DIY spa slippers

When I told my brother about this week’s project, the first thing he said was, “You know you can buy those, right?” Halfway into the project, I started to wish I did. My old shower slippers fell apart recently. I examined the shreds and decided that I could make my own—only better. I bought a thrift-store bath towel for $1, grabbed an old pair of flip-flops, and went to work. So glad I stuck with it. They feel like heaven on my feet.

UPDATE 10/2011: Good news! These slippers are machine washable and dryable. I just pulled mine out of the dryer, and they’re clean, fluffy—and a little damp. They’ll need to air dry overnight.

How to make spa slippers out of a towel and flip-flops

Fair warning: Before attempting this project, please see step #21 below.*



  • old flip-flops, thongs, zoris, sandals (whatever you call them)
  • old cotton terry cloth towel
  • 1/4 yard polyester batting
  • 1/4 yard faux leather
  • coordinating thread


  • sewing machine
  • fabric scissors
  • kitchen shears
  • upholstery straight pins
  • water-soluble fabric marker
  • pencil
  • tape measure
  • needle


1. Cut off the thong part of the flip-flop. My kitchen shears were the only scissors I had that were strong enough. With a pencil, trace each sandal onto the back of the faux leather, which will be the sole of the slipper.


2. Measure 5/8-inch around the outside and mark with dots. Connect the dots. This is the seam allowance.


3. Cut out the faux leather along the outer line.


4. Trace the leather cutout onto towel with fabric marker. Cut them out.


5. Do the same thing with the batting.


6. Measure around the outside edge to determine the length of the side pieces.


7. Measure the height of the thickest point of the sandal to determine the width of the side pieces.


8. For the side pieces, cut two strips of towel. They should be about two inches longer than the circumference of the sandal and 1-1/4 inches wider than the height of the sandal (height + 5/8-inch seam + 5/8-inch seam). I also cut the same size strips in the batting, but ended up not using them because of thickness problems. You’ll see.


9. This is where some guesswork comes in. For the top pieces, draw around the outside of the leather pattern, flaring out a bit toward the heel, which will accommodate your foot. Then draw another line 5/8 inch outside of that line (for the seam) and cut out.


10. Cut four top pieces. You can use the same pattern for all of them because the towel is reversible.


11. Cut out two pieces of batting the same size.


12. Trim off about 5/8 inch from the bottom so they’ll fit inside better.


13. All the pieces you need are now cut. (I discarded the thin strips of batting in this photo.)


14. Sew the bottom edges of the top pieces (5/8-inch seam allowance). Turn right side out and insert batting.


15. Sew the top edges together with the batting inside (1/2-inch seam allowance).


16. Sew the footbed pieces to the batting (1/2-inch seam allowance).


17. Starting at the heel, sew the thin strips of towel to the outside edge of the faux leather sole (1/2-inch seam allowance).


18. Make sure you start with the short edge folded back in the correct direction, then overlap the other short edge at the end. Hand sew the two ends together. I used a whip stitch.


19. Snip out triangles from the seam of the sole. This will help it bend correctly when it’s turned right-side-out.


20. The layers were too thick for straight pins, so I used large binder clips to attach the top piece to the foot bed. Place the sole upside down on top of the other two pieces.


21. Sew all three pieces (top, foot bed, and leather sole) together in one seam (1/2-inch seam allowance)—leaving the heel open large enough to insert the flip-flop.

* My sewing machine was unable to handle the bulk of the fabric for this last seam, so I took them to European Cobblery, and Jessica sewed them on her heavy-duty machine. It cost me $28 (with a 20% off coupon).


22. Turn right side out and insert the flip-flop.


23. Hand sew the heel portion closed. You can use a hidden stitch or whip stitch. The whip stitch is easier in this case, and it’s nearly invisible against the terry cloth anyway.