Really Big Hats

Projects that contain Really Big Hat applique characters

Boot Bag – a perfect cowboy Christmas

The need for a boot bag pattern is probably beyond obvious since our Happy Trails cowboy and cowgirl are our most popular patterns. And, after all, the most identifying characteristic of a cowboy – besides his hat – would be his boots. So, just in time for your Christmas stitching marathon, here is our Happy Trails boot bag!


Made from faux leather fabric

Boots: every cowboy needs them and every cowboy has them. Some are prized because of they are well broken in and soooo comfortable and familiar.

old cowboy boots

Ah, yes, these boots are old familiar friends!

Others are prized because they are shiny new and ready for special occasions.


Now these are not your every day boots!

Some are so special that they may stay brand new in the boot bag for several months before an occasion is special enough to allow them to see the light of day.


Such a pair of special boots may well have been the inspiration for the boot bag. After all these boots came home to Sister’s Colorado ranch only after they were discovered in a Cozumel market (“Hey, cowboy, come over here and I’ll show you the real deal in boots!”), sailed a few days in the Caribbean and flew across the middle of the US. Such a pair of boots deserves the special protection of their own bag.


Where’s the hat, boys?


The pattern features full sized boot bag pattern and pictures of the process. (Colored pictures if you order the PDF downloadable pattern.) Easier to stitch than you might think, the bag has a divider/liner and two zippers and our Really Big Hat cowboy. (The applique pieces are numbered so you will be sure to get them on in the right order.)

Happy Trails PDF Cowboy Boot Bag cover

Now the most obvious thing is that we need a bag for this fellow’s lady friend. So, stand by… we will be back with that very soon.

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Really Big Hats | Leave a comment

A Holly Jolly Santa Quilt & the Never, Ever Again Sister

We are Christmas lovers. We admit it. We embrace it.

We love all things Christmas –

Ornaments 3x4

These red work ornaments are from the Starry Night collection.

mangers and angels;

SN stocking printable

These are from our Starry Night collection

trees full of lights and stockings hung on the fireplace;

figgy pudding


wassail and figgy pudding –

okay, so neither of us has ever even smelled figgy pudding-but you get the idea.


You would think that the design and production of a Christmas quilt would be pure joy. Bliss. Easy peasey pie.

We thought so too.


Such was not the case. Without going into a lot of gory details about miscalculated changes

and mis-measured squares

and mis-cut sashings

and ill-filled Santa appliqué suits,

let’s just say that even the sister who has a whole collection of old Santas reached her frustration limit and called a halt to the process until sanity could be restored. At that point the half-finished Santa quilt was banished to the southern division of the company via USPS with an enclosed note that read in part: never to be seen or heard about again. Ever. I mean never, ever. Never, ever again! Fiddle de de! I mean bah humbug!

bah humbug

So the partial Santa quilts were nestled away for a long, long, long winter’s nap -for a few years. Then one night when the luster of moon light on the new fallen … actually it was one hot summer day during a move when the other sister stumbled across this half-finished treasure. So she wheedled out an agreement whereby the never, ever again sister would give one more Christmas try to the project — IF all the parts were sorted out and pre-calculated and pre-cut before they were granted re-entry into the Colorado sewing studio.

The old adage “Begun is half done” was quoted several times in the negotiating process.

So the pieces were re-assessed and the whole plan re-evaluated and some extra touches were added and Holly Jolly Santa was added to our pattern collection. We think he is better for the wait – he matured along the way.

santa line drawing

And we are delighted to welcome Holly, Jolly Santa to the Sisters at Heart collections! He was worth the trouble!  Okay, to be completely honest, the never, ever sister may still be “reserving judgement.”


The Holly Jolly Santa appliqué figure from our Really Big Hat collection sits in the center of the quilt on a large Christmas Star block framed with gold sashing. The blocks surrounding the center are an echoing explosion of the Christmas Star.

 Christmas Star with Santa

If you can make half square triangles and split quarter square triangles, this quilt will come together quicker than Santa can lay his finger to the side of his nose and give a nod…  And the outer borders will give you lots of room for wonderful holly quilting lines.

The final touch for this holiday quilt are the felted wool holly sprigs that Santa holds, along with the holly leaves and berries scattered out to the border of the quilt.


Working with the wool is such a pleasure that I cut out more holly leaves than we needed!

holly close up

The pearl cotton stitching really makes these a great embellishments as finishing touches to the quilt.

A note about the felted wool: Some quilters will prefer to quilt the quilt before they applique the felted holly leaves. That could make appliqueing the leaves and berries a little tricky. So we’d suggest that you do the stitching around the edges of the holly leaves and berries before they are attached – much like you would do the pieces for a wool penny rug. Then once the decorative stitching is done, you can attach the felted wool to the quilt with fabric or applique glue and a few hidden stitches that go through the entire quilt. We would offer the same advice for putting the felted wool “fur” on the Santa suit.

Holly Jolly close up

He’s holding on tight to those sprigs of holly! We think that is what makes him jolly!

Making this quilt can give you an extra special holiday memory if you make it together with a stitching sister. As you know, every one of our quilt patterns has a Trading Hearts Plan in it so that, if you wish, you can stitch a quilt (trading parts) with someone else even if they live far away from you. Just think of the lingering “fa-la-la-la-las” and “ho-ho-hos” that would be part of your holidays every time you unwrap a Holly Jolly made with shared stitches.

Holly Jolly for printing

I really need to add some twinkle lights above this bed!

Holly Jolly Santa is available as an instant PDF downloadable pattern or in the regular printed paper pattern format though our Etsy store.

The really good news is that by Christmas you might just find the aforementioned never ever again sister cuddled under her Holly Jolly quilt with a good book and a cup of hot cider-having no memory of the initial hurtles and challenges of making this quilt.

It could happen! We true Christmas lovers believe in Christmas miracles!

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Really Big Hats, Seasonal Stitches | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tuck and Roll – Happy Trails Cowgirl Quillow

CO Sister id tagWhile looking for just the right word for our sister project, I came across The Urban Dictionary which says by definition a quillow is…

“A quillow is a mix between a quilt and a pillow. When folded into itself, the quillow looks and feels like a pillow. However, the inner cloth can be taken out and used as a quilt, with the pocket of where the material sits that can be used as a footrest.”
Sounds like that kind of padding would make a long ride in the saddle a lot more comfy for this western gal. (But I don’t have a saddle, and I don’t really need the pillow right now so I thought I would change the name of this cowgirl project.) I thought a “tuck & roll” blanket was a great title until I tried to look that up on the www info trail.  Boy-howdy, was I mistaken.  It could be…
pill bug

Twin Pill Bugs in the Disney/Pixar film “A Bug’s Life”. They don’t even talk!

Or if ya’ll don’t like them ‘taters, it could be…
A dog breeder, Tuck 'N Roll Acres, Owner/Breeder of Chinese Shar-Pei since 1979

A dog breeder,
Tuck ‘N Roll Acres, Owner/Breeder of Chinese Shar-Pei since 1979

Cute, but not the look I want to attract a good-lookin’ wrangler.  It could be…
A certain derogatory term used by NFL announcers applied to Justin Tuck against Denver!

A certain descriptive term used by NFL announcers applied to Justin Tuck against Denver!

I don’t even want to go there!  I was trying to connect with fabric so found the “Upholstery Journal” definition
“Tuck-and-roll refers to hand-stuffed channels that are typically used to form a decorative panel in automotive interiors. Classic tuck-and-roll is time consuming to fabricate because it entails hand stuffing individual channels. The result is a luxurious crown, and a seat with extra cushioning.”


Last but not least, it nearly scared me out of my boots with this one…

A modern urban “tactic” employed in firearms training to get around obstacles while continuing a forward movement. It is most often employed by Airsoft or Paintball gamers, however it may be used by live-fire weapons personnel as well.

The technique, almost always done while running, involves diving forward in such a way that your shoulder lands on the ground first, and you roll into a little ball. As you come out of the ball, immediately spring back up into a running stance, or move into a kneeling position.

More like tuck & fall down!

More like tuck & fall down!

I’m leavin’ all that chatter in the dust and going back to the REAL deal. Forget “tuck & roll”!  That belongs in the instructions, not the title.  So back to quillow
There is soooooo much more than just a pillow and a quilt.  Especially with our “Happy Trails Cowgirl”!
quillow 3 - for printing
She is dressed for the dancin’ now, but unfold this bundle of fun and she will change right into her workin’ clothes.  The background is a simple rail fence pattern.  A quillow makes a great weekend project with machine applique.  It will take more time to pick out her clothes than stitch up the pattern.
If you’re in a gosh-dang hurry and can’t wait for the paper pattern a PDF is available here.
Happy Trails PDF Cowgirl Quillow pattern instructions
Your lasso won’t miss with this cowgirl and don’t forget to snag her pardner on the saddle blanket.
Happy Trails
So next time ya saddle up (cuddle on the couch or go for a car ride) take along your handy-dandy quillow for company and comfort. You can always tuck it in and roll it back up.
Categories: Patterns and Projects, Really Big Hats | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Powered by

%d bloggers like this: