Welcome to the Moon Booties sewing tutorial!
I've been in a big whirlwind craze trying to release another pattern in a few days as well as get this tutorial published and all before we leave for a holiday vacation. I especially wanted to finish this bootie tutorial so that any of you out there who are making these slippers for holiday gifts will have the help you need to get them done in time.
In this tutorial, I will be making a semi-technical pair for my neighbor who is taking them back country skiing to wear in the hut after skiing. I say semi-technical because I'm not sealing the seams even though I'm using waterproof-breathable fabric. I don't think he will be wearing these outside more than just to fetch some firewood so they should be waterproof enough for melting snow covered hut floors. I came into a large quantity of deadstock waterproof and breathable Gortex-like fabric that I'm selling in the shop here, here, here and here. I didn't think it would be good for the booties but it actually works really well. However, I'm assuming that most people who will be making these as holiday gifts might be making cute, printed versions for kids because they are a super cute gift for little ones.
First off, let's gather up supplies and tools.
Fabrics - If you are making light-weight technical booties, you will need synthetic, light-weight windbreaker-like fabric for the outer, nylon taffeta or nylon lining fabric for the lining and synthetic cordura fabric for the soles and lasts.
You can also make them out of stable light to medium-weight canvas, twill or denim, scraps or whatever your heart desires for a cute at-home pair. Just be sure that the soles and lasts are made of a durable fabric like medium-heavy canvas, denim or cordura so they don't wear holes too easily.
You will also need: polyester thread; 1/4” (6mm) woven elastic; (2) toggles (single hole preferably); 1/8” (3 mm) elastic shock cording, 3/8" roll foam or neoprene foam, hi-loft batting.
shock cording and toggles
Use woven elastic if you can. Different kinds of elastic have different amounts of stretch. The cut elastic measurements in this pattern are set for woven elastic.
I prefer to upcycle old packaging roll foam (3/8" is the best thickness) for the inner soles. If you can't find any roll foam, you can purchase neoprene foam here and it has a peel and stick backing that is really nice to have so the soles stay in place without pinning. Unfortunately, it doesn't come in 3/8" thickness but 1/4" will work too.
peel and stick neoprene foam rubber
I'm using polyester batting because these booties need to be light-weight and hold up to wet surfaces. Normally I promote natural, sustainable fibers so if you are making booties out of natural fibers, you can also use natural fiber batting like cotton or wool.
Optional supplies: Temporary peel and stick basting tape or something similar to adhere your inner soles in place and avoid using pins; Liquid Puff Paint to create a non-stick surface on the soles; seam sealant “Seam Grip” or “Tenacious Tape” for waterproof fabrics (if you plan on making them really waterproof but it really isn't necessary).
Tools: Fabric scissors; craft scissors for cutting out foam; iron & ironing board; fabric clips are best but straight pins work too; tailor’s chalk or fabric pen.
I'm usually team pins rather than clips but clips really are great to have for this project so you don't have to pin through thick layers. A hump jumper (upper right) is great for helping your machine sew near the bulky inner soles. You can also make one yourself by rolling up scrap fabric to the right level. Good scissors or a rotary cutter for your fabrics but also some scissors that can cut foam.
Optional tools: Teflon or walking foot for sewing bulk or coated fabrics, and/or a zipper or narrow foot for sewing bulky unlevel seams; hump-jumper for sewing next to bulky foam.
Sewing machine needles: a smaller needle such as a microtex 80/12 for sewing fine and lighter weight fabrics; a larger needle for sewing bulky layers such as a jeans needle 100/16 or 110/18 for sewing through thick fabrics.
Two different needles - one for sewing lighter fabrics and one for sewing bulky layers.
Alright! Now let's get this party started!
We will start by turning the least notched long edge of the Bootie Last (4) down 3/8”/10mm toward the wrong side and press. You may want to use a pressing cloth if you are worried about melting synthetic fabrics.
Using the chart on Page 3, cut the Outer Bridge Elastic cord (shock cord) to measure.
Baste each end of the cording to the wrong side of the bottom edge of the Bootie Last at the notches. The basting stitches should be no further than 3/8”/10mm away from the edge. A hump-jumper may come in handy here if your machine is having trouble stitching over the shock cording. It also helps if you stitch from the back side, with the shock cord on the bottom, as long as you can keep it in place while stitching.
Tack the elastic shock cord to the upper folded edge of the Bootie Last directly above the bottom placement. Lay the cording flat, do not stretch it and tack it in place close to the top folded edge.
With right sides up, place the Bootie Last on top of the bottom edge of the Upper Bootie Outer (1), aligning the center bottom notches and pin or clip in place while keeping the elastic shock cord up and out of the way.
Now baste the bottom edges together 3/8”/10mm up from the bottom edge. Then edgestitch the folded edge of the Bootie Last down close to the edge, taking care with your stitching when going over the elastic shock cord bulk.
If you are using a waterproof fabric such as “Gortex”, you can use a seam sealing product such as “Seam Grip” or “Tenatious Tape” on each seam or puncture to insure waterproofness.
Pre-press the top of the Upper Bootie Outer by turning the top edge down 3/8”/10mm towards the wrong side and again at 1” /2.5cm for adult sizes AA - AF and 5/8” /1.5cm for kids sizes KA - KF and press. Let them cool in place to keep their new creases.
With right sides together, fold the Upper Bootie Outer in half so that the curved center front edges are aligned and then pin or clip in place. Be sure to align the Bootie Lasts precisely.
Stitch the center front together with a 5/8”/16mm seam allowance. Clip and notch the seam allowance along the curved edges taking care not to clip through the stitch line.
Press seams open all the way to the top the best you can. If you are using a synthetic fabric, use a low setting on the iron with a pressing cloth. If it is too difficult to press the seam open, you might try finger pressing it along with using steam.
Clip the bottom edge of the Upper Bootie Outer just up to the basting stitches. Make the clips about 1”/2.5cm apart. This will allow the straight edge to ease around the curve of the SOLE when attaching it in the next step.
Center the Inner Sole Cushion (6) over the wrong side of the Sole outer (3) so that there is a 1/2” /13mm seam allowance all the way around the Sole (3). Secure the Inner Sole Cushion in place by pinning, basting or using some sort of temporary peel and stick basting tape. If you use pins, attach them to the right side or outer side of the Sole so that you can remove them later.
With right sides together, pin or clip the Sole outer (3) to the Upper Bootie Outer taking care to keep the elastic shock cord out of the way. Start pinning or using clips at the front and back ends and then continue around the curves.
Stitch the Sole outer to the Upper Bootie Outer with a 1/2”/1.5 cm seam allowance. Do not trim the seams.
A hump-jumper is helpful to stitch next to the bulk of the Inner Sole Cushion. A narrow zipper foot can also help.
Using the chart on Page 3, cut the inner ankle and inner bridge elastics to size.
Fold the inner ankle elastic in half to find the center.
Transfer the dot from the Upper Bootie Lining piece onto the wrong side of the lining with chalk, fabric marker or pencil or pin.
Pin the center of the ankle elastic to the dot on the lining and tack in place using your sewing machine.
I find it helpful to tack the edges of the ankle elastic to the notched, outer edges of the lining (use the top notches and not the bridge notches). This makes it easier to keep the elastic in place while you are stretching and sewing it in the next step.
Set your sewing machine to a medium width and length zig-zag stitch.
Stretch the elastic so that it is the length of the lining (from tack to center tack) and zig-zag stitch it in place. This can be a little tricky so you will need both hands to hold each end of the elastic.
Pivot at the center tack and stitch down to the other side.
It's difficult to make nice even zig-zag stitches when you are pulling and stitching at the same time. Luckily, this won't be noticeable once the elastic relaxes and it's on the inside of the bootie.
Next tack the bridge elastic piece from the bridge notch to the bottom notch (close to the center back heel). Tack both ends in place. Repeat with the other bridge elastic piece on the other side.
Attach them with a zig-zag stitch in the same manner as the ankle.
Lay the Upper Bootie Batting (5) on the wrong side of the Upper Bootie Lining (2) and pin in place around the outside. Carefully stretch the elastic so that the outer edges align.
Baste together around the outside 3/8”/10mm from the edges. You may have to stop occasionally to remove or unstick the batting from your machine’s presser foot.
It may be easier to keep the batting from shifting if you stitch the top and bottom together before stitching the curved center front areas.
Then baste the curved center bootie edges.
With right sides together, fold the Upper Booting Lining/Batting in half so that the curved center front edges are aligned and then pin or clip in place. Then stitch together with a 5/8”/16mm seam allowance. Clip and notch the curves.
Clip the bottom edge of the Upper Bootie Lining/Batting just up to the basting stitches. Make the clips about 1”/2.5cm apart. This will allow the straight edge to ease around the curve of the Sole Lining when attaching it in the next step.
With right sides together, pin or clip the Sole lining (3) to the Upper Bootie Lining/Batting.
Stitch the Sole lining (3) to the Upper Bootie Lining/Batting with a 1/2”/13mm seam allowance. Do not trim the seams.
OUTER TO LINING
If you haven't already, you will surely need to switch to your heavy duty needle now. You will probably find that you are switching back and forth between needles depending on what fabrics you've chosen and what step you are on.
Wrong sides out.
With wrong sides out, face the Sole of the Outer Bootie up to the Sole and Foam Inner Sole of the Lining/ Batting.
Align the front and back notches together and pin or clip them together around the outer edges of the Soles.
Stitch the Soles together outside of the sole-to-upper seam and within the seam allowance. Don’t worry if your stitching is crooked or you can’t make it all the way around. The main idea is to tack the two together so that they don’t slip around when worn. However, using a zipper foot will allow you to stitch closer to the original seam if you are having trouble.
I braved it without a zipper foot but it sure would have been helpful.
Trim and grade the seams taking care not to trim into the stitching.
You'll want to turn the bootie inside out for this next part, however, it wouldn't hurt to look at it right side out to be sure nothing is weird before you close it up.
Re-fold the top of the Upper Bootie Outer back down along the pressed creases you made in previously (3/8”/10mm and again at 1”/2.5cm for sizes AA - AF or 5/8”/1.5cm for sizes KA - KF). Press again and pin or clip in place over the top of the lining and batting.
Edgestitch around the folded down edge enclosing the Upper Bootie Lining /Batting in the seam allowance.
The foam of the sole can make turning the bootie while sewing the top a bit awkward. You'll have to stop, reposition and maneuver around a bit.
Turn the Bootie right side out. Position the elastic shock cord so that it is at the front of the Bootie laying on top.
Depress the toggle and pinch the center of the shock cord and then poke it through the toggle hole.
Tie a knot in the end of the shock cord so the toggle doesn't slip off.
You're finished - unless you haven't been sewing the second bootie all along the way.
I almost forgot that you can add fabric puff paint to your soles if you are concerned about slipping. One of our pattern testers said she plans to make a pair for her kids with their names written in fabric paint on the bottom (a very cute idea). I don't have anything on the bottom of my booties and I haven't had any issues on my wood floors though. Also, Saremy of @sewsewlive has a YouTube video about paining floor rug paint on the bottoms for non-slip.
I hope you've enjoyed sewing your Moon Bootie(s) (hehe). Thanks for following along.