Author Archives: NoelleOlpin

About NoelleOlpin

I sew, craft, build, bike, ski, travel, garden and raise 4 kids with my filmmaking husband in the mountains of Utah--and blog about it all.

hem prom dress, wedding dress, formal gown


Step by step illustrated instructions and tutorial on how to hem a prom dress, a wedding dress, formal or evening gown.

how to hem a prom dressThis beautiful dress is about 5 inches too long for the gal who will be wearing it, too long even to fix with a tall pair of heels. Let’s go through the steps to shortening a formal, prom or wedding dress complete with delicate fabrics and numerous flowing layers.

Here are easy to follow instructions on how to hem a prom dress:
how to hem a prom dress

The back of this dress is designed to be longer than the front, we decided to make the length even all around, which is easy to achieve. The original hem is a rolled hem, I plan to used the same technique for the new hem as well.

how to hem a prom dress

While she was wearing the dress and the shoes she will be wearing with the dress, I marked exactly how long she wants the finished length to be with safety pins. I like using safety pins because they stay exactly where you put them, they don’t fall out and leave you guessing and they’re way less likely to stab the person inside the dress.

how to hem a prom dress

There are 4 layers to this dress, and a slit in the front to work with.  Each layer should be trimmed to length separately. Due to the delicacy of the fabric, I didn’t use any pins that would leave snags or holes, instead I tied up the other 3 layers and hung them out of the way, from the neck of the dress form with a spare, thin piece of fabric I had laying around.

how to hem a prom dress

I started cutting at the slit in the front, working my way around the dress.  Based on my safety pin markings  (at exactly where I wanted the final hem to be) I left 1/4 of an inch of fabric below the pin. One quarter of an inch is all the excess fabric I need for a rolled hem. I measured the distance off the floor too, to double check length, in case my marks weren’t exact.

Hint: When trimming, leave the back of the dress slightly longer to allow for curvy bottoms. In this case, slightly longer is better than too short in the finished dress.

how to hem a prom dressLayer by layer, I cut off the excess fabric.  Following the different lengths of the original hems- the inside layers are shorter and layers on the outside are slightly longer.
how to hem a prom dress

All of the layers cut to new length.

how to hem a prom dressAll of the layers have been cut to 1/4 of an inch longer than the final length. From the trimmings, you can see more fabric was taken off the back because of the added back length in the original hem.
how to hem a prom dressProblem:   The beaded bodice of this dress snags everything it touches, is extremely heavy and beautiful and I don’t want it anywhere near the fragile fabric on the bottom of the dress or the floor or anything else…
how to hem a prom dressSolution: A cardigan or shirt to cover the beadwork, buttoned up and pinned in place at the shoulders.
how to hem a prom dress

On a delicate setting on the iron, I pressed the hem in about 1/8 of an inch.

how to hem a prom dressRepeat for all layers.
how to hem a prom dressCheck your needle before sewing and make sure it’s very sharp and made for delicate fabrics. Carefully roll the fabric over your iron line and sew right down the middle of the doubled over hem, unfinished edge hidden in the middle of the hem.
how to hem a prom dressCheck to make sure that the bottom hems of the front slit match up. In most case no one will ever look at a hem, but areas like a slit draw the eye and you want to make sure both sides of the slit match up to each other.
how to hem a prom dress

You’re all finished, now you know how to hem a prom dress AND you’re ready for the big night of fun and frolic!

Thanks for following along friends, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask- I love hearing from you!

How to fix a hole in jeans

how to fix a hole in jeansWhat do you do when your favorite pair of jeans rips out in the knee, pocket or hip area or even worse- when your new, expensive jeans gets randomly snagged and torn on a sharp object?
how to fix a hole in jeansWho wants to retire a favorite pair of jeans for such a small reason? No need- they’re easily fixed and saved from retirement. It’s simple- learn how to fix a hole in jeans- from start to finish in about 15 minutes.

For an excellent patch that will last, you will need: iron on patch kit, iron and a sewing machine.

how to fix a hole in jeans

How to fix a hole in jeans:how to fix a hole in pantsIron on patches are the best place to start. This is my tried and true method for patching pants- anywhere you have a hole.

You can find these patches online, at any fabric store like Joann’s and even Walmart.

how to fix a hole in jeansI’m going to use a big patch for this hole and trim it into a narrow rectangle with about an inch of overlap on all sides of the hole.

how to fix a hole in jeansWhen trimming down the patch make sure to round the corners of the iron on patch.

how to fix a hole in jeansNow the patch is all ready to be placed on the inside of the pants, over the hole and ironed in.

how to fix a hole in jeansHeat iron for 5 minutes on the “Cotton” setting (follow the temperature directions on the patch package) Turn the pants inside out and center the patch, iron-on side down. If the patch will be covering a hole, place a piece of paper underneath hole before applying the patch.

how to fix a hole in jeansHint: For patching an area near the pocket, pin the pocket up and out of the way or it can easily get stuck and ironed into the patching area.

how to fix a hole in jeansWorking on a firm, protected surface, preheat the worn area with iron. Position patch shiny side down. Press firmly for 40 – 45 seconds. Finish by pressing around the edges.

how to fix a hole in jeansLet the fabric and new patch cool, check bond. Press again if necessary. Turn the jeans right side out and repeat.

how to fix a hole in jeansIf fibers are left hanging out over the hole you can choose to leave them and sew them into the patch area or trim them off. In this case, I trimmed off the threads.

how to fix a hole in jeansTo really secure the patch stays in place you must sew it into place. After patching many pants in many places on the pants, I’ve found that without sewing the patch in place it will definitely start to peel up on the corners after a few washes.

how to fix a hole in jeansPick a thread color that matches the color of the denim.

how to fix a hole in jeansMany sewing machines have a removable platform or bed extension. If possible, remove this section when working with pants.

how to fix a hole in jeansWith a smaller machine bed area ready, you’re ready to sew.

how to fix a hole in jeansIf your patch is anywhere near the pocket,  once again pin it up and out of the way or it’s likely to inadvertently get sewn into the patch area.

how to fix a hole in jeansWith a large zig zag stitch, sew across the torn area.

how to fix a hole in jeansSew back and forth across the tear area (with the patch underneath) a few times with the zig zag stitch.

how to fix a hole in jeansThis is what the inside of the patch will look like at this point.

how to fix a hole in jeansNow turn the pants all the way inside out. With a straight stitch, sew around the perimeter of the patch, about 1/4 of an inch in from the edge of the patch. This will reinforce the adhesive on the edge.

how to fix a hole in jeansAll sewn into place, you should be able to wash these pants over and over and the patch won’t begin to peel on the edges or completely come off.

how to fix a hole in jeans On the front side, it’s nearly impossible to see the stitching on the edge of the patch.  With a zig zag stitch sew around the hole again to reinforce the patch and the fabric around it.

how to fix a hole in jeansAnd you’re all finished, the hole in your jeans is fixed and ready to wear again!

Thanks for following along, comment if you have any suggestions, success stories other techniques to share.

how to make a policeman costume

This policeman costume is easier than you might think, follow a few of my tricks and tips you’ll be ready for Halloween in no time at all.policeman costume

What is cuter than a tiny uniformed officer of the law?  We’ve loved this costume so much that two of my kids have worn it over the years.  Making a policeman costume is easier than you think, take a look and see how to easily pull together the cutest cop costume ever.
policeman costume

Policewoman or policeman costume essentials:
policeman costume

You will need:  shirt, pants, hat, shoes, belt and cop accessories.

policeman costume

I made this shirt but any basic blue, black or white button up shirt can be used. The trick is in the details.  The name badge is made with a swatch of fabric and a Sharpie pen, then sewn onto the shirt.  The police badge is from the costume shop and pinned to the shirt. Don’t forget the crisp white t-shirt to be worn under the uniform shirt!

policeman costume

The American flag patch and star patches are from the local fabric store and can then be sewn or ironed on. I would recommend sewing them on otherwise they tend to peel off at some point.

policeman costume

The official police precinct badge came from a neighbor who is a policeman- we got lucky there. But, it would be easy enough to make one with Sharpie pens on fabric or I’m sure you can find generic ones online. The epaulets with the stars on the shoulders are an important detail than can help make any shirt convincing.

policeman costume

I added darts to the back of the shirt because I wanted it to be close fitting and not baggy at all- all the better to see the belt and accessories…  Also, close fitting and tailored is how police uniforms are made to fit.

policeman costume

The pants are school uniform pants from Target.  Any blue or black pants will do but I would recommend the school uniform section for the simple trouser look in basic navy or black.

The shoes are very basic as well, they’re from Payless they were very cheap as well. Check the boys dress shoe section of any store and look for practical, durable and shiny.

policeman costume

The hat is from a local costume shop. You may have to purchase a badge separately and then sew or glue it onto the hat. Hopefully you can find a hat with a police badge already in place. I had to buy this badge but thankfully it was equipped with a pin, so we could easily just pin it onto the hat.

policeman costume

I could only find one size of hat available, luckily it was adjustable in the back. Cinching it down to make it kid-sized worked out just fine.

policeman costume

All of these accessories (minus the donuts) were purchased together from a local costume shop. I had to cut down the plastic belt to make it kid-sized, but it’s a simple adjustment to make. The donuts are plastic and are play food from our kids play kitchen. The donuts have been tied on – swinging around they draw a lot of attention and make the detail even funnier.

policeman costume

This costume is sized for a 3 year old and great for a girl or a boy. A striped convict costume would go well on a brother or sister in a cute themed Halloween situation. Just be aware of the role playing that my ensue…

policeman costume

Policewomen still need their hair and make up done, always an important Halloween ritual for all the ladies in our house no matter the costume.

policeman costume

Don’t forget the nails!
policeman costume

Thanks for following along! I would love to hear or see your feedback- aspects that worked or didn’t work for you when putting together this costume.  I’d love to see pictures too, tag me on Instagram or Facebook @noelleodesigns.  Thanks & Happy Halloween!