As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing the DIY movement can’t do. It seems to be able to turn anything into anything, kinda like if MacGyver really got into sewing. Well, one of the DIYers favorite upcycling materials is a bulky old sweater, and today through the magic of craftiness, it’s going to be transformed into a pair of super cute sweater boots! Ha. Bet MacGyver never pulled that one off... (Note: not that I’m dissing MacGyver. In any way.)
Before we start gluing anything, we need to shape our knit into a “boot”-like shape, which you’ll mock up on your own foot.
Take a sleeve and turn it inside out. Slide it onto your leg so the cuff of the sleeve is up your calf and the open wider end is down by your foot. Keep the seam of the sleeve on the back side of your leg, so it lines up with your heel.
Slip on your flat shoes and stretch the open end of the sleeve around the edges of the shoe.
As you can see, just stretching the sleeve over the shoe creates feet that just look like giant triangles. We need nice shaped boots. Keeping the sweater knit pulled over the toe, pinch the excess back towards your ankle so it forms to the shape of your foot. Pin this excess in place. You’ll find you’ll have to pull the most excess from the back, heel and bottom of your foot to get it to form a nice shape.
Once you have your shape pinned in place, cut off the excess left behind. (Stretch your shape over your shoe again before you cut to make sure it can still fit!)
I found there was a lot of excess down by my heel in order to get it to shape nicely, so I cut off some of the knit there too. It’ll help me know where the edge of the knit should be on the shoe when we glue it later.
Repeat this again on your other boot, so you have two pinned and shaped boot forms.
Remove the shoe and carefully slide off the boot shape without disturbing the pins. You should have two wonky boot-like shapes all pinned up the side. Take your boot shapes under your sewing machine and sew a seam down the newly trimmed edge. Be sure to make your seam wide enough to catch both sides of your stretchy knit.
It’s time to heat up that glue gun and go to town! Run a line of glue just above your rubber heel, and glue down the edge of the knit. Start back at the heel to make sure the seam is centered, and then work your way around the shoe. I’d recommend taking in a little excess around the sides of your shoe - it’ll help with the nice formed shape.
Although these won’t be winter-worthy boots, the hot glue is a surprisingly sturdy way of attaching the knit. Once it’s dry, your knit won’t come off easily
Carefully turn your boot right side out again. These cheap, bendable shoes are best for this, because you can kinda fold it in half to better get it right side out.
Slip on your little booties to test the fit. Wonderful! I now have cute little sweater boots formed just for my feet! But wait, we’re not done yet. Right now, the top of the boot is just the ugly old cuff of the sweater. I have better plans...
We’re going to use the finished bottom edge of the sweater as the bottom of our cuff. Take one of your snipped pieces and wrap it around your boot. It’s up to you how tall you want your boot to be, and how long you want the cuff to be. You can have a tall boot and a short cuff, or a short boot with a long slouchy cuff. I opted for the middle ground.
Mark your cuff with pins, and trim it to the size you want. You need the top to match the width of your boot, but I flared out the bottom a bit. I also trimmed the height of my boot a bit. Do this for both cuffs.
Before we sew our cuff together, we’re going to add a bit of embroidery! I’m going to add a small fleur de lis to the middle of my cuff that will face outwards.
Now, to embroider on stretchy, chunky knit takes a few special steps. You’ll need a layer of cutaway stabilizer under your knit, then the knit fabric, and then a layer of water-soluble stabilizer on top. The top layer of stabilizer will keep the stitches from sinking into the knit. Also, be extra careful not to stretch your knit too much when you hoop it, otherwise it’ll bunch up again after it’s embroidered and unhooped.
To attach the cuff, we want to sew it to the top so it can fold over and display its pretty embroidery. Turn your cuff right side out, with the embroidery visible to the world, and tuck it inside your boot, with the embroidery facing the side where you want it to be on the outside of the boot. Line up the top of the cuff with the top of the boot and pin it in place all the way around, making sure the back seams are together.
Once it’s all pinned in place, sew a seam to secure the two together.