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Dear Vicki: I have a really exciting striped knit fabric in my stash, and I would like to actually cut into it and make something, but I am afraid of choosing a pattern that would be wrong for a stripe or wrong for me. I don’t want a collar or a dress, just some sort of top. Thanks. – Karen S.

Dear Karen: My absolutely favorite top is Kwik Sew 2965. It’s so amazingly fast to make – you will be a fan. This makes stripes easy because there is no sleeve seam. This pattern has a V-neck view besides the boat neck in the illustration, and also a short-sleeve version. So you can make it many times and always be different. I love being able to reuse. Since Kwik Sew prints all sizes, you can trace off your pattern and use it for others. Somehow Kwik Sew has left this pattern off their website, so you can only purchase it in stores. If you can’t find it, send me $11 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), and I will send it to you.

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Dear Vicki: I want to know what I can use as a pressing cloth besides buying one. I read in your column before what to substitute but didn’t save the paper. – Sherry D.

Dear Sherry: I always sew with a press cloth; you just never know when you might have the fusible interfacing upside down or some nasty stuff spits out of the iron or it might be set too high for your fabric. It is better to scorch and ruin or stain the press cloth than to start over on your project. The press cloth I like is a piece of silk organza. I start with about 1/3 of a yard and cut it in half crosswise so that it is 12 inches by about 20 inches. This is easy to maneuver and so easy to see through. Use either white or eggshell organza so you don’t have to worry about dye interfering with your fabric. I use the press cloth when pressing my machine embroidery projects, just to protect all that pretty stitching.

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This week’s reader’s tip is from Faye Arndt, of Lake Charles, La.: “I am making a winter wrap that calls for knitted cuffs. It is a very simple pattern but buying cuffs to match the material was a challenge. I thought of a sock. Cut off the top rib part and fold it in half. Sew the salvaged edges to the material just as you would sew a purchased cuff.”