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Dear Sewing Friends: A few weeks ago, a reader, who is a quilter, sent in a letter saying she noticed that many quilters are overweight. She asked me to explain this. I answered that I am not a quilter, but went on to give my opinion that sewing and quilting do not require any exercise, so that can contribute to weight gain.

Sometimes a columnist wishes she had never given the answer she did -- I sure wish I hadn't! I would like to explain:

Fitting is the most difficult and challenging task in sewing, regardless of one's size. I should know -- I've always been on the "plus" size when it comes to weight. I have spent 40 years searching for patterns to share with you that address all figure types, especially patterns that makes us look taller and more slender. I would be the last person to criticize anyone's figure.

Quilters have a wonderful artistic talent -- I envy them. I just chose a different area of needlework.

Please forgive me if I insulted anyone. Know that I am there for each of you and will always continue to be. -- Eunice

A lovely coat dress

Dear Eunice Farmer: I have always loved coat dresses. Are they still in style? I know that dresses have come back in style. Please find a pattern that will have slim lines -- I need all the help I can get! -- Sue C.

Dear Sue: I have selected Kwik-Sew 2524, sized XS to XL. It has beautiful lines, the seam going from shoulder to hem. This allows easy alterations and gives a long, slender look to the dress.

A word of advice: Be sure you place the buttons in the most critical places. One button should be at the largest bust measurement, even if you have to respace the buttons.

The pattern comes in many lengths, and it can also be used as a lightweight jacket. It's a real classic and should fit beautifully into every wardrobe!

Fall update

Dear Readers: As usual, each season I try to give you a fashion flash; in other words, what's new on the fashion scene. For fall 2000, there are many new looks and additions to update your wardrobe:

Look for lots of faux leathers, suedes and furs for complete garments as well as accessories. There's a new suede-type fabric that is gorgeous -- it's soft, washable and affordable. It comes with a cutwork hem to match the solid fabric. I've seen it all over ready-to-wear in very expensive garments.

Ruffles are everywhere -- in suede, chiffon, silk, etc., and at the neckline, sleeves and hems of garments. Skirts are usually longer, have more ease and lots of bias. (Remember, if you are curvaceous or rounded, avoid bias -- it will not be flattering!)

Delustered satin is for daytime and evening wear, and is used for skirts, coat dresses, suits, etc. Wools include tweeds, herringbone, houndstooth, plaids, etc. Look for the return of soft, beautiful blouses. Color is everywhere!

Jackets are now a little closer to the body and slightly more fitted. Jackets that look like street length coats are in fashion as well as skirts, pants and jackets in matching fabrics.

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