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Dear Vicki: I need inspiration. I want to make a blouse that is different – maybe a little edgy, but fun. I look to your column for unusual ideas and patterns that I might find interesting if I could stand to sit and look through the books, which I can’t. Where I live there are very few stores with patterns, so I would love your help. Thanks. – Jika C.

Dear Jika: Sandra Betzina has your blouse – Vogue 1385. This top has a very new and a little bit romantic neckline, with folds and pleats. The sleeve detail is simple but fun and different. There is nothing difficult or tedious here, so give it a try. Be sure to mark the dots that indicate the pleats very carefully and keep the pattern close by when you are constructing this top.

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Dear Vicki: I am not terribly experienced at sewing, but I am doing pretty well. I have now picked a pattern that has princess seaming on the front. I am having real difficulty getting the opposite curves to fit together. I have to stretch one piece, but I think I will ruin it with all the pulling. I’ve spent too much on it to wreck it, so I am just going to wait for you to help me if you can. Thank you. – Bethany B.

Dear Bethany: This particular detail can be challenging. Begin by stay-stitching along the inner curved edge at the stitching line, then clip every ø inch along the curved area. Now when you pin, the clips will allow the inner curve to open up and fit along the outer curve, and you will be able to sew them together much more easily. This detail makes fitting your bust so much easier, whether you have a large or small bust.

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Each week I share a reader’s tip and thank him or her with a set of 100 fine English hand-sewing needles. This week’s tip is from a wife and husband team. Thanks to Pat Tobin, of Buffalo.

Tobin writes:

“Years ago, I bought a new sewing machine and cabinet. The leaf started to sag and drop after a while, so my husband made me a fifth leg to clamp onto the back outside corner of the leaf. Now when I sew, I do not have to worry about the hinges giving way. I think all cabinets should come this way.”

email: info@eunicefarmerfabrics.com