Tag Archives: slippers

1946 Butterick Slippers

On a recent visit to an antique mall, I acquired three 1940s catalog magazines for the home sewer. In one of them, Fall 1946 Butterick, was a pattern for slippers, designed to be made of felt. We know that WWII ended a year earlier, but supplies of clothing and such was still a bit iffy in the USA, and totally nonexistent in European countries. The world was still in make-it mode. In that spirit, Butterick published a fun and easy pattern to make one’s own slippers.

I thought I had some felt, but it was not to be found. Then, I thought, why not felt some wool for the slippers, but still I had none that I wanted to risk ruining. So plan C emerged when I spotted my stash of antique wool paisley scraps. I had accumulated quite a nice pile of these scraps from flea markets, and quite unbelievably, the Goodwill bins.

It was obvious that I was turning simple felt slippers into a more time and labor intensive project. But, if there is one thing I have at the present, it’s time. So I cut out the pieces and went to work. One thing I can say with certainty, making these from non-raveling felt would be a quick and easy project. But dealing with the paisley meant that all the edges would have to be secured to prevent raveling.

For the upper edges I simply stitched the right sides of the slipper and the lining (also made from paisley) and turned and topstitched. The soles presented more of a problem.

At first I thought I’d blanket stitch all around the sole, but it just looked too messy to me. I ended up hand stitching black twill tape around the edges, securing the uppers to the sole. You can see that in the finished photo at the top of this post. Finishing involved attaching ribbon ties that threaded through buttonholes. With that, the slippers where finished.

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The pattern is very straight-forward. There are three pieces – sole, heel, and upper toes. I reinforced with heavy interfacing, and lined each piece before assembling. I also added a layer of cotton batting to the soles.

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If you are interesting in trying this project, I have included the pattern pieces, along with a ruler showing the sizing. I wear a size 6 shoe, but I made a toile and discovered that the pattern was oversized. I ended up cutting out the size 5, and even it had to be cut down a bit.

And now, a bit more about the fabric:

Paisley shawls were imported from central Asia into England, France and other European countries starting in the late 18th century. Especially in Victorian times, these were an essential part of a fashionable woman’s wardrobe. Many survive, but many others were cut up to make robes, coats, handbags, and such after they ceased to be fashionable.

One of the pieces I have was cut and sewn into a robe or banyan. While examining it to find pieces for my slippers, I found the above label in one of the sleeves. I posted it on Instagram, because many times the knowledgeable historians there can explain puzzling objects such as this label. No one seemed to know for sure, but after much discussion, I believe it was a label put there by the maker, or more likely, the importer.

Other theories were that it was a museum label, or a cleaning label. I’ve pretty much decided against those two theories, but I’m open to being persuaded. Let me know if you make a pair of these for yourself.

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Ad Campaign – Daniel Green Slippers, 1941

Do your Christmas shopping Easy

It’s all done as easily as this… Stop at any slipper counter or department.  Ask to see the new Daniel Green slippers for Christmas.  You’ll be in for a style treat!  And a color thrill!

This ad was written just before the US entered WWII, and while slippers made from cloth were not rationed in the States, I imagine that the pretty colors became a bit hard to obtain due to the scarcity of dyes.  I’ve read that many wartime brides wore white satin slippers because they were the only new – and appropriate for a wedding – shoes to be had.  I can picture a bride wearing the beautiful Militaire slipper at the top of the display.

I’ll be telling the fascinating story of another slipper company tomorrow.  This was a story that has been right under my nose, and it was just brought to my attention.  Some stories are worth the wait.

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From Shawl to Slipper





photo courtesy of Stubbsandwootton.com
I’ll not beat around the bush:  I love these slippers.  If the luxury fairy were to visit tomorrow and say “I’ll grant you one item that costs exactly $450,”  this is the item I’d choose.  They just seem to be the perfect fall shoe, and since I gave up heels long ago, I love flats that look polished, but that make for easy walking.

Several years ago I actually found a pair of Stubbs and Wootton slippers in a local thrift store.  Unfortunately, they were not my size, so I passed them along to someone who could wear and love them.  But I did really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the shoes.  According to their site, the shoes are made in Spain.

If you visit the site, you will also see that these are made from antique paisley shawls.  You all know that I do not condone the cutting of perfectly good antique and vintage textiles.  I’m assuming that the company does not cut up shawls in perfect condition, as the cost would be prohibitive.   And ones with moth damage are quite common; in fact, I’ve never found one that did not have a scattering of holes.

After shawls faded from the fashion scene, many were cut up to make other garments.  In the 1920s coats had a real ethnic flair, and many shawls were  cut to make coats.  I especially love this one at 1860-1960.

I guess it is remarkable that any of these survived at all, but I have actually found two of them at my local Goodwill Clearance Center.  Neither is in great condition, one being cut, and the other having quite a few holes.  Still, the textiles are so beautiful, and I had the vague idea of making something from them.  I suppose I should find an old WWII era book that tells how to make your own shoes.  Or maybe find a slipper pattern  and at least have a pair to wear around the house.  My raw materials:



Comments:

Posted by Sarsaparilla:

You found these two paisleys at Goodwill? I had given up on my Goodwill store, but maybe I ought to start snooping around there again. 

If you can make your own paisley slippers, I will be very very impressed!

Love that 1920’s coat that you found at 1860-1960. I would enjoy wearing it, even with holes…

Tuesday, October 19th 2010 @ 9:05 PM

Posted by KeLLy Ann:

oohhh, a Cocoon coat!?
How heavenly is that?
I too, am a big fan of slippers/mary janes. Especially around the house;
I can’t wait to see if you find a pattern. 

Tuesday, October 19th 2010 @ 10:00 PM

Posted by Em:

Simply beautiful–I have a soft spot for vintage paisley and still wear it regularly. The slippers sound divine. 

Wednesday, October 20th 2010 @ 5:36 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

I actually found them at the Goodwill Clearance, which is not a regular store. It’s like a warehouse where they sort donations. Anything they think will not sell in the stores is put into big bins and people can dig through them, looking for treasures at $1.10 a pound. All the fabric donated ends up here. Last week there was a feedsack feeding frenzy, as someone donated dozens and dozens of them, all neatly ironed and folded. 

There’s no telling what will show up there, but even I was surprised by the paisley. And these were not together; I found them months apart.

Wednesday, October 20th 2010 @ 10:33 AM

Posted by Couture Allure:

I found a pair of Stubbs and Wooten needlepoint shoes at my favorite thrift recently…in my size! They are incredibly comfortable, completely leather lined, and bright pink. I’ll wear them with jeans and a pink sweater this fall. 

Saturday, October 23rd 2010 @ 3:37 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Jody, you are so lucky to have found that pair in your size! 

Saturday, October 30th 2010 @ 6:50 PM

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Daniel Green Footwear for 1938

I just cannot resist great vintage fashion advertising!  This is a small poster, probably for a store to display in their slipper department.  Daniel Green slippers have been made for over 100 years, and they have always meant “quality.”  My grandmother, who was not a fashion plate by any means, knew her slippers and insisted on Daniel Greens.

One of my favorite stories about Daniel Green slippers is told by shoe historian Jonathan Walford.  Jonathan says that during WWII brides often wore Daniel Greens as their wedding shoes, as they were made in satin and were easier to obtain than regular shoes.  And I’ve seen them in fashion spreads of the era, usually with “at home” gowns, but I’m sure they also went to dinner.

I bought this poster some years ago because it was cheap and cute.  But it is going to a new home, as I happen to have a friend who is a big Daniel Green collector, and I think she will like it.  Just don’t tell!

Comment:

Posted by Deana Spartan:

Lizzie-
I am one of the designers for Daniel Green. I love the history that you gave with your posted. It’s great to hear that you have fond memories of Daniel Green. I would love to know more history. Maybe I can find some information from the historian you listed.
Thanks! 

Wednesday, January 23rd 2008 @ 12:53 PM


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Filed under Collecting, Shoes, Vintage Clothing, World War II