This is my first attempt at writing a “how to” blog, and hopefully the instructions will make sense! I’ve been making these Christmas boots for several years. Many of my friends and family have received one or more as a gift, often with a bottle of wine which fits perfectly inside! I’ve had lots of practice and I think I’ve found the easiest and quickest way to make them so I thought I’d share it with you.
Attached are my two patterns for the bottom part of the boot. One features a flat bottom, with optional shaping of the heel and the other has a high heel which can be chunky or stilleto depending on what you like.
These boots can be made of any fabric you like, but here are a few suggestions and tips.
- The bottom part of the boot looks good in a fabric that looks like leather , suede or patent leather. Having said that, some fake leathers and fabrics with sequins or other super shiny bits will melt if the iron gets even close to them! Be very careful not to press seams if using these fabrics.
- The tops look good in shiny fabrics such as satin lining, brocade or lamé. I stay away from really stretchy fabrics because they annoy me (I don’t have a serger or anything that deals well with them)!
- If using lamé or another thin or brittle fabric, fuse light weight interfacing to the back of it to stabilize it and prevent fraying.
- These boots started as a way to use up odd shapes of shiny fabric leftovers. In keeping with the initial idea, I make them from scraps, fabric remnants and sale fabrics (usually acquired right after Halloween!)
- I like to stuff the foot portion of the boot with with batting and fabric trimmings from other projects to keep waste to a minimum. It makes the boots heavier than using polyester fibrefill but keeps the scraps out of the landfill (for a time anyway). I usually use polyester batting scraps or cotton wool for the pointed toes and the stiletto heel as it’s difficult to get anything else in the tiny space.
Cut out the foot portion of the boot using one of the patterns on doubled fabric, so you have two pieces (or cut one the reverse of the other). The pattern prints onto an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper. You can extend the heel past the pattern if you want it higher.
boot-pattern-a High heel
boot-pattern-b No heel
Cut a 14 inch piece of cotton batting for the base of the leg portion of the boot. I have the following suggestions and examples on how to complete this. Note that the 14 inch square is a base that will be trimmed later – trimming to about 13 by 13 is good.
Option 1 – cover with a single piece of fabric and free motion stitch. The two samples below show slight variations of this. The gold boot has a piece of dark green lining fabric overlaid with a polyester sheer with Christmas trees on it. I lightly free motion stitched in gold to hold it all together. The silver boot (I love this snakeskin look!) has a purple piece of satin with a strip of the lower boot fabric as a cuff. It’s stipple stitched all over to hold it together.
Option 2 and variations – this option involves cutting strips of assorted fabrics in varying widths and stitching them onto the batting base using a “quilt as you go” method. In the samples below you can see variations on this approach. The black boot has strips arranged vertically, while the white boot has them arranged diagonally across the base square. In both cases I’ve added a bit of free motion stippling to some of the strips. Strips can also be arranged horizontally or you could use wedge shaped pieces and alternate the wide and narrow ends of the wedges.
Step 3 – When the top is quilted, trim it to the desired height and width – I recommend between 12 and 13 inches for width, and 13 inches for the height. Cut a piece of fabric for the lining the same size as the top, plus an inch or two in length (see Step 5 below on this). Lining can be any fabric – you may see the very top of it but not much else. I often use a satin lining fabric in a coordinating colour.
Step 4 – Assembly – Now that you have all of the pieces cut out and the tops quilted, it’s time to put it together and do the final shaping of the boot.
- Stitch the two pieces of the foot portion of the boot right sides together from point A to point B as shown below. You are leaving the back seam open for now. Don’t worry too much about consistency of the seam width, just make sure any shiny fabrics don’t slide too much and miss the seam. Each boot can and should be unique!
- Centre point A on the bottom edge of quilted boot top, right sides together. It will not fill the entire width of the top. Make sure it is centred as you will later be folding the boot in half lengthwise to stitch the back seam and you want the edges of both the boot top and bottom to line up when you do that. Stitch the bottom to the top.
- Lay the lining piece against the top of the boot top, right sides together and stitch them together.
- Now, fold the lining, boot top and bottom back seams right sides together and pin in place. If things have shifted a bit make seam between the boot top and the lining matches up as this will be the most noticeable. Your stitching line needs to connect the boot top to the ankle in a nice curve. This curve can start about 5 inches before the boot bottom seam to form a shapely calf, or you can make it more gradual starting higher up. You can mark this curve onto the wrong side of your boot top with a fabric marker or you can just wing it! Once it’s stitched, trim away the excess fabric. Don’t attempt to shape the lining to match this. Hopefully this diagram will help! Once you’ve stitched this seam turn the boot right side out – use a tool to poke out the points at the toe and heel if necessary.
Step 5 – Now you need to stuff the boot bottom. Fold the lining back over top of the boot to keep it out of the way while you do this. Stuff the toe and the stiletto heel first. If you don’t stuff the tip of the pointy toe, it will fall to the side when a bell is attached, which I think is a nice look. Once these are filled, add whatever stuffing you want to the rest of the boot to give it some shape and weight. How far up into the ankle you go is up to you, and the length of your lining fabric. If you don’t stuff the full ankle, allow extra length on the lining to enable your stocking stuffers to get to the bottom!
Step 6 – After stuffing the boot, straighten out the lining. Fold the raw edges in to the wrong side to hide them incorporating a little pleat to narrow the bottom edge. Pin and stitch the edges together on the right side. Push the lining down into the boot. If possible press the top edge of the boot, and then top stitch around it to keep the lining in place. (This is a reason to not make the boots too narrow at the top edge – a 13 inch boot with a 1/2 inch back seam will end up making a circle with a diameter of 6 inches to stitch around.)Step 7 – Finishing touches! If you want to hang the boot up, add a piece of looped ribbon to the top edge. Stitch it down well but I don’t recommend hanging a boot with anything really heavy in it (like a bottle of wine )! Hand stitch a bell onto the tip of the pointy toe. Add a ribbon around the the ankle if you wish!