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Bare-back dress flatters slender frame

Hi Vicki: I would like for you to find a pattern for me to make a dress. I am very slender and have no figure, so no low-cut front. I would like the dress to be short, distinctive and dramatic -- but not close-fitting, because I don't want to show off just how thin I am. This is for my rehearsal dinner, and I want to look great! Thanks.

-- Kristine M.

Dear Kristine: I have found a really pretty but covered-up dress by designer Cynthia Steffe; it is Vogue 1207. The sleeves are little bias poofs, and the back is cut almost to the waist, for a very festive, glamorous look. You could use a georgette or charmeuse in a color you love.

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Dear Vicki: Years ago, my son used to carry around what I called a "flatsie" doll. It was all cloth, fully dressed like a little doll, but flat. He wouldn't go anywhere without it. He is now 43, and I would like to make more of them.

I was hoping you have or could find a pattern. Thank you.

-- P. Matyjaszek.

Dear Mrs. Matyjaszek: I did find at least one flatsie doll, and am sending you the pattern. For everyone else, please go to the website www.modabakeshop.com. Click on the "Index" link, and under "February 2010," click on the pattern called "Flat Emelie & Matt." You will find step-by-step, illustrated instructions. You also can print out the templates for the pattern pieces. If you don't have access to the Internet, ask around; someone will do it for you -- your library, a family member or a friend.

This week's reader's tip is from Louise Coley, of Winston Salem, N.C. She writes: "I have many, many address labels, and I hate to waste them. They are wonderful to use for removing thread bits from the ironing board. Sewers always have thread scraps all over. I use the labels to pick up thread bits from the floor and wherever else."