“Up from the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success,” says the fount of wisdom that is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I had cause to remember this as I made a complete mess of things initially with my first project, Wellie Boot Liners. I mentioned yesterday I was working on these and this morning I was determined to finish them, but I ran into problem after problem and finally had to admit defeat.
However, where my the boot liners failed, my alternative solution came up blooming because its far, far easier and quicker: Felted Shoe Insoles.
These handy little babies are what’s going to let me wear my utterly charming but poorly insulated new Wellington boots instead of having to stump for the practical but boring option.
All you need is (yet again) an old wool sweater. That’s it.
If I haven’t persuaded you to start trawling the charity shops and your friends closets for old sweaters — especially ones with moth holes or stains — then hopefully I will now.
As I explained in the Felted Sweater Bag tutorial (for pictures and more detailed instructions), you simply add a few good squeezes of dishwashing liquid onto your sweater and throw it into the wash on the hottest cycle you have.
Once you have your felt, simply remove the sole from your shoe and place it on top of the fabric.
Then cut around it — I didn’t bother to trace it or anything, just cut away — with a little extra room just in case.
Place it in your shoe or boot and trim if necessary. That’s it!
Now here’s how I came to be doing this. These are the boots that are my super deluxe purchase of the year: the Hunter Festival 2009 wellington boot.
I’m afraid they’re pretty much all style over substance, meant for traipsing about rock concerts in the mud. I tried, I really did, to find boots that had a rugged sole and warm interior to suit our daily treks over the rocks and the beach, but they were all just so borrrring.
I like my jaunts outside to have the spice of adventure, and that means a pair of boots I can’t wait to put on.
When I found out there is such a thing as wellie boot liners, I thought I’d go one better and make them out of felted sweaters I’ve already got. Here’s the original design I was attempting to copy:
My niece Sameena was visiting from New Zealand and she came up with the design. She thought very cleverly of using plastic bags to wrap around our feet to get an idea of the shape of the pattern and we even sewed a mockup that looked like it would work.
So I made it up this morning using two different sweaters because I didn’t have enough fabric left over in either. But when I tried to put it in the boot, no luck.
Wayyyy to much fabric meant it was never going to get in there. It was a bit depressing really, but then sometimes it’s good to realise just how hard things are to make, that there’s a reason cobblers are master craftsmen, for example.
As I was thinking what to do with all these scraps of felt, I figured I could at least line the bottom of my boots and so I pulled out my shoe sole, cut around it, and popped the fleece into the boot. Ah, luxury.
I’m wearing the boots today to see how they do. So far, the soles feels fantastic.
So my other lesson for today is to Keep It Simple. And just for fun…
I haven’t given up completely on the boot liners, so if you have any suggestions, please chime in.
So far, this is the best Welly Warmer tutorial I’ve found and I’ll probably give it a go at some point (though I couldn’t find any pattern to download, which means I’ll need to come up with it myself).
I’ve already ordered the faux fur to make the Dubarry knock-off boot liners, but now I’m thinking I might just use my over-the-knee socks and add a strip of fur to the edge.
If you try the insoles, let me know how you like them.