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Dear Vicki: I would really like to make a coat for this winter, because I received a piece of beautiful hand-woven wool plaid. I am really anxious for it to be a success for myself and the person who bought this fabric for me.

Help me find a piece that will be easy to make with plaid, and just so you know, I have never made anything with a collar either. Thanks. – Julie K.

Dear Julie: I found this wonderful pattern for your tweed. It is Burda 7131. Here is what I love: The top is almost like a cape, so not to worry about fitting problems, because it will be so roomy. You will have to plan on matching the plaids, but there is no sleeve to set in – yeah! There is also a short version that has a very different look, so with one pattern you can have two coats.

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Dear Vicki: I haven’t sewn regularly for several years, but now I have time to take up the hobby I enjoyed so much. I have been looking for a slipcover pattern for a 90-inch sofa. I intend to use two king size matelasse bedspreads. Help! No one in my area makes slipcovers, and I sort of want to try but cannot find a pattern. Very truly yours. – Joan T.

Dear Joan: You can look through the pattern books, but really the best way to make slipcovers is to follow a sewing book on decorating. Basically, they will tell you to smooth the fabric right side down against the sofa, find the places where you will need to seam and pin the seams right on the sofa. It is not hard, I promise, but you really need the help of an instruction book.

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This week’s reader’s tip is from Susan Taussig, of St. Louis.

She writes:

“I love all kinds of sewing, and I’m sort of a neat freak. I have found that after spraying and cleaning my machines, they lose their slick, glossy finish. So I lightly polished the surfaces with car polish, and now they are looking and feeling like new.”

Please send your tips and questions to me, Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email me at info@eunicefarmerfabrics.com.