusing facing up.
Pin, baste (those temporary stitches), remove pins and stitch around the 1.5cm seam allowance
Back stitch and knot thread ends.
Remove the basting, and clip and trim the seam allowance.
Turn the sole right-side out, wiggling it through the toe.
Take something long (I used a chopstick, but the end of a pencil or even a pair of scissors will also work well), slip it inside, and nudge the seam into a nice smooth edge.
Slide the cardboard inside, between the lower sole and the wadding. Repeat with right sole.

Step seven: Finish the toe
Starting with the left foot, pull the running stitches you added earlier on the sole so it curls naturally around the cardboard toe. Knot the ends of the thread so that it stays in place.
Pull the running stitches on the upper so it matches the shape of sole.
Tuck the seam allowance inside the toe and hand-stitch the toe closed with little neat backstitches.
Repeat with the right foot.

Step eight: Adorn your slippers
You can decorate your new slippers with bows or sequins to add that glam factor.

The Guardian