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Sew Simple by Vicki Farmer Ellis: Girl wants dress with longer hem in back

Dear Vicki: I have a girl who is a fashionista. She has requested that I make her a dress that has the hem longer in back to wear to a wedding this winter. Can you find me such a thing? – Kara R.

Dear Kara: Here is what I found: McCall’s 7180. It’s pretty cute; I hope she likes it. The big bow certainly can be deleted.

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Dear Eunice: Can you help me make flat sheets into contoured, fitted sheets? I inherited a large number of very beautiful sheets, but they are all flat! Help me refashion them, please. – Betty

Dear Betty: First, spread the sheet on the mattress to see just how big it is. Mark the amount of sheet you want tucked under the mattress, then cut and hem the edges. Now measure the depth of your mattress. If it is 14 inches, cut a square out of each corner that measures 14 inches (adjust the measurement to the depth of your mattress). Stitch the cut edges together, trim and overcast the edges. Now sew elastic to the corners, stretching as you sew. These instructions were difficult to write clearly. Look for a pattern that has step-by-step instructions for a fitted baby crib sheet with drawings, then use these to help you see how to do it. I did find a Kwik Sew pattern, but I think all the companies have one. Just look for them in the craft and accessory section.

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Dear Vicki: I cut open the buttonholes on my jacket and cut the stitching on one, and now it’s raveling. Help. – Dorothy Y.

Dear Dorothy: There is a stitch on most sewing machines that you might have. It looks like a snake or a zigzag, but made of little straight stitches moving back and forth. Clean up your loose stitches and place a piece of silk organza underneath. Now, using a 60-weight thread (it is so fine that the reweaving of the snake stitch will not show on the surface), you can sew together the buttonhole. Then sew another bead over the top if only one side is cut, or resew the whole thing if you must. Next time use a buttonhole cutter (a chisel made for the purpose) or an X-ACTO knife with a magazine underneath. Many sewers use Fray Check on the stitching before cutting. Be careful if you do this, because too much Fray Check will make the buttonhole stiff and oily.