I've tried several different configurations of Santa's traditional fur boot tops with mixed success. The last two years I took an approach similar to the hood of my jacket - got a cheap pair of chunky boots with relatively soft tops, punched holes through them at intervals, then tied extra-strong thread through them with a little bell on either side as a keeper (in similar circumstances you'd often use buttons). It didn't look quite right and wasn't very strong, the fur starting to separate from the boots quite quickly as they flexed.
This year I wanted something more robust, and which really looked like a fur top to the boot. I wasn't quite in the market for knee high boots (future upgrade) but I got some nine hole patrol boots off Amazon for £20 and painfully broke them in over a couple of weeks, with the usual sacrifice to the boot gods of ankle hair and heel skin, then I added the fur.
I'll show the steps here in detail in case anyone else wants to replicate it - this is a really convenient, good-looking and robust boot topper.
1. Calculate the fur band width and length. This should be:
Length: The measurement round the top of your boot while you're wearing it. You'll almost certainly want to tuck your trousers into your boots, so do that before measuring.
Width: The distance you want the fur to come down the outside of the boot, plus the distance you want it to come down the inside (only needs a few centimeters, I allowed 4cm for a bit of leeway), plus a centimeter or so for the thickness of the boot.
2. Cut out two fur strips to these dimensions.
3. Sew the fur strips into loops. I just fold them in half with the backing outward and overstitch the ends, tucking the fur in to keep it clear of the stitches.
4. Take a sock, right way out, then turn the top down as far as the full fur band width.
5. Place one of the bands around the sock with the fur pointing towards the heel of the sock (I got it wrong in these two pictures, which I took just to illustrate the technique better!).
6. Backstitch a vertical line of stitches holding the fur to the folded over portion of the sock. The easiest way I've found is to start at the top and work down to the hem of the sock, with a couple of fingers underneath the folded over top to help the needle through.
Although you're working on the fur side which is usually not ideal, stitching as vertically as you can you should be able to brush the fur aside and have it close over the stitches afterwards, making them almost invisible.
The line of stitches can be anywhere on the sock, but then repeat this on exactly the opposite side on both the sock and the fur, so you'll end up with a loose loop of fur on each side - these need to be as close to the same size as possible. This will allow the sock to expand evenly all round to cover the boot top.
7. Repeat with the other sock.
Your boot toppers are ready to wear! I recommend putting them on like this:
1. Put your santa trousers on. I got 42 inch waist black jeans (I'm about a 32 inch waist normally) so they expand nicely over the boots, cinched in tightly at the waist with a belt.
2. With socks the right way out (fur will be on the inside), put them on, with the top folded down then push them down below your ankle.
3. Wrap the trousers tightly against your ankle, and pull the socks up all the way over them to hold them in place (fur now on the inside). This will also showcase your beautifully neat vertical backstitch (ahem).
4. Put the boots on and lace them up.
5. Fold the socks down over the boots.
6. If you're wearing oversized trousers, try and pull them out and even out the folds to get a good baggy expansion above the boots for that perfect santa profile.
The suit is complete! (for this year at least)
Which means there's only one thing left to do...
Thank you so much for following my Eight Days of Santacraft! I hope you've gained something from it - at least a bit of entertainment, and maybe some ideas for your own costumes or crafting projects. A special thanks for those of you who've shared and promoted these posts and helped me grow the site - I really appreciate it. I'd like to wish you all a very happy new year, and I'll be back on the 6th with a new post. Until then, much love.
See you soon!