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Saturday, 20 December 2014

His and Hers Robert Kaufman Inspired Kimono Slippers

Kimono slippers made with Robert Kaufman Satsuki fabric...
Last week, you saw the muslin version of the kimono slippers that I made using Lauren Mackey's free tutorial/pattern.

This week I present to you a couple of "real" finished pairs. First, this one made from a couple of Robert Kaufman fabrics: the Kimono Floral in Blossom from his Satsuki 2 series and some Kona cotton in rich red.

For this pair, I made a couple of changes (one intentional, one not) to the process outlined in Lauren's tutorial. The intentional change was to add some (fusible fleece) interfacing to the bottom sole piece, just to add some extra substance, since I decided not to make the slipper's lining out of fleece. Then, during the first part of the sewing, I "remembered wrong" and topstitched along the edge of the two facings before they were joined. I decided to live with the consequences.

I will briefly summarize the steps of Lauren's tutorial and provide some extra insight where applicable.

I added some fusible fleece interfacing to the bottom of the slipper...

Instructions 1 through 5 are clear and straight forward. You take the eight facing pieces (2 large external, 2 large lining, 2 small external, 2 small lining) and pin/sew them together appropriately along their curved edges; clip curves, turn and press.

I found #6 to be initially confusing, but after seeing the picture for #7, was able to figure out that it meant to create the vertical join at the heels by sewing together each pair of facings (pairing one large with one small).


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Instruction 8 (the part that I jumped the gun on) is to topstitch along the curved edge after the two pairs of facings have been joined together. (Oh, and because I was using quilting cottons, I did my topstitching at just under 1/4" away from the edge, rather than 3/8". If you're using thicker fabric, you may want to go with the original recommendation.)


Instructions 9 through 12 are pretty clear, as long as you keep an eye on the photos. You are now attaching the lining (and then exterior) sole piece to the facings. Fair warning, this part is not fun... even the pinning part is not easy to do at the extreme curvature around the heel area. (I have to admit that the lining of my pair of slippers has a couple of small puckers in it that I did not bother to fix.)

I did find the 5/8" and 1/2" seam allowances to be a bit much as I ended up clipping away a lot of fabric at the end. (And all that fabric did not make it easier to sew around that afore-mentioned heel area.) As long as I make the pattern piece slightly smaller, I'm going to use a narrower seam allowance, probably 1/4" and 3/8", on my next pair.


Instruction 13 is to turn the "whole contraption" right side out. (It did not seem like the thing to do, but yes, it actually is.)

Instructions 14 through 17 are to attach the facings to the top part of the sole. (This is actually pretty straight forward when you're holding it in your hands.) The first step is to secure the smaller (inner) facing to the sole's lining piece, using a 5/8" seam allowance. Then, on the opposite side, the larger (top) facing is secured to the sole's exterior piece, using a 1/2" seam allowance.


It really looks strange after all this, until you turn it inside out again per instruction 18.

BUT... my advice at this point is to stop and take a fitting.

After instruction 17, you should be able to do some fancy flipping to turn the slipper out into its final configuration. This is where you make sure that it fits you before you add any further stitches.


I had issues with instruction 19. While it's clear what I need to do, the different seam allowances on either side made it tricky to choose what path to sew on. I ended up having to rip out some stitches and resewing. My advice is to sew one side, turn it right side out, check that the stitches are properly hidden and that the corner of the main facing is caught in the side seam. (I had trouble with that particular spot both times.) Then go back and sew up the other side.

Instructions 20 through 22 have to do with trimming the bulk out of the seams and sewing the top edges of the two facings together. Pretty basic stuff, and then you're done!





Overall, I am pleased with how my slippers turned out. They're not perfect, but then I don't need them to be perfect. As is, they will serve me fine as packable slippers that I can stuff inside a ziplock bag and take with me on my travels. (I wear slippers when staying in hotels.) Oh, and of course, for those who are detail oriented, yes, I do realize that the fabric on the bottom of my slippers are nicer than on top... I will bite the bullet and fussy cut the top (larger) facing pieces (piece B) next time.

Now to make a pair for hubby. And here they are...

Hubby's two-tone kimono slippers...

For this pair (also made with Robert Kaufman fabric), I merely reversed the smaller facing piece (piece C) so that the interior became the exterior. This gave it a two-tone look that I thought was kind of interesting.

Some thoughts about how things went while sewing the second pair... very smoothly. Everything was more intuitive, as might be expected. Also, because I used seam allowances of 3/8" and 1/4" instead of 5/8" and 1/2", the curves were definitely easier to handle. (In fact, I did the whole project rather leisurely over the course of an afternoon, surprising my hubby, to whom I had specifically told earlier in the day, "Don't expect these by this afternoon.")




I've come across two patterns for sale for kimono slippers and would assume the advantage of either is that you would not have to DIY your size. One can be ordered from ithinksew; the other is available through Craftsy. From what I can see in the pictures for the latter, the seam shows on the inside. This tutorial — if you can make the adjustments to make it fit you (go back to my post from last week to find out how) — results in a slipper that is arguably more polished looking.

In any case, I thought this was definitely a worthwhile project to take on. If you think so too, you still have time to whip up a few pairs for Christmas morning if you get right on it. ;-)

Thanks, Lauren!





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