Category Archives: sewing

Experimental quilting- work in progress

Noelle Olpin

An experiment in every way.

I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head and in my dreams for a while now. With a bit of stolen time each day, I started dyeing fabric with coffee and tea, cutting without a straight edge, stitching blocks and washing fabrics and then arranging blocks.

Noelle Olpin

Then, making up the design and mapping all the blocks together.

No Rules Quilting, as I’ve come to think of it, is harder than you might think. It’s experimental quilting and you can’t do anything wrong, ever. Which is a relief and also a burden.

When there isn’t any one telling you what to do, no rules or steps to follow, the process can be exhausting. A constant mental battle on what you’ve been taught and know to be accepted (no exposed edges or uncut thread ends) within in the quilting/sewing communities and the beauty of irregularity, imperfection and what some might think of as a big mess.

Noelle Olpin

I like the result so much, I’m willing to toss all the rules aside and see what shakes down.

noelle olpin

At this point, the project slows down. The piecing work has been done on a sewing machine so far. I have plans for slow stitching- hand stitching the finish work. I love the look of Kantha quilting, so a lot of that look will be involved.

Noelle Olpin Noelle Olpin Noelle OlpinI’ve been attempting to let the ideas flow for finishing the edges on this experimental quilt. The project isn’t very big, a wall hanging size in fact (22″ x24″).

Perhaps a traditional binding, maybe not? A frame with the quilt stretched across the inside like an animal skin? Hung from a stick with loops? Stapled to the wall?  We shall see…

Now, I carry this project with me wherever I go. Because the beauty of hand stitching is that you can do it anywhere and everywhere. And that’s what audiobooks are for…

Have a wonderful day!


Pilgrim Bonnet Sewing Pattern

 make an easy pilgrim bonnet

This DIY- pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern takes no time at all. The size works for an adult or a child and can be reused over and over unlike a paper bonnet. It could be just the thing to ease family tension around the Thanksgiving table this holiday season or make your little pilgrims stand out in their school Thanksgiving performance.  Be sure to check out my Native American Indian vest and Native American Indian headband tutorials too and you’ll have a costume for everyone this November.

pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern

I came across this fantastic Simplicity pattern from 1970 in my collection and thought I would share the pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern.  It has a lovely traditional shape and design to it, perfect for costuming a pilgrim or pioneer.  The pattern says child size 6 but we found it fits a medium size adult head as well.  Read through all instructions before you begin. There are two pattern pieces you will need, the crown and the brim.

Pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern:

pilgrim bonnet sewing patternOn a piece of paper, draw the pattern for the crown. Draw a rectangle 9 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches wide. Round the corners of your drawing to match the picture above. Cut out your crown pattern piece copying over all instructions, especially “center back, place line on fold of fabric”. Place pattern over your folded over fabric and cut to size.
make an easy pilgrim bonnetMake sure you cut the crown piece on a fold so your crown piece will look like the above picture.
make an easy pilgrim bonnetFor the brim, draw a rectangle 20 inches long by 9 inches wide. Draw in the corners and darts to match the pattern above. Make sure to transfer all markings to your pattern piece. Place your pattern piece over your 2 pieces of fabric and cut them out.
pilgrim bonnet sewing patternCut a piece of interfacing slightly smaller than the brim pattern to go between the two brim layers and stiffen up the fabric.

pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern

Press under 1/4 inch on lower edge of crown.


pilgrim bonnet sewing patternTurn lower edge to inside along seam line, forming casing. Stitch close to inner edge.
pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern

Cut a piece of elastic 4-5 inches long.


pilgrim bonnet sewing patternUsing a safety pin, slip elastic thru casing; stitch ends.
make an easy pilgrim bonnetStitch the ends of the elastic to casing on either side of the crown.

pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern

Iron interfacing to WRONG side of one brim piece. Mark dart lines in brim, both sides.
pilgrim bonnet sewing patternMatching dots, sew darts in brim facing.
pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern

Repeat steps on the other non-interfaced brim piece. With the iron, press the darts flat.

pilgrim bonnet sewing pattern
pilgrim bonnet sewing patternWith the RIGHT sides together, stitch facing to brim, leaving notched edges open. Trim corners and clip inside curves to ease fabric when turned right side out.
pilgrim bonnet sewing patternTurn RIGHT side out; press.
pilgrim bonnet sewing patternPress under 5/8 inch on notch edge of brim facing.

Stitching crown to brim:
make an easy pilgrim bonnetWith right sides together, pin crown to brim, matching centers.

 make a pilgrim bonnet

Stitch facing to brim being careful not to catch in brim facing as you sew.  Remove pins as you go, before you sew over them.


make an easy pilgrim bonnetThe bonnet is all sewn together and ready for the final steps.
make an easy pilgrim bonnet

Pin the edge of pressed brim facing over seam. Slip stitch or machine stitch into place.


make an easy pilgrim bonnetTurn bonnet RIGHT side out, fold brim over.  Cut two lengths of ribbon.
make a pilgrim bonnet

Sew one end of each ribbon to brim, sewing them at darts as shown.

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!