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Dear Eunice Farmer: I love a blouse with a collar but find that the details of a true shirt-type neckline are beyond my sewing expertise. Is there any pattern with a lapel look that doesn't require as much tailoring? -- Lynne P.

Dear Lynne: I have selected Butterick 6216, sizes 8 to 24 as an alternative for you. It features a fold-back lapel that is very simple to make. There are three sleeve lengths to choose from. It also is cut with a raised neckline in back; this is very flattering for those of us who don't like such a bare neckline.

Fake snakeskin

Dear Eunice Farmer: I'm making skirts for my girls out of an animal-print vinyl that looks like snakeskin. I'm not sure if I should use a leather needle. If not, please suggest the proper machine needle. -- Sandie R.

Dear Sandie: NEVER use a leather needle for any synthetic fabric whether it is an imitation vinyl or imitation suede; it will only cut the fabric. Leather needles should only be used for real leather skins.

You might have to try various needles so the one that works best for your fabric can be used. You might try the Universal needle, or the one I like for synthetics is the "Stretch needle." Today there are so many needles for various types of fabrics -- using the right one will give you great results!

Try, try again

Dear Eunice Farmer: Please help me so I don't have another failure. I didn't like the extended or dropped shoulder look in my last jacket, so I took the sleeve from another pattern from the same pattern company, and it didn't fit at all. In fact, I ruined the jacket beyond repair! I thought sleeves were interchangeable. -- Dottie B.

Dear Dottie: I have covered this adjustment before, so I hope you will save this week's column for future reference. You can choose another sleeve; however, you must understand that the armhole and shoulder are designed to fit the sleeve that was originally intended. If you choose another sleeve, you must also cut the armhole, shoulder and side seams according to the new pattern you are using. Simply place the new pattern over the original pattern, matching shoulders, center front and side seams, and re-mark your garment and cut on the new lines. It will work like a charm if you do this simple alteration. Changing parts of patterns adds to the fun of designing your very own styles, and there are endless possibilities.

Sewing tip

I always fill two bobbins with thread before starting any project, one for the bobbin and one for the top thread. This way I always know how much thread is in the bobbin and never run out in the middle of a seam, etc. This is especially good for those of us who still have older machines.

Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131.

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