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 Fitting leather soles on slipper socks
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elkymama
Seriously Hooked

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2005 :  9:01:16 PM  Show Profile Send elkymama a Private Message

I'm just hoping that I can sew the soles on my socks and have the finished slippers look nice. All of a sudden I'm having doubts about this whole project, thinking that the soles look a bit wide across the bottom. Now I'm wishing that the soles came with a sock pattern.
Aargh! I really want this project to look decent and not clunky.

I found the soles at Elann and I'm using the Yankee Knitter sock pattern done in worsted in men's size.

The I got bummed out about the whole project when I was browsing through the LL Bean catalog and found some wool slipper socks with leather soles for $19.95 -- which is about what I paid for the soles alone.

Sure, I know my handknit slippers will be special and made with love, but on second thought, I can't help but wonder if I paid too much for those soles. Bah. Humbug.






"There's a thin line between hobby & mental illness."

Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2005 :  06:24:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message
I would not personally buy the premade soles for these reasons--they strike me as overpriced, and they won't necessarily fit your sock or slipper properly. I always encourage knitters to go whole hog and just buy leather and cut the soles to the correct size. It's not hard to do, and you can pick the exact color and texture you want.

Can you cut the soles you have down to a better size, or are the holes going to leave you with a funny-looking edge? If you want to get leather and do the soles from scratch, I can walk you through it.

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elkymama
Seriously Hooked

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2005 :  06:57:17 AM  Show Profile Send elkymama a Private Message
Lanae, Thank you for your offer. I would really appreciate your voice of experience here.

I don't want to trim the leather soles because I may be able to return them.

I have a black leather skirt that I am willing to cut up for this project. It doesn't appear to be terribly complicated -- cut out the soles, punch holes around the edges and stitch sole to bottom of sock.
The last step is probably the trickiest, right?



"There's a thin line between hobby & mental illness."
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/01/2005 :  07:11:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message
Ok--returning the purchased soles sounds like a good idea. Are you sure you want to cut up the skirt though? Little bits of leather aren't expensive, and the leather used to make skirts is generally quite thin and not likely to wear well if you use it for soles. What color sole do you want to put on the sock? I would recommend deerskin or elkskin because it grips floors better than normal garment leather, and it's very nice to work with. And--Jaymeknits can testify to this--I have lots of scrap leather. Like, enough to make a very strange quilt, if I were so inclined. I am happy to share, if it means sparing a perfectly innocent skirt.

So, soling slippers is easy. Make little patterns out of grocery bags and fiddle with the design (either heel and toe or full sole, depending on what you prefer), cut out sole pieces, punch holes in leather, sew soles onto socks. Sewing the soles on is a little fiddly but not terrible. It helps to work with a thimble on your non-dominant hand, which will be inside the sock guiding the needle) and a curved needle on your dominant hand. They make special leather needles, but if you don't plan to make a habit out of leather work, you can buy one of those upholstery needle assortments at the fabric store and use the curved needle it comes with. The toughest part is deciding what to sew the soles on with. You don't want to use anything that's going to cut through the sock. Suede thong works well, as does wool yarn. Sinew or sewing thread are not good options.

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Looeez
Chatty Knitter

108 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:42:54 AM  Show Profile Send Looeez a Private Message
How do you punch the holes in the leather? do you need a special tool for that? is it easy to do?

I have some suede leather languishing because I wasn't sure of the best way to do this. I was planning on putting soles on felted slipper/socks for last winter. The slippers were done last year but I never got round to doing the soles. Maybe for this winter!
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Kelly B
Permanent Resident

USA
2206 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2005 :  1:41:24 PM  Show Profile Send Kelly B a Private Message
I'm no expert on the process, but I sewed the soles on mine with leftover sock yarn; I punched the holes with a big nail, a hammer and a piece of scrap wood to pound on.

my pics
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Sang
Chatty Knitter

196 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2005 :  09:18:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sang's Homepage  Send Sang a Yahoo! Message Send Sang a Private Message
hey guys, where do you get the leather?
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Emelia Lesser
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
359 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2005 :  09:48:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Emelia Lesser's Homepage Send Emelia Lesser a Private Message
Can you guys think of any non-leather options for soles?

~Em
"Art is the reason I get up in the morning but my definition ends there and it just doesn't seem fair that I'm living for something I can't even define...but there he is in the mean time," ~Ani DiFranco
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elkymama
Seriously Hooked

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2005 :  10:42:46 AM  Show Profile Send elkymama a Private Message
naugahyde might be suitable

"There's a thin line between hobby & mental illness."
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2005 :  07:26:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message
I have three different types of leather punches. A rotary punch: http://www.emocs.com/leatherpunch.htm ,
which is great for punching holes in suede or thinnish garment leathers. If you need to make a lot of holes or if you need to punch heavier leathers, these may be hard on your hands. Single-hole punches http://www.micro-tools.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Product_Code=791LP&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=MTE are good for making very clean holes in heavier leathers. You set the punch where you want the hole and then drive the punch through by hitting the top with a mallet. You can also get diamond chisel punches, which look like funny little forks and are great because they space the holes very evenly. They're my favorite: http://www.eleatherworks.com/customer/product.php?productid=16859&cat=551&page=1 .

I get leather from Spotted Pony Traders and from the Leather Factory. I've never used any fake leather and I doubt I ever will. I know a lot of people put some sort of puffy paint on the soles of slipper socks if they don't want to use leather.

Support our Yarniversal charities, and buy silly stuff: http://www.cafepress.com/yarniversalcult
http://crazylanea.typepad.com/
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KCShaw
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2005 :  9:43:53 PM  Show Profile Send KCShaw a Private Message
there is a non skid clear fabric rubber you can use, its used on backs of rugs etc. you paint it on or squeeze little zig zags ro whatever on the bottom of socks to turn them into non sliding. If you arent wearing them out, its kind of a nice option. I made a pair of knitted slipper boots and added an extra ridge of knitting to the perimeter of mine. Took then to my shoe mender guy and he added a soft sole to them, was about 13.00 to do it. It was stitched down thru the top of the knitting into the rubber sole part and around just like a sole. I believe he glued it to the bottom as well. Thing about them is they are no longer comfortable to just lounge around the house in, feel like shoes. I ended up tossing them in my car for driving shoes.
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elkymama
Seriously Hooked

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2005 :  07:48:41 AM  Show Profile Send elkymama a Private Message
Thanks all, for your suggestions. This slipper sock project almost qualifies for "Nightmare Project."

This weekend, I'm planning to make some soles from some suede that I have. I have a rotary leather punch, but as Lanea pointed out, the rotary punch works best on thinnish leathers. I tried the punch on the stuff I have and I can see it's going to be slow going -- so I'm going to recruit my DH to punch the holes.
So his present is not exactly going to be a surprise, but the way I see it, he may learn a new craft and gain an appreciation of hand crafting.

As for those cabin style leather slipper bottoms that I bought from elann.com -- they are a nice idea, but a nightmare when it comes to actually stitching them onto the sock. (There's a limit to how many of these things I'm going to do for practice.)
As I was trying to fit sock onto soles, I found myself thinking, "All this work and they'll probably look amateurish to boot." So with that bad attitude, I packed those soles up and sent them back. Bah humbug.

This slipper project has been a learning experience. I've decided that putting leather soles on knit slippers is a royal drag and a project I will avoid in the future unless absolutely necessary.


"There's a thin line between hobby & mental illness."
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