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FAVORITE JACKET PATTERN WILL WORK WITH SUEDE AND SHEARLING

Dear Eunice Farmer: I've seen some jackets and coats that are made of suede and have a soft, fluffy lining. Is it possible to copy this look?

-- Jackie P.

Dear Jackie: You can use your favorite jacket pattern for this great look. There are double-faced fabrics available with suede on one side and shearling (faux lamb) on the other. They are used to make a single-layer jacket or coat with the shearling side as collars, cuffs, design lines, etc. Instead of stitching the right sides together, you will stitch the wrong sides together, allowing the edges to show as contrasting details. Since this fabric doesn't ravel, it doesn't need facings, etc. The sketch is simply an inspiration for a jacket and hat; you make your own choice of pattern. This is a fun fabric to work with, as well as a challenge. It does take some knowledge of tailoring; practice on samples of your fabric before you begin.

Fitting skirts

Dear Eunice Farmer: Our little sewing club would like to make simple skirts this fall. What is the best way to fit a skirt?

-- Claire
Dear Claire: If the skirt has a center-back or center-front zipper, apply that first. Next, we all have a curve just below the waistband; if you don't allow for this, you will have a fold of fabric just below the waistband that always shows. To eliminate this, machine stitch two rows of stitching at the top of the skirt -- one row at the seamline and the second row 1/4 inch closer to the cut edge. Carefully pull the bobbin threads slightly to the part of your body that needs the most ease. Some need it more across the front for a large tummy; others need this ease at the sides. We rarely need it across the back.

Don't machine stitch the side seams at this time; simply pin them to resemble a stitching, with the wrong sides of the skirt together (the seams will extend). Now you can adjust the side seams with the necessary ease. Mark the new seamline, stitch with right sides together, press, and you are now ready to apply the waistband.

Hint of the week

Joan Peterson of Albuquerque, N.M., writes: "I keep my spools of thread in an old, wooden spice cabinet with a lattice front. This is nailed to the wall. I can see the colors easily, and it adds a great accessory to my sewing room."

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

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