Dear Vicki: I want to make something cute for all the girls in my book club. Have you got an idea for something really, really different that doesn't need to fit? Thanks for your help.
-- Kathy S.
Dear Kathy: I have sort of an offbeat, different project for you to consider. Everyone I have made one for loves this little change purse called Mary Jane Coin Purse Mini-Kit, from designer Ellen Medlock. It comes with the sock, all the trims and a silver frame. As always, look for it in your local store, but send $16.95 to me (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122) if you cannot find it.
Dear Vicki: Do you have any answers for stains? I have a tablecloth that has oil stains from melted cheese dip, and I have tried rinsing and also some soap on the stain. The rest of the tablecloth is fine, and I don't want to wash the whole thing because it is 120 inches long and horrible to iron. I just thought in your long history of working with fabric you might know. Thanks for all the sewing tips.
-- Maggie K.
Dear Maggie: I have found that shampoo, which is designed to dissolve body oils, does a very good job with oil stains without leaving a ring. Blood stains will come out of your sewing with your saliva. I like to use a length of thread that I have wetted in my mouth and then apply to the blood spot. Cornstarch will usually take out sewing machine oil spots, but it takes a few days to soak up. Hope this helps, Maggie.
Each week I share a reader's tip and reward them with a set of fine English hand-sewing needles from John James. This week's tip is from Karen Koeper, of Wildwood, Mo. She writes:
"I sew lots of clothes and other things for my granddaughters, but not much for the boys. Now I make collection bags for the boys for their rocks and other toys, and they love them just as much as the girls love their purses!"