New Rainboots – now with DIY bow action!

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You may have seen the beginnings of this project in the background of my previous lemon picture.  If you did, kudos to you, you are awesome at details.  This project took longer than expected (I’ll get to why) but was worth it, because I now have adorable custom boots.

As you may recall, lovely readers (all two of you anyway, ha), my beloved rainboots that got me through college finally bit it.  Given that right around now is “rainy season” in LA (meaning we might get two days of on and off drizzle), I needed to get some replacements–and fast.

I had pinned these on Pinterest months back and adored them.  And basically decided to rip them off once my brown floral pair died.  So I set about shopping for rainboots to cut up and grommet. 

IMG_5999  <– my inspiration

This was easier said than done.  My previous boots were size 10’s from Target.  Yep, I have monster feet.  But they were a little tight when I wore multiple pairs of thick socks with them, so I opted for 11’s this time around.  Unfortunately, no one carries 11’s.

So off to e-bay.  I bid on and won a lovely glittery pair.  Two weeks later, the company wrote to tell me there had been a mistake and the pair I’d bid on, won, and paid for didn’t actually exist, so sorry, and that they’d refund me.

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So, I was out a lovely glittery pair of boots.  I eventually bid on and won these:

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When they arrived, they looked and fit more like this:

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Which is hideous and ill fitting and bad.  See, my previous boots had a little expandable bit at the top, and a buckle, so you could adjust them.  These were made for girls with little toothpick calves.  I do not have toothpick calves.  I have strong, muscular calves.  But they weren’t fitting.

Then I read the post that inspired this project to begin with, and, lo and behold, SHE had made her boots riveted and bowed because her calves didn’t fit either!  It was perfect!  So I went to the store, bought a bunch of ribbon and a grommet kit (the exact one she used) and went to town.

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Lots of ribbon!  Because who likes to decide, plus I can match any outfit now.  And the ribbon section of sewing stores is always fantastic.

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There are all my supplies, ready to go.

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And the grommet kit, complete with instructions.

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First I chopped down the back of my boots.  This part was scary, but I just kept trying them on til they stopped crinkling.  I cut more than I had planned.

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I hadn’t realized you had to cut your own holes for the grommets.  This part was tricky.  I traced around the bottom part of the grommet with Sharpie, stabbed a hole with a knife, and then cut carefully with scissors.  One or two turned out a little bigger than I wanted, but they were mostly okay.  I used that same grommet piece as my guide to make sure my holes were good.

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Then I pieces the grommet bits together, and the little kit it came with, took the whole thing down to the garage, and tried to hammer on the concrete as suggested.  I guess I should have known this part was tricky, as the other blogger said to get extra grommets because you will ruin some.  Long story short, after following all the instructions and hammering my heart out (and smashing a finger or two in the process), not one grommet stayed on.  Out of the entire $12 kit.  I was so mad.  Dritz, I normally love you guys, but these grommets were crap.  I don’t know how the other blogger got them to stay, and I could get mine to stay and look pretty, but then they’d pop right out.  The little prong pieces wouldn’t set in the boot material, and the little flange bit wouldn’t spread, and it just was. not. happening.

I went back to my apartment feeling defeated, and trying to figure out what else I could use.  The internet doesn’t have a lot of useful advice on grommeting boots.  I finally discovered rubber grommets exist, apparently primarily for automotive purposes, and I found some that looked to be about the right size on ebay.  So I ordered a box of 25 and they arrived today.

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And they fit!  It was nice because each was one piece, didn’t require hammering my poor fingers, and popped right into place with their perfect little grooves.

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Left is un-grommeted, right is grommeted, in case that wasn’t obvious.

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I will admit that they had to be laced kind of carefully, mostly on the holes that I screwed up and cut too big, but any grommets that popped off were easy enough to pop back in.

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I ended up going with the green satin ribbon to start out, mainly because the ribbon I picked was super thick, and the grosgrain was too thick and tough for the little grommets. But the satin, other than being a little too thick, was just right, and pretty.

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So there you have it, DIY lace-up rainboots for the style conscious or non-toothpick-calved among us.

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2 thoughts on “New Rainboots – now with DIY bow action!

  1. I LOVE your post!!!! I have large/athletic calfs also. I was all set to preform surgery on my rain boots until, my husband said:” how do you keep them from ripping further”. Now, I’m scared. Have your continued to rip? How long have you had them?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi there! I sliced mine down far enough that they don’t have any stress on them and haven’t ripped further. I tried to glue the seam initially, but that didn’t really seem to work. If you’re worried about it, I’d recommend punching two small pin holes, each near the side of the seam, and then reinforcing with some strong thread, just sewing between them to kind of reinforce that part of the seam better. I’ve had them since I initially posted, and granted, it doesn’t rain a lot in Southern California, but they’ve held up perfectly to walking to and from work (.5 miles each way) and even being worn throughout my work day and on errands sometimes. Good luck!

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