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How-To: Boot Shaper Inserts

Green work, holiday craft, repair work, Sewing  |  October 20th 2011  |  0 Comment


Now that boot season is in full swing, nobody wants to walk around in slouchy, misshapen footwear. With this very useful boot shaper insert tutorial from Lucinda at Sew Wrong, you can keep your boot collection in tip-top condition on the cheap. Without creases and cracks from toppling over in your closet, your favorite boots might just last for several more seasons!

Boot Inserts

boot insert tutorial 16

It’s official: I am a boot aficionado.  This year I have now brought my boot collection to a total of 13 pairs, ranging from rain to riding, snow to stiletto.  My problem is how to properly store them in my closet: I’ll line them up on the floor or on shelves, but they always flop over each other.  In the past, I bought plastic boot inserts to keep them upright (they broke), and the price for those nice cedar inserts are out of my budget.  So when I brought home a pair of heeled boots this year and pulled out the stuffing from my new beauties, I thought for a second – these cardboard inserts aren’t so bad!  They keep the shape of the boots in the box, and when you stand the boots, the leg stays upright.  So why not make pretty looking ones?
Materials:1/2 yard – 1 yard fabric (depending on how high your boot leg is)
1/2 yard – 1 yard Thermolan Plus
2 – 4 sheets 12×18″ ultra stiff plastic canvas (depending on how floppy your boots are)
Cardboard boot insert from packaging (optional)
Spray adhesive
Freezer paper
Clear ruler with grid
Fabric and paper scissors
Straight pins
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine
Iron and ironing board
Hand-sewing needle
Sharpie or marker


boot insert tutorial 2

Step 1: Trace the silhouette of your cardboard boot insert onto a piece of plastic canvas to make the plastic insert. If you don’t have a leftover cardboard insert from your pair of boots, trace the top of the boot down to the ankle to make a pattern.  The purpose is to create a shape that will fill the leg of your boot when you’re not wearing it.  Repeat this for the other boot, making a total of two plastic canvas inserts.

You may want to make a total of four plastic canvas inserts instead, two for each boot.  This depends on the boot’s degree of floppiness.  I used one plastic canvas insert for each boot in the picture above, but could definitely see using two each for my suede boots.

boot insert tutorial 3

Step 2:  Using your plastic canvas insert, trace the shape on to a piece of double-thickness Thermolan Plus.  Cut out along the lines and repeat for the other boot.

boot insert tutorial 4

You will now have a total of four Thermolan Plus shapes, two for each boot, and two plastic canvas inserts, as seen above.


boot insert tutorial 5

Step 3:  Using your plastic canvas insert as a pattern, trace the boot shape onto a piece of freezer paper.  Add a 1/2″ seam allowance around edges using a clear grided ruler.

boot insert tutorial 6

Step 4: Fold your fabric in half and cut out two boot shapes from the fabric using your freezer paper pattern.  You will have a total of four boot shapes when completed.

boot insert tutorial 7

Step 5: Lay your Thermolan Plus pieces on top of the wrong side of your fabric, making sure to keep a 1/2″ seam allowance border.  This allows the Thermolan Plus to not be caught in the seam allowances when sewing, making nice, bulk-free seams.

boot insert tutorial 8

Peel back one side of your Thermolan Plus from one side of the insert fabric.  Spray adhesive in a back-and-forth motion lightly over the exposed Thermolan.  Smooth Thermolan back over to adhere to fabric, and repeat on other end.  Flip fabric and Thermolan piece over and smooth out any visible wrinkles that may have happened during adhesion.

Repeat for other half of boot insert.  You will have two boot insert components made of a piece of Thermolan Plus fused to the wrong side of the fabric.

boot insert tutorial 9

Step 6: Pin together the right sides of the boot insert fabric, leaving the top of the boot insert (the wide end) open.Sew around boot insert with 1/2″ seams, backstitching at both ends to secure stitching.  Clip corners.

boot insert tutorial 10

Step 7:  Turn boot insert right side out and press seams, making insert nice and flat.  Doesn’t that look pretty?

boot insert tutorial 11

Step 8:  Insert plastic canvas into boot insert “pocket,” guiding it in with your hand.  You may have to trim down the top of your plastic canvas a little so that a 1/2″ seam allowance of fabric can be folded over the canvas, seen in the next step.

boot insert tutorial 12

Step 9:  Fold in 1/2″ seam allowance over canvas and into “pocket,” forming a closed seam at the top of the boot insert. Pin in place through fabric and canvas.

boot insert tutorial 13

Step 10:  Using coordinating thread and a needle, stitch the top seam closed with a slip stitch.  Bury knot and clip thread ends.  The top of your boot insert should look like this:

boot insert tutorial 14

Repeat steps 6-10 for other boot insert.

boot insert tutorial 15

Floppy boots, begone!

source: sewwrong.blogspot.com

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