Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis - The Buffalo News

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Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis

Dear Vicki: I love purses and bags. Can you recommend a pattern for an all-purpose bag for summer outings with the kids? I want to be able to get into it quickly for snacks or clean-up stuff – sort of like a diaper bag, but not. – Jane S.

Dear Jane: This is one of the cutest bags I have seen in a long time. I had to make it immediately! I used a piece of laminated fabric for the upper part and canvas for the bottom, and covered a huge button for the closure. I also skipped the grommets and simply sewed the strap into the bag. I love, love, love it! And now I am making another for a gift. It is from Modkid; the pattern is called Sun and Surf Tote. It is what they call a “mini pattern” – by that they mean that there aren’t any printed pattern pieces. Instead, there are detailed dimensions given so that you either make a pattern piece or mark the fabric with the measurements given. As always, try to find it at a local shop, or send me a check for $8.95 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), which includes postage. The pattern also can be purchased online at


Here is an old column question to Eunice that is relevant today:

Dear Eunice Farmer: I use the same pants pattern over and over. Recently I made another pair out of knit fabric, and one leg twisted no matter how carefully I pressed it. Can you tell me what causes this? – Rosalie W.

Dear Rosalie: First, do not follow the selvage; instead, baste a line the length of the fabric on one rib of the knit. Now you have a grain line for lining up your pattern pieces. Next, cut each piece of your pattern separately. If you have done this carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems. Sometimes the heat set of the fabric can cause distortions; however, if you are using a good quality knit, you shouldn’t have this problem, so check by holding up a length and see if it hangs straight down.


This week’s reader’s tip is from Carol Beaver, of Sunset Hills, Mo.

“I use 6-inch-long doll-making needles as an awl to poke holes in leather and denim, or to unpick stitches, or to hold ribbon, etc., in place while I stitch.”


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