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Dear Vicki: I love to sew. It allows me to really splurge and buy an occasional very expensive piece of clothing because I can make many other pieces so cheaply.

I would like a suggestion for a dress. I seem to be really attracted to skirts and dresses now. I am wanting a dress that is special but not for a special occasion. I work in a showroom, so it can’t be sexy or low-cut, but it should have designer-type style.

I don’t have experience in tailoring or the ability to decide about how difficult or easy the pattern will be, so help me find one that will be fairly easy to fit and make. Thank you for your advice. – Kristen M.

Dear Kristen: I found a very sleek and stylish dress for your next project. It is Vogue 1267, from designers Tom and Linda Platt. It is very simple but not too plain. You can make it out of a wool crepe or a jersey. It is rated easy and sized 8 to 24. You can dress this one up for evening or wear it all day in the office.

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Dear Vicki: I am making an apron with rows of ruffles. I thought the pattern was just so cute, so I bought fabric to make five for friends. The ruffles are harder to make and sew on than I anticipated – long strips of fabric and pins are all over the place. I am so frustrated and need help, or this is all trash. Thanks. – Carolyn R.

Dear Carolyn: The pattern is cute, and maybe I can make it go smoothly. Make the ruffles by zig-zagging over a length of dental floss. This way you can gather and not be afraid of the threads breaking. Now, go buy something called Wonder Tape at your sewing store. This is a two-sided, water-soluble sticky tape. Apply one side to the back of your ruffle gathering stitch, and then stick it onto the lines on your apron. You will be able to easily stitch it on now. Your friends will love them.

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This week’s reader’s tip is from Juanita Johnson of Wichita, Kan. She writes:

“After sewing for many years I am still learning. I have found an X-Acto knife to be a great seam ripper in some situations.”

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.