Sunday, July 17, 2011

How to Make a Pair of Cozy and Sweet Ballet Slippers

Click here for PDF version and patterns

These pretty ballet slippers -- a most enjoyable and fun sewing project -- can be made in a leisurely afternoon. Rummage through your left over fabric scraps and notions, get started and before you know it, you will be admiring your handiwork as you pad around in your cozy new slippers.

What you need …
**unless the yardage is noted, lay your patterns on the material to determine the yardage
• Re-cycled denim
• Cotton fabric (pink gingham) for lining
• Cotton fabric (eggplant floral print) for piping, heel trim and ruffles
• 24” x 5/8” wide velvet (raspberry) ribbon, cut in half
• Iron on interfacing
• Cardboard
• Leather, vinyl, denim or another durable material, for the sole
• 1 yard x ¼” wide elastic, cut in half
• Thread, scissors, pins, pencil, needles, sewing machine
PDF (click here) upper, sole and ruffle patterns

Check the fit before you start …
The pattern included is an adult, medium size. To check the fit, stand on the sole pattern. It should peek out around the perimeter of your foot. If you need to reduce or enlarge the pattern, cut the pattern in quarters down the middle, and then extend, or overlap the pieces to fit your foot. Tape together, smooth out the new lines, and apply the changes also to the upper pattern. Then cut an upper and sole out of some leftover fabric, gather the toe and baste the two pieces together. Slip it on, check the fit, and apply any further adjustments to your pattern pieces.

Cut your pieces …
• Cut two denim uppers + two upper interfacings.

• Cut two soles from the durable material.
• For the lining, cut two soles and two uppers out of the pink gingham + two sole and two upper interfacings.

• Cut the floral accent fabric: Cut two bias strips 1” x 24” wide from the floral print for the piping + 4 x half-moon pattern for the ruffle + 2 strips 1 ½” wide x 3” long for the heel trim.

• Transfer all pattern notches.

• Cut two cardboard soles (cutting 3/8” smaller all around the perimeter of the Sole
Pattern. (If you like your slippers more cushiony cut out a pair of foam liners as well.)

Easy to follow sewing instructions…
Denim Upper and Sole:
Iron the interfacing on the back side of the denim uppers and soles.

Sew a row of basting stitches between the toe notches.Stitch the heel together with a 3/8” seam allowance and press open.

Reinforce the heel seam with the cotton floral fabric as follows: Interface 3” strip floral accent fabric. Fold back ¼” seam allowance along each length and press. With wrong sides facing each other, center strip over the heel seam. Pin and trim any excess off the top and bottom so strip aligns with denim edge. Edge stitch along each length. Pull the toe basting thread, easing gathers, so that the toe will curl under softly. With right sides facing, pin the upper to the sole, matching notches. Baste and remove pins. Stitch seam with 3/8” seam allowance. It is a wee bit tricky, so take your time to stitch a neat, curved line, with toe gathers evenly distributed. Turn right side out. With something firm, like a pair of blunt scissors, press firmly on the seam, to give it a pressed finish.

Make Lining:
Iron interfacing to the cotton lining upper and sole.

Following above instructions for the denim, stitch the lining upper to the sole.

Assemble Slipper:
Slip cardboard soles inside slippers.
*If you like your slippers cushiony then slip the foam soles on top of the cardboard.

Slip the linings inside the slippers, smoothing neatly in place. Pin.

Baste together all around the perimeter of the edge.

Trim off any lining that extends beyond denim.

Make the Ruffle:
With wrong sides facing, stitch one pair of ruffles together, sewing ¼” around the half circle shape but not the bottom.

Turn ruffle inside out and press.

Stitch a row of basting stitches ¼”, along the bottom edge. Pull the basting stitches to form soft gathers.

Pin ruffle, centered, aligned with denim edge, to slipper front. Baste and remove pins.

Add Slipper Piping and Elastic:
With right sides facing each other and edges aligned, pin the bias floral fabric all around the perimeter of the slipper edge. Baste, remove pins. Stitch ¼” around the edge.

Zigzag stitch the elastic around the slipper edge as follows: Align the elastic with the slipper edge on the inside, pinning it all around with a little ease. (You only need a little elastic ease for a good fit.) Zigzag stitch down elastic center.

Press the floral bias piping up. Fold it over the edge, and tuck the seam allowance under. Pin it around the perimeter so that you have a neat piped edge.

Hand stitch the piping closed, with the stitching line following the seam join point on the right side, so that your stitches are hidden. Be careful to pull the elastic as you stitch, to maintain the ease.

Velvet Ribbon Bows:
Tightly tie two small bows. Cut bow ends at diagonal angle.

Hand tack bows to cover the join point of the ruffle.

Pad around with a big smile and enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sew a shower bonnet from re-cycled plastic and fabric scraps

Above is a "Jazzy" shower bonnet. It is lined in a green re-cycled plastic bag, with a nylon lace overlay, and fun ribbon scraps and odd buttons rummaged from notions box. Below is another version, this one made from an old vintage, polyester California State scarf. These bonnets take an hour maximum to make, and are so practical and fun - and decorative and cheery in the bathroom. This is how you sew them...

Gather together your materials - above, is a vintage polyester scarf, a green plastic bag pulled from the re-cycle bin, 1 yard of 1" wide turquoise gingham ribbon + (not in the photo) 1 yard of 1/4" wide elastic, 1 yard of 1" wide yellow gingham ribbon, red thread.


Cut the scarf in a circle, with a 20" diameter. Repeat with the green plastic.

With wrong sides facing, align the two circles together, and stitch all around, 5/8" from the edge.

Sew the turquoise ribbon around the edge.

Make a casing for the elastic with the yellow ribbon. Align the yellow ribbon 1/2" from the edge of the turquoise ribbon. Stitch with a zigzag stitch, 1/2" from the edge. Stitch a second row, 1/8" from the other edge, leaving a 2" gap to pull the elastic through the casing.

Slip the elastic through the gap, pulling it through, pin the ends to together, to an ease that is comfortable for your head. Stitch elastic closed, and clip excess.

Fold back excess ribbon to form a bow, and tack with a button, or two.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

February Fashion Screensaver

Click here to download or print your free February screensaver)
When I create a monthly screensaver, I simply can't anticipate where it will lead. It just sort of happens, with the fashion story unfolding, as I sketch. This month, is no exception.
Starting with the center of the month - Valentine's Day, I thought everything would be pink, but instead it grew into a story about discovery. One sketch is an inquisitive portrait. But (hidden to the viewer) she is wearing USLU Airlines Nail Polish "LAS (or Las Vegas) Eau de Colette.” Described as a “blued hex perfumed” polish, it sounds lovely, and, unexpected, like, a blue valentine. I haven't smelled it, but doesn't it seem like a reason to visit Paris and go to Colette? The other sketch is of a woman, as a dandy, strutting all her fashion on the outside. Sporting a printed floral, bell bottomed, pantsuit, with hair dyed to match, or almost match, her poppy velvet beret. She is wearing Dior’s sparkly nails “Mandarin Orange.”

Fashion is fun, and releasing one’s fashion desires feels soo good. It is also the best defense to fend off those bitter cold and dark winter days that are bound to happy all month long.
All kinds of wonders and delights await us in February. It is only up to us, to open our heart, follow new paths, and discover and enrich our life and those around us with the delights of the unexpected.
Wishing you to enjoy February, in all it's glory!
P.S. The LOVE poster is from YSL, dated 1992.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Emmanuelle Alt appointed Editor of French Vogue

Carine Roitfeld (former Editor) and Emmanuelle Alt (on left, future editor)
photograph courtesy of
I adore French Vogue and how Carine Roitfeld has re-invented it these last few years, without limits, and using it as a vehicle for her personal expression about women, luxury fashion and lifestyle. Then suddenly, the carpet was whipped up unexpectedly and she resigned. It has just been annouced that her partner in crime, Emmanuelle Alt, has been appointed the new Editor in Chief. This is a woman with a more nonchalant style, less sexy, more tom-boyish (actually the petit bateau striped top in the January screensaver post just below is dedicated to her ... ) and I do hope she is fearless and shares with us all her inner wishes about life, fashion and being a woman. It was sooo fun with Carine (who personally I hope creates something ravishing ...), but I am certain it will be just as amazing with Emmanuelle!
A New Year, a fresh start, new faces, places and thoughts. It is all so positiviely invigorating. Change is wonderful. Embrace it while you can.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January fashion sketch screensaver

(click here to download the January screensaver)
There is nothing like a strong winter spell (at least in my part of the world) to make layering everyone's fashion statement. After loosing gloves and hats, without a moment to spare, a lofty, very 70s red wool boucle, was quickly knit into a fluffy hat, ... and that delicious red color, meant it was time to wear the old patched (it's in my book!) ski sweater, that my Mom had knit so very long ago, layer it over a couple of t- shirts (one was not enough,) leggings under overly patched jeans, and finally a pair of hand knit RL argyle socks were stretched on top of the jeans to keep the warmth inside. Feeling wrapped and bundled up, felt cozy and protected on a bitter winter day, especially, when Chanel "Le Vernis Riva" was gleaming on one's nails.2011 -- it sounds like a number that very recently, seemed so far, far, away, into the future, that it was only for the imagination and not for the reality ... but here we are, with a new year in front of us. I do hope that each and every one of you enjoys a fruitful year, and that all your hopes and wishes come true.
Best wishes,