Dear Vicki: My daughter has just gotten her first real nursing job, and I want to make her some scrubs that are a bit different from the ones she finds in stores. She has picked out some prints she likes, but the style is so ordinary. Have you got a pattern suggestion for me? Love the column. – Tessa P.

Dear Tessa: Many, many women want to make and have their very own special work clothes but aren’t allowed to be individual. How nice that your daughter can and that you want to sew for her. I found Simplicity 3542 for you. It is fresh and allows you to color-block or just highlight a print with bands of color. It has a large size range, from 32 z inch bust to 50 inch.

Included is a simple jacket option for another more formal look. The ties in back will help her have a more trim shape, and there are slim pull-on pants to go with the ensemble. I hope she likes this look.


Dear Vicki: I brought some beautiful gauzelike cotton fabric back from a trip to India. I loved it so much, but now that I am home, I am wondering if the quality is worth the time and work to make a garment that might fall apart quickly. I am sending you a sample and wonder what you think. What would I even make? Help. – Freida K.

Dear Freida: First of all, I think the fabric is lovely. I see why you brought it home. Preshrink your fabric, because it definitely will need it. Now, your options will be to make something simple, maybe a swimsuit cover-up or simple oversized blouse, or a very full maxi-skirt. It will wrinkle, so don’t expect a crisp, organized look. It will always look relaxed and unconstructed, but enjoy the timeless classic look of handcraftsmanship.


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

She writes: “I inherited my mother’s old featherweight sewing machine. I love having it for a backup, but she left it stored in the basement for many years, and when I got it, the smell was terrible. Nothing seemed to get rid of it until I tried filling the case with kitty litter and then put it in a second box also filled with kitty litter. After a couple of weeks, the smell was almost gone. My sewing machine repair lady deodorized the machine.”