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Dear Vicki: I would like to make a dress to wear when I to go out on dates with my husband. I have a lot of trouble with fit, and I hate darts and sleeves. Can you find a fun, flirty dress that is also covered up? This sounds like a tall order. I guess it is, because I have really searched and would love to have your help. Thanks. – Kris K.

Dear Kris: I think this Butterick pattern, No. 6032, is worth a look. It has lots of seams to make fitting a breeze. You just need a friend and lots of pins. There are no sleeves, and the flouncy hem should make you feel and look like a princess on your date nights. And no cleavage, so I think this pattern covers every one of your requests. Just find a soft, beautiful fabric, and go dancing!

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Dear Vicki: Please answer this question for me. How do you decide which way to hem a skirt? My mother taught me to fold up the fabric about a 1/2 inch and then a second time about 2 inches and hand-stitch the hem in place. No matter how hard I try to stitch carefully, there are little pulls and places on the skirt that show my sewing. It looks bulky and homemade. My mom won’t be insulted by a different opinion; she is wondering too about another way. Thanks. – Kathy H.

Dear Kathy: If you are hemming a home-decorating project like curtains, a bedskirt or tablecloth – anything that is perfectly straight – I think you mother’s way is just fine, and I would do it myself this way.

If you are hemming a dress or skirt, then there are better ways. First of all, the 1/2-inch turn creates a ridge, so don’t do it. Either serge the bottom edge or zigzag it. And on a garment, you almost never turn up more than 1 inch. If the hem is very curved, then even this is too much because it will be bulky and clunky. Now, if it is very curved, then you will need to run some sort of gathering stitch, just to ease or draw up the excess that happens when you turn up the edge. Be gentle, and now slip-stitch by hand or top-stitch if you want a sporty look. Press very lightly, and you are done.

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This week’s reader’s tip is from Margaret Cole, of Chase Mills. She writes: “Another suggestion to recycle jeans: denim quilts. Just cut 6-inch squares and contrast light and dark to make the blocks. They are warm, great for camp, RVs and college dorms. I use navy or blue sheets for the backs, and I especially like flannel ones.”

email: info@eunicefarmerfabrics.com