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Sew Simple By Vicki Farmer Ellis

Dear Vicki: I need you to find a camp shirt pattern for me. I look best in clothes that define my shape a bit – not tight, but a little less baggy than camp shirts usually are. Thanks. – Elizabeth P.

Dear Elizabeth: I found this shirt pattern from Vogue; it is number 8772. This pattern has lots of variations, and one is a well-fitted camp-type shirt. All of the views have nice details: a nicely curved hem, bias binding for the sleeveless version and a side-seam slash to make the shirt hang well over pants. The tie neck version is a wonderful look for wearing with a suit or blazer jackets and sweaters. It’s a classic and belongs in your sewing stash. It’s difficult to find interfacing that is fine enough for shirt-making, so be sure you test what you find by pressing onto a scrap, then sew and turn it to see if it is too bulky. We carry a professional quality one at our store, so write to me (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), if you need some for the collar, stand and cuffs.


Dear Vicki: I used to make baby blankets out of the material called plisse. I am having a very difficult time finding this material. I can find two or three solid colors, but no prints. Can you tell me if the material tutti frutti is the same as plisse with just a different name?

– Gisele P.

Dear Gisele: Gosh, I’m getting so many questions about fabric lately. Plisse is a puckered finish created by “printing” the fabric with a caustic acid that causes it to draw up. It can be many different fibers, so you might find all cotton – beautiful and light for sleep wear or just sheer summery dresses and curtains. Tutti frutti is a polyester version of plisse. Plisse should not be confused with seersucker, which is a puckered stripe created by weaving a tight and then a slack loom. Both have been loved for generations because of their tendency to not wrinkle and look fresh and crisp.


This week’s reader’s tip is from Kerrie LaFrenierre of Suffolk, Va.:

“A tip for your readers: Do you hate all those threads hanging off bobbins? Here’s a cheap and easy solution: Get some clear 5/8-inch plastic tubing found at a hardware or aquarium store. Cut sections into rings the width of your bobbins and then split. They should fit snug to hold the thread in place, and it’s clear, so you can see the thread colors.”