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Dear Eunice Farmer: I'm a guest at a very dear friend's wedding, and I need your help.

I need a slenderizing pattern with sleeves, yet I want it to look like the sleeveless gowns in ready-to-wear.
-- Sara P.

Dear Sara: I love Vogue 9990, sized 8 to 18 and I think it fills all your needs. It's a simple chemise dress with a long sheer-sleeved coat.

For a summer occasion, I suggest a sheer, embroidered organza for the coat; it's the very newest fabric and this is a great way to use it.

Keep it soft and flowing, and it will be very slimming.

Beware of bias

Dear Eunice Farmer: I have a challenge I can't overcome. Please help. I am making a bias chemise, and the seams pucker no matter what I do. I haven't worked with bias before. I thought it would be a breeze.
-- Barbie P.
Dear Barbie: A fair warning: Beware of bias patterns. They are perfect for pencil-slim figures; however, at any curve of your body, such as a large bust, stomach or hips, the fabric will pull, causing puckers in the seams that you can't get rid of.

Another tip that helps is to always allow extra width at the side seams. It will help stabilize the seams. Rule No. 1: Avoid bias unless you are pencil-slim!

Ruffle vs. flounce

Dear Eunice Farmer: I have seen the words "ruffle" and "flounce" used for additions on garments this year. What is the difference?
-- Nan C.
Dear Nan: A ruffle is a gathered part of the garment that is added to a straight edge. A flounce is not cut on the straight grain; instead, it is cut from circles of bias fabric. The inner edge is shorter; therefore, it is applied to the straight edge of any part of the garment, such as sleeves, hem, etc. This will not look gathered, but flared for a very soft embellishment. Flounces are especially popular this year because of the popularity of soft, often sheer fabrics.

Tip of the week

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Holly Adams of Albuquerque, N.M. She will receive a wonderful sewing notion. It's a thumb pincushion. I am in love with it! This is a beautifully made cushion, tightly filled and easy to use. Here is her tip:

"When prebasting a zipper or any part of a garment before stitching, use a different color thread to avoid cutting the wrong stitches or fabric by accident."

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

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