-How to order
Costuming Tips - Boot Tutorial
What follows is a step-by-step explanation of
how I went about converting a pair of hard-soled slippers into soft boots. I
wish I knew where to find Jen, the Videl cosplayer I met at ACen 03 who gave me the
tip on doing boots this way, because it worked great! Please feel free to use
this method to create boots for yourself, though be warned that some of the
shortcuts and methods I used may not work for you depending on what kind of
slippers you intend to convert. Make modifications where necessary!
I started with a trip to Goodwill, for a pair of house slippers with hard
plastic soles. The key was finding a pair that fit me, it didn't matter what
they looked like because they would be torn apart to make the boots. I must
say I was rather proud of how hideous the fluffy pink things were, it made their
death that much more satisfying.
The first step was to separate the sole from the slipper, carefully so as
not to rip any holes in the sole. I pried back the edge of the slipper to find
the threads and just ripped them up one by one, discovering as I did that the
inner part of the slipper, a softer terry lining against batting material, was
not actually sewn to the sole. It was only connected at the top hem of the
slipper. So, I saved the inner part to stuff back into my boots after I had
made the outer part. Very good idea!!
Rather than try to play with measurements and fittings, I figured that since
I already knew the slippers fit, I should just use the slipper covering itself
as a pattern for the boots' lower part. I pulled out the seam to find that it
didn't have a seam up the back, but was made of one piece. I wanted a seam up the
back in case I needed to make adjustments, so I marked the center back and added
a half-inch seam allowance when cutting the pieces out. The slippers had a bit
of shape, so I marked which side was the inside and which was the outside before
The boots would be made of blue felt, which I bought by the yard at Hobby
Lobby for the best price. I only needed one yard, and still have lots left over
for future fun. I laid the slipper pieces down, and cut about an eighth of an
inch around them (to leave plenty of seam allowance) with a half-inch seam at the
top and the back. I pinned and stitched the inside to the outside, along the back
and the top, and clipped the seam allowance along the curves of the top to make
it lie better.
I measured on myself to determine whereabouts the boot should come to, knowing
that to be accurate, it should hit about mid-calf on me, not too close to my knee.
I measured the opening of the lower part of the boot, 12.5 inches, and then approximated the
opening of the top of the boot around my calf at 18 inches - there needed to be room for
pants. The easiest way to handle the difference and make the top part of the
boot was to cut a rectangle about 19 inches long and 10 inches high, fold it in
half and sew it along the back, curving the seam from the top to the bottom to
accommodate the measurements. This made for a sort of tube curved in at the
bottom, where it would match the lower part of the boot.
The next step was to attach the two parts of the boot together. I had turned the
bottom part of the boot right-side out, but left the top inside-out so I could
slip it over the bottom and match the edges, right side to right side. Old
trick I learned doing sleeves. I ran a half-inch seam around the opening, connecting
the two pieces into one boot.
I had plenty of extra fabric at the top of the boot to fold over and decide
exactly where I wanted the hem. I tried it on my leg, and even pinned it to
the slipper lining and put that over my foot to judge approximately where the
top hem should be. I ended up folding over something like two inches, but I
only ran a half-inch hem and cut off the excess felt.
The trim had to be put on the boot before anything else was done. Goku's
boots have a stripe of red running up the front from the toe to the top, up
the back seam, and around the top. I used regular single-fold bias tape, in
scarlet, double-stitched along the boot's seams. Stitching down bias tape is
never a picnic, especially on curves, but it came out very smooth and nice-looking.
It also serves to hide the seams.
Next, I had to sew the plastic sole back onto the boot. It wasn't very hard,
just tedious and awkward. I had to hand-stitch it, because there was no way
I was going to fit it under my machine. I used my biggest needle just in case,
but the plastic was actually very easy to stick a pin or needle through. I
had given myself a half inch to work with, in case the fabric turned out just
a bit bigger or smaller than the sole, but on both feet it surprisingly fit
very closely. I turned the boot inside out so the right side could be stitched
against the "right" side of the lip of the sole, so that when I turned the boot
back to its right side, the stitch was hidden inside. No thread shows at all. I
did one boot first and left the other slipper intact so I could see how it was
done in the first place, and just did my boot the same way.
The last thing to do was stuff the inner sole of the slipper back down into
the boot and stitch it into place. I didn't mess around with fancy hems, I just
pinned the top edge of the inner lining to the felt boot right at the seam where
the lower and upper parts are joined, and ran a stitch right on top of it (the
"stitch in the ditch" method). Voila! The finishing touch was a length of
gold cord, which I happened to have lying around (but I believe can be gotten
at Hancock Fabrics for a few cents), tied around the boot at the ankle.
For complete accuracy, I may eventually paint the sole red to match the
trim, but it's not necessary. This method can be adapted very easily to making
soft saiyan-style boots. The method can also be altered so as not to have a
seam at the ankle, but that would take some trial and error, so only attempt
this if you're patient! When looking for slippers to convert, go with the kind
as pictured below - Isotoner and Dearfoams are some of the brands you might
find. And guys, don't be afraid to try on women's slippers - it doesn't matter
in the end because all you're using is the sole, not the outside.
Disclaimer: Star Wars is the property of Lucasfilm, Ltd. The Lord of the Rings is the property of Tolkien Enterprises, the Tolkien Estate, and New Line Cinema. "Moulin Rouge!" is property of Bazmark and 20th Century Fox. Dragonball Z, Yu-Yu Hakusho, and their characters and names are property of FUNimation, Toei Studios, and Yoshihiro Togashi. Yu-Gi-Oh is property of Kazuki Takahashi. Resemblance to their designs is coincidental, and no attempt is being made from this site to profit off copyrighted names. I'd pay good money for licensed costume patterns if they made them (hint hint). Don't sue me, I just sew what people tell me to sew.
Web design by www.userintuition.com