Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Papa Bear Slipper Tutorial

My dear, sweet Mister wanted a pair of slippers and we searched all over the stores for what he wanted.  It appears that all slipper makers now believe that men want to go outside in their slippers and have put hard/walking soles on them.  That is NOT what he wanted and so I went through all the patterns I bought a few years ago when I had planned on making some.  As luck would have it, I found one for Papa Bear Slippers by Cool Cat Creations.  After showing it to him, he agreed that they would work.  Now fast forward to this week.

First things first:  A trip to the store for the fusible fleece and some sherpa for the lining.  Yeah, zippers are on sale too and I have an upcoming project for them along with the magnets.  Gotta get out of here.

I plant him in front of a huge stack of fabric to select the strips from.  I even give him a beautiful batik layer cake to look at.  After a LONG time, he settles on 4 browns and 2 greens.  What?  Okay, I'll make them work the way he wants.  I then take the pattern out and try oh so hard to read through it numerous times and read ALL the words.  I am beyond confused and ask Mister to come help.  He does manage to get me past one of the bumps but the wording on sizing and the directions on lining still have me stumped.  We worked together and cut out the pattern pieces for a size 11 but I am so very unsure that I don't want to go any further.  After locating the Facebook page for the pattern designer, I send a message and since it's late and she's in Canada, I think, I am off to bed.

The next morning, I have a message to a tutorial link.  It is for a pair of childrens slippers that are not made the same with or with the same pattern pieces.  Not really helping me here so I message again.  After a very lengthy discussion, I THINK I have the sizing understood and have figured out what to do on the lining all by myself.  Ugh.  Since there isn't a tutorial available for these, here ya'll go.  I won't be giving any sizes or details that will help you unless you have bought the pattern.  Sorry -- I am always on the side of the designer.

FYI - RST means right sides together.

Let's get started.  I'm switching gears and going with a size 10 instead, thus ignoring the directions where it tells me to measure feet.  Mister wears a 9 1/2 so I am going to the next size and crossing my fingers.  Since I am using Sherpa as the lining, I have to adjust the cutting requirements.  I don't want three layers of it and you have to cut that many lining pieces.  I go out to the studio to find some brown that I can use as two of the pieces of lining and move on.  (UPDATE:  if you are looking at what I wrote on the insole - it should read cut two cotton RST, two Sherpa RST, and two Annie's Soft and Stable RST. -- yep I was still working things out at this point and no - the directions don't tell you to cut the soft and stable until you get to the step.)

Finally, off to the sewing machine.  I drew the  45 degree lines on my cut pieces of Soft and Stable yesterday and after cutting some 1 1/2" brown strips and some 1" green ones, I am ready to do a little foundation piecing.  I do both of the long strips first and think I'll be okay if I don't go all the way to the edges.  Well, it did work but certainly made it tighter to cut out the B pattern pieces.  I wouldn't recommend it.  What's another inch of fabric anyway?

Repeating the process with the smaller rectangles that were cut, I am attempting to keep the pieces in the same order since he has so few fabrics being used.  I may or may not succeed.  This time I DO go all the way to the edge because theses are being cut and turned and then resewn.  Probably a good idea to not have foundation showing on the top of the slipper.

Now cut this rectangle into two exact halves.

Taking on half from each, lay together so that your strips are at an angle as shown.  Sew them back together on that center seam.  Using the A pattern piece, cut one from each sewn piece.  NOTE:  The whole piece in the picture below is upside down.  Lay the pattern piece with the arch up and the fabric with the points up.

And now you have the two toe pieces ready to go.

Taking two squares of Sherpa and with RST, cut out two pair of the B pattern piece.

Lay them out as shown and then stitch them RST on the center line.  Do the same with the quilted sections of pattern piece B.

Sew the Sherpa lining to the quilted section RST along the lower straight edge and open up.

Press the seam towards the lining and understitch very close to the seam to hold the allowance in place and help the lining lay better.

After understitching,  fold the Sherpa inside and topstitch 1/4" away from the edge.

Now we are going to get our quilted piece A and pin the section you just finished as shown.  ONLY PIN THE FRONT TWO EDGES.

Stitch across each section.

Cut two pattern piece A's from the Sherpa if you haven't already.

Laying it RST on the sides/toe section you just made, sew the bottom straight edge.

Open it up just like you did on the sides, press the seam toward the Sherpa and understitch.

The fold the top quilted section A out and topstitch as before 1/4" away from the seam.

Here is where we are at.  Now it is time to work on the sole.  NOT THE INSOLE.  You should have cut 2 pieces RST each of slipper gripper, fusible fleece, and cotton lining.  NOT THE SHERPA.

Press the fusible fleece to the WRONG side of the cotton linings.

Now spray the wrong side of the slipper gripper with the 505 adhesive and attach to the other side of the fusible fleece, making sure to have it lay flat and match all edges and notches.  The sole is now ready to attach to the slipper.

The slipper gripper on the sole is face down when you pin to the slipper.  It will face the quilted section of the slipper top.  Starting at the back notch, pin all the way around and then stitch in place.

Turn it right side out and check the seam to make sure you haven't missed anything.  Turn back inside out and stitch again.  You can also do as the pattern says and zigzag the edges clean at this time.  When I did my second seam, I sewed from the sherpa side as it seemed easier now that the pins were gone.

Okay that's it for the slipper itself.  Are you liking it so far.  No, we're not done yet but the next part is super easy.

With the insole pattern piece, cut RST 2 cotton lining, 2 Sherpa, and 2 of Annie's Soft and Stable - no, the cutting directions does not list this, but we are told to on this step.

Making sure that you keep the same foot (right or left) direction going here, align the insole sandwich as follows:  face up SHERPA, face down COTTON LINING, soft and stable.

Stitch all the way around the sandwich, leaving a 2-3" hole to turn.  Once you have finished stitching, turn right sides out and close the opening with pins, being careful to get all parts in the pins.  Slip stitch the seam closed, again making sure to catch all three layers.

Put the insoles inside the slippers with the Sherpa up and that's it.  You are finished.  Now, don't you want to make more?  I know I do.


  1. Whew! I hope Mister enjoys them very much. Looking good. Okay, now how many pairs to go? I admire your tenacity. My slipper pattern experience with polar fleece was an epic fail when once they were constructed I couldn't slip my foot in!! I did read all the words . . . so disappointed so I just keep patching my fleece pair I bought ages ago and rely on my Minnetonka slippers (yes, with rubber soles) from DSW. Hugs, Allison in Plano

  2. You are Amazing!! I got ready to quit just reading the tutorial. But that said they are gorgeous and I'm sure your honey loves them.