How to Make Japanese House Slippers or Sandals

Written by megan shoop
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According to Japanese culture, wearing shoes indoors is unacceptable. Taking one's shoes off outside the entryway and slipping on "surippa," or Japanese house slippers, prevents dirt and germs from the street from being tracked onto floors.

Even if you don't follow the cultural stricture, wearing Japanese house slippers is a fashionable way to keep your feet warm. These felted wool slippers look a lot like soft Mary Jane's or clogs. Both beginner and expert sewers can make them with ease.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Soft wool felt
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Stick pins
  • Needle and thread

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  1. 1

    Stand in your bare feet on a piece of soft wool felt. Spread your feet about 6 inches apart. Trace around each foot with a piece of blue or yellow chalk. Make sure to hold the chalk straight up and down so it doesn't slide under your foot and make the pattern too small.

  2. 2

    Move off the felt and draw a second outline around each of your foot outlines, leaving a ½ inch space between the two outlines. These are the soles for your slippers. Cut out one sole for each foot with very sharp scissors.

  3. 3

    Measure across the widest part of your foot, usually right below the toes. Double this measurement. Measure from your big toe to halfway up your foot. Measure from the tip of your big toe to the back of your heel.

  4. 4

    Draw two "U" shapes on your felt twice as wide as your foot width measurement. For a foot 4 inches across, 9 inches long and 4 inches to mid-foot, your U's should be 9 inches wide and 10 inches long. Inside this U, draw a second U, with a 4-inch space between the curves of the U's. Cut out both shapes. (The extra inch on the measurements leaves room for the seams.)

  5. 5

    Cut a half circle for each foot about 2 inches long and 4 inches wide. This is the heel of each slipper.

  6. 6

    Pin the outside edge of one large U to the outside edge of one of your sole pieces. Pin the flat edge of the heel pieces around the heels of the sole pieces. Pin the sides of the heel pieces to the ends of the large U's.

  7. 7

    Stitch around your seams, wrapping the thread around the edge of the felt as you stitch. This pulls the fabric pieces together and prevents stitches from popping out later. Once finished, turn the slippers inside out for wearing.

Tips and warnings

  • Soak the felt overnight in warm water to loosen the fibres and make them easier to sew together.
  • Draw squiggles or geometric shapes on the soles with puff paints to give the slippers friction.

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