Thursday, January 08, 2015

This Blog Is Moving!

www.redrainbootshandmade.blogspot.comIt's painful to do, but needs to be done.
With a new year, it's time to streamline.  And that includes streamlining my "name", too

On Instagram, Etsy (quilts and patterns), and Big Cartel (headbands) my name gradually shifted to
 "Red Rainboots Hamdade".  So this blog was the last thing to get the old switch-a-roo.

All these old posts, tutorials and pictures will remain on this blog. 
The kinks aren't completely ironed out yet, but from here on out you can find me over at my new blog:

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Weekender Finish

{A little preface - This is an huge amount of info for one bag, but I wanted to record it for future reference.  And in sharing things that did or did not work well for me, it will hopefully make your Weekending a little easier.}

This past October, I experienced my first ever "Girls Sewing Weekend" with some of my sisters/mom and a few friends.  My friend Morgan and I both made Weekenders, and working on them together was so fun!
You can check out her super-cute Etsy Shop HERE.
Our bag styles were very different - and yet I loved them both!
And now that they are done, I'm excited to share with you a few things we learned and did along the way that helped simplify the process.
{what follows is just my opinions and advice... written a bit skattered... but hopefully helpful if you're just starting out...I've highlighted the main points for easy skimming. 
And If you want the particulars of my bag, but not the process, skip to the bottom of this post.}
If you already know exactly what you want your bag to look like, go for it!  But if you are undecided, here's what I'd suggest:
Selecting Fabrics
Do you like scrappy and quilted?  Large, bold florals?  Simple, minimalistic geometric? 
Here’s the first thing you should do: Make a folder on Pinterest just for Weekender Bag Ideas and pin the bags that catch your eye.  (Flikr and Instagram have a bunch). 
Go back and re-look at all your pins.  You will begin to notice a common thread between them. 
This advice my friend gave me was exactly what I needed to hear.
"Don't stress about trying to pick a fabric that you think other people will like... or that you think is probably trendy.  Just pick what YOU like.  Don’t worry about anything else." 
Advice and Add-Ons
There are a ton of blogs that have helpful ideas, share personal experience or changes they made, or have tutorials for extra add-ons to this bag.  You can learn a lot from them.  So much information can also be confusing. Trust the pattern!  If it's your first time making this bag, make it as written, unless you have previous experience with bag making.

The ONE THING I Would Do Differently
Use a "beefier" zipper for the outside of the bag - with bigger teeth and tab.  I used a standard zipper (one I had on hand), and now it seems a little wimpy.  When I go to unzip my bag, it is a bit hard to grab hold of the small tab.
Use coupons and buy during sales.
Even with buying during sales, and using hefty coupons, the overall cost of the bag ran about $100.  Granted, I splurged and bought nice leather handles which added $20 to this total.
Cut out all your fabric and interfacings in one fell swoop - an evening, or a few hours in the afternoon – it takes a chunk of time. 

1 - If you are adding in any extras, make yourself notes (ahead of time)at those points in the pattern, so you don’t forget to add them, and then have to leave them out (speaking from personal experience here!).
2 - Go Slow.
3 - Don’t stress over broken needles.  If it makes you feel any better, I broke 4.  Three of them were because I kept forgetting to switch my needle position back, when rotating between my zipper foot and regular foot.  The other one was when I tried to sew too fast through really thick layers.
 4 - I opted to sew my bag lining in with my machine (rather by hand).  It looks like top-stitching, isn't going to pull or rip out easily.
(all items purchased at JoAnn Fabrics unless otherwise noted)
- Exterior Fabric: Home D├ęcor fabric
- Lining Fabric: DS quilting cotton
(*note: because it was a thinner fabric than called for, I used Pellon SF101 on all my lining pieces, to give it extra stability)
4 bag feet (or 6, and place 2 in the middle to prevent sagging)
2 magnetic snaps for the large outside pockets
Inside pocket (I used a 9” zipper and extra lining fabric)
Leather handles (from Etsy)
 Stitch Witchery ¼” – for making your cording (using your zipper foot works too.)
Clover Binding Clips (so you don't bend all your pins)
Making your cording - (Jen and Franz)
Attaching Leather Handles - (At Home With Mrs. H)
Hope this helps you have a little more fun Weekending!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Making Pom-Pom Garlands

For the past year or so I have been a little obsessed with pom-poms on Pinterest.  I think they are so charming and whimsical.  And when you make them into garlands, they are fabulous on your mantle, strung over chalkboards, hung in children's bedrooms, or casually draped on headboards... 
There are a few different ways to make pom-poms, but overall pom-poms are fairly simple and inexpensive (especially when using up all that leftover yarn!).  One thing they do take, is a bit of time (which in my case, is in the evenings after the little ones are asleep, or during the day while listening to them do their reading to me.)

I chose to go the cheapest route possible, and used a fork (and my fingers) to make mine.  The size and density is up to you!  And if you want to make red and white garland like this, just keep reading.
Materials needed:
- red and white yarn
  (I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn, in "Cherry Red" and "Soft White")
- kitchen fork
- scissors
- twine (or yarn)
- blunt-end craft needle (I think I got mine at Wal-mart with the knitting stuff) Just be sure it has a BLUNT tip, or it will end up pulling out some of your pom-pom strands.

Note: This tutorial is to make the white pom-poms small size, and the red pom-poms large size, but feel free to switch it up!

To make the Small White Pom-Poms:

(I'm so embarrassed to admit, that with the first 50 or so pompoms I made, I only wrapped the tie through the middle of the looped yarn, and not all the way around the looped yarn, which made them incredibly lopsided, AND I was having to trim off almost half of my pom-poms to make them even.  Finally I looked closer at another picture, and realized I had to wrap the tie all the way around the looped yarn!  Let's just say, after that it went much better, and I had far less waste.  =)
To make the Large Red Pom-Poms:

To make the Pom-Pom Garland:
Cut your twine to desired length.  (Note: keep in mind, if you are going to add knots in between pom-poms, you will need to leave extra length on your twine)
Now here's 2 options:
Some tutorials I've seen just have you use the extra ends of the ties, and you tie the pom-poms directly to the twine.  I chose to NOT do it this way, as I feel like they look like they're hanging off the twine, vs the twine going directly through the middle of the pom-poms.  But it's your call.
Trim all the long tie ends on each pom-pom.  And when you get to the end of your twine, make another loop knot. 
(having loops at the ends will allow you to connect strands, if you are ever so inclined.)
Can't wait to see what you make with your pom-poms!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kaleidoscope Mini-Quilt {or Pillow Sham} Tutorial

I just had the privilege of participating in my first quilt swap, and boy was it fun!  It was all top secret, so the lovely lady I was assigned to as my swap partner had no idea that I was sending this to her - all the way to Australia, no less!  Samantha (@aqua_paisley) received it today, so we're in the clear now, to share this little tutorial. 
This tutorial uses the Kaleidoscope Smart Plate Ruler
However, if you don't have this Kaleidoscope ruler (and don't want to shell out much cash right now), you could use this paper piecing Kaleidoscop pattern (for $2) by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts, and it's the exact size you need for this project!  (Note: If you choose to paper piece instead, make 25 (4") blocks, and skip to step 8)
Pillow Sham:
To make this into a pillow sham, follow the steps for piecing and quilting the front.  You can make the back with an envelope closure, or follow my preferred method, with a hidden zipper.  A zipper just seams to keep the pillows more fluffy (and stops them from fluffing out the back opening!)  I follow this fabulous tutorial from Pile 'O Fabric.
Kaleidoscope Mini Quilt (or 20" pillow sham) 
20.5" finished
(37) 5” charm squares
(18) 5” background squares (I used low-volume fabrics)
22” square for backing
22” square batting
Binding – 90” length
Kaleidoscope Smart Plate Ruler

General Information:
4” finished block
¼” seam allowance
HST: Half Square Triangle
“A” Block: pinwheel with background fabric
“B” Block: colored pinwheel with background fabric corners

(37) 5” squares – print fabric
(18) 5” squares – background fabric
                1 - Set aside (13) squares
                2 - Sub-cut (6) into 2 1/8” squares (4 per square) – for a total of 24 small squares.
                3 - Now cut each of these small squares on the diagonal, making 48 triangles.
Now let's get started!
Step 1 - Pair up your squares as follows:
13 prints with 13 background squares ("A" blocks)
12 prints with 12 more prints ("B" blocks)
Step 2 - Sew around the entire outside edge of a 5” block set. (repeat for all A & B sets)
Step 3 - Cut each square set diagonally (both directions), from corner to corner.  Press open.
(Note: Don’t worry about trimming the corners of the HST’s now – you will trim them in a later step)
Step 4 - Pair up your HST’s into groups of 4. (for your 13 “A” pinwheels, and 12 “B” pinwheels) 
Step 5 - Sew your sets into pinwheels,  by sewing each group of 4 HST's together.  Repeat this step, to make (13) “A” blocks and (12) “B” blocks.
*Tip: to reduce bulk in the center of each pinwheel and get your middle seams to lay flat, unpick the 2-3 stitches outside the seam allowance. 
It will create a little "twist" in the center when you press the seams in opposite directions.  Isn't that neat?!
Step 6 – Trim your blocks to a 4” block size.
Tip:  Before you start, place a piece of painters tape right below the line on your ruler that you are using (in this project, the 4" line), so you don't have to re-find it each time. (I learned this about half-way through and it sped things up remarkably!) 

Ok - now for the "A" blocks...
Use the narrow wedge on the ruler, and line up your 4" block line with one of the background fabrics on your pinwheel.  Trim along both edges.
Repeat on all 4 sides
"B" blocks are up next:
Step 7 – for your “B” blocks, sew 4 of your 2 1/8” triangles onto the 4 corners of each B block.  
Press & trim tips off.
 And now you're ready to start sewing these blocks together!
Step 8 – Lay out your blocks (5 blocks across, and 5 down). 
Your first row will be (L to R):  block A-B-A-B-A. 
Alternate layout for each additional row. (5 rows total)
Step 9 – Sew all 5 rows together. Press.
Step 10 – If you are making a mini-quilt, baste & quilt as desired.  Bind.
If you are making a pillow sham, baste & quilt as desired.  And follow this tutorial (click here) for making the back.  Remember, your finished pillow sham size will be 20.5"! 
Good luck!
And there you go!  You've got a fabulous Mini-Quilt, or a 20" pillow cover.
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