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Sew Simple: Top has interesting button detail on back

Dear Vicki: I love new, unusual details in my clothes, especially ones that I take the time to construct myself.

My question is, can you find me a simple sleeveless shell that is also interesting in some way? I use really lovely, expensive fabrics, and I want something that will be worth the time and investment. Thank you for finding a new look for me. – Anne P.

Dear Anne: All of my readers know I love Louise Cutting Designs, and she has one for you. This is a fairly new pattern, and is called Danger: Curves Ahead. This pattern has a perfectly simple front with only top-stitching as a detail and a curved hem, but the back has an interesting button detail. For those of you who need or simply like it, Louise has complete instructions for adding a bust dart to the front in individual cup sizes. There is also a view for a tunic included. As always, the pattern instructions are extensive and packed with nifty tips. Please try to find this at a local shop, but if you can’t, then send me a check for $22.75, and I will send the pattern to you.


Dear Vicki: Please tell us again how to determine if a fabric is nylon, polyester or cotton. I know you covered this some time ago, but I didn’t save the information. Thanks. – Kelly G.

Dear Kelly: You usually can determine fabric content by burning a small bit with a match or lighter. Cotton will ignite and flame, leaving ash, and smell like burning paper. Nylon will melt leaving a hard, gray, round bead and smell like celery. Polyester melts away from the flame and leaves a hard round bead like the nylon but smells more like chemicals. Acrylic melts into a hard, black, irregular bead and smells like acid. Wool burns slowly and smells like burning hair, and leaves a brittle bead that crumbles. Silk also smells like burning hair but leaves ashes. I hope this was helpful.


This week’s tip is from Judy Dembinski of East Aurora. She writes:

“After using a pattern, I fold every pattern piece separately with the pattern number showing. Everything fits neatly into a zip-top bag, and it’s easy to choose your pieces for different views.”

Please send tips and questions to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email