Sunday, September 2, 2012

Converse Slippers

The last time my feet got cold, I made myself a pretty cute pair of Mary Jane slippers. But, well, they're covered in dog hair at the moment and - let's face it - everyone has a pattern for Mary Janes! So I thought, hey, why don't I make myself a pair of Converse?

So I checked around the web. Lion Brand's website has a pretty cool pair of Oxford slippers, but that's not what I want right now (although, let's be honest, I would love to show up somewhere in a snazzy pair of crochet Oxfords and will probably make them in future).

I didn't find what I wanted, but I found a pair of slippers for babies, made out of crocheted thread. (Embroidery thread, I assume, but since I use yarn I didn't really pay that much attention.) So there we are! I have a pattern and I can adapt it to fit my massive feet.

Second step is to make the original pattern, learn how it works and see what I want to change.

This is about halfway through row 4 - I'm working my way up the side of the sole. You know, how converse always have the chunky white part at the bottom?

It's pretty clear that, even with a major increase in thread size and hook gauge, this is going to be way too small for me. Also, you can't really see it that well, but the stitches are pretty loose because they're for infants and, therefore, just for the cuteness factor. I'm going to have to use hdc, not dc, and that might play havoc with the increases. Well, we'll see.

Right, well, as you can see I've started the colored part of the converse, and at this point we've run into a bit of a problem. (Well, a pretty big problem, if I'm honest.) The number of stitches the pattern says I'm supposed to have doesn't match with the number of stitches I have. I've done the math on the numbers in the pattern, and they all add up, so I've probably done something wrong. Whatever it is, I've done it consistently wrong the last seven times I've tried, so I'm well and truly ready to move on.

I think I know the pattern well enough now that I don't need to actually finish this, though, so that's alright.

Things I don't like about the original pattern (as applied to adult feet):
--the stitches are too loose to protect against cold tile floors
--the way the pattern increases in the sole makes it difficult to get it flat (probably not a problem when you have it on, but it would bother me while I was making the shoe.)
--it's neither wide enough nor long enough for my feet.

Things I'll need to do to change the pattern:
-- use hdc instead of dc, simple enough.
-- increasing the stitches more gradually should take care of both the width problem and the way the slipper folds in on itself.
-- increasing the length is easy, just add more chains to the beginning. At first, I'm going to start off with the same number, because it'll be easiest to get the width and worry about the length later.
-- I notice that there's no provision for neatening the edges of the slipper. That's fine for cotton and probably embroidery thread too, but I'm going to think about ways I can tidy that up since I'm using acrylic yarn.

So this is the first sole I made, with a slower increase so that it's wider and longer, and flatter. It looks good! I like it a lot! The only problem is, it's about two inches too short for my foot.

That's not really a problem, though. The solution is one of those that makes people go "Oh no! How could you undo all that hard work?!" I'm just going to rip it out, add a few more chains to the beginning, and that shouldn't affect the shape or the position of the increases - I just have to make sure that, however many chains I add, I add the same number of stitches to each side.

I added 8 ch to the original chain and the sole that resulted from that fit my massive foot almost perfectly! It was just a tiny bit short. Instead of ripping out all of that, I decided just to add a row of sc.

It looks pretty much the same, though, so I'm not actually going to bother putting a picture of it.

So I carried on and got the red part of the converse finished! But, well, it's never that easy. I don't like how the sides go pretty much straight up - it makes the fit awkward once it's actually on your foot. I need to take them back more, and to do that I need to decrease in between the lace holes....

Actually, finding the right way to decrease was a real pain! I was beginning to worry about whether I'd have enough yarn to finish the pair, too, so I wanted to do it with as few extra rows as possible. It would have been a lot easier to decrease in sc, but I needed the height of hdc or (better yet) dc.

Trying to decrease dc was a nightmare. Most of what I do is in rounds, so I'd never noticed before how much shorter a dc2tog st is than a normal dc st. Initially, I'd thought that a dc lace hole was too tall, as well, but the more I got looking at it, I decided that it would be fine. So that meant, alternate rows of dc and hdc with the decreases always in the hdc. That was a pain, really, and played merry havoc with things until I figured out a good way. I went through seven tries before I found the one that I liked best. They pretty much all look the same, especially since I have a decent-but-not-amazing camera, so here's a picture of the final version!

You can see how different it is from the first. The rows slope backwards and the lace holes are much bigger than in the original version.

Now all that's left to make is the toe and the tongue, and sew it all together! That didn't take much doing, actually. Semicircles are pretty easy to make. The trickiest part was making sure that it was just a little longer than it was wide, to match up better with the space left for it. I eventually solved that by combining hdc and dc in a row. Over three rows, the dc made the toe long enough while the hdc at the sides kept it from being too wide.

The tongue was easy, too. I only had one problem with the tongue. It was too wide when I first tried it, but that's easily solved - just throw in some decrease stitches every few rows and viola! Beautiful. The laces were also super easy, although they do have a tendency to curl around. That's not a huge deal, though, not enough for me to really be bothered over. Here's the finished slipper.

It's a bit chunkier than a real converse, but that just means it'll fit people with slightly larger feet than mine - which is just fine by me, since it'll save me headaches doing sizing later!

Well, that's a perfectly good slipper, but it was a little big for me and flopped all over the place. I didn't like how difficult it was to lace up, either. So I made some changes, although unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the process!

Here's a list of the changes I made:
-- increased the number of laces holes from three to six.
-- used a bigger hook and thicker yarn for the laces and just chained an unreasonable amount. Fortunately, I didn't have to sc ea.
-- improved the shape to be more converse-like.
-- made the sole shorter and, for the red stripe, did a row of sl st between two rows of white.
-- worked the toe directly onto the sole, which eliminated both the need to sew things and the toe's tendency to poof up and flop around.


  1. Would you by chance post your pattern for others to try?

  2. How can I get a copy of your pattern?

    1. I've posted the pattern as a separate post. =) Check my blog posts for April 2013.

  3. SVP j'adore ce modele pourrais je avoir une copie. Merci