Boro: A Journey in Sisterly Slipper Making!

By Susan Fletcher
Boro Slippers

Just for fun I thought I'd share this photo story of making boro stitched slippers with my sister. 

Here they are in all their finished wonder! 

boro slippers, two pair

I've never made slippers before, and I didn't have a pattern, but you know, how hard can it be?  This was an adventure in "figure it out as you go".  If you've been reading my e-letters or my blogs for awhile, you know I tend to think I can do anything. It doesn't always end this well!

I started by tracing my feet, and then hers. Then making a paper piece for over the toe and a 'collar' piece for around the ankle.  That should work, right?

Did you know your feet are three dimensional? They are. Unless you know something about making a pattern for three dimensional objects, or unless you have a lot of time and nothing better to do, just be smarter than me. Go buy a pattern! 

Here are the toe and collar pieces for my slippers, cut out and ready for assembling. I know I have said it before, but notice how you can cut through your stitching and it doesn't fall apart instantly? After the pieces are stitched into seams they will be secure again.

boro slipper pieces

I forgot to say, but I guess you knew anyway, the boro fabric was made first of course, by stitching bits of blue fabric to a muslin backing cloth. I like to do a lot of stitching on the fabric. It isn't necessary. I just enjoy stitching and that is the end result :-)

The fabric looked like this:boro fabric

This is  my sister Karen cutting out the pattern pieces. I see the fabric she is cutting is blue so probably this was fabric being cut and basted as a trial run to adjust the pattern, before cutting the boro fabric.

cutting our the slippers


Checking the fit of the boro fabric over the toe

The soles we made by tracing our feet and cutting them from a thick melton wool. Melton wool is densely felted and very strong, the perfect fabric for slipper soles!

We used a natural linen/cotton blend fabric for the lining, and Soft & StableWe used a natural linen/cotton blend fabric for a layer in between.  Instead of the usual North American machine sewing approach assembling the slipper pieces, we used a more Japanese hand sewing approach. Each of the pieces was completed separately first, and then the pieces were stitched together, mostly using a blanket stitch.

stitching the boro slipper

 More assembling and stitching.

more stitching pieces together


almost done a boro slipper

Nearly done!

the last stitches

 Done! And proud!

Two pair of comfy boro slippers!

They are very comfortable and they fit perfectly! In fact they fit better than any slippers I've had, I think because having cut the sole to fit each foot, and then shaped the ankle collar to fit individually to each sole, they are actually the shape of my feet! 

I hope you are enjoying a stitching adventure,

Kind Regards,