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Superior woman turns pillow cases into 101 colorful dresses

Bueltel to donate to ‘Little Dresses for Africa’ project

January 6, 2011
By David Swartz - Managing Editor

SUPERIOR - When Naomi Bueltel of Superior saw a plea for dresses for African children on television, she answered the call.

"I saw a show on public television asking for people to make pillow case dresses," she said. "They have a need for them in Africa and they like bright colors."

Bueltel began making dresses on Dec. 1. By Tuesday, Jan. 4, she had 101.

Article Photos

Naomi Bueltel of Superior displays a few of the 101 dresses she made out of pillow cases. The dresses will be sent to Africa to be worn by children who need them.
EDN photo by David Swartz

When she began, her goal was to make 25 dresses.

"That was easy so I said 50 and then at 50, I decided to do 100," she said. "It takes about 45 minutes to make one dress."

Friends and family knew about Bueltel's project.

"Every Sunday at church, someone would ask me how many and I'd hold my fingers up," Bueltel said. She attends the Methodist Church in Terril.

During the project, she said she's scoured the thrift stores for pillowcases including Thrifty's in Estherville and 'Thee" in Milford.

A past present to Bueltel also helped her with the project.

"Ardis Hanson gave a show box full of odds and ends and rick-rack years ago," Bueltel said. "When I asked her why, she said, 'You're a crafter, you'll find some use for it."

Bueltel said that's where most of the extra frills for the dress came from, but she also can make her own bias tape when needed. She said she used 200 yards of bias tape and a foot of elastic is in each dress

The dress sizes range from 2-11. Bueltel received the instructions for making the pillowcases into dresses from a daughter-in-law in Humboldt who got the instructions from a friend.

Bueltel is sending the 101 dresses to Rachel O'Neill who's behind the group "Little Dresses for Africa."

Bueltel contacted O'Neill who was surprised at how many dresses she'd made

"It's such a simple little thing and how nice it will be for the kids," said Bueltel.

She'd love to see the children's reaction when they receive the dresses and O'Neill said she'd try to get some pictures to send back.

The need for dresses continues.

Bueltel said she passed on the pattern to a sewing group in Sioux Rapids and another group plans to work on the project in February.



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