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Is an 8-year-old too young to learn to sew?

Dear Eunice Farmer: My 8-year-old granddaughter wants to learn how to sew. How do I go about helping her begin the right way?

-- Carolyn W.

Dear Carolyn: She is at a perfect age; she can read and understand directions. And the summer is a great time to learn a new skill. Check to see if any fabric stores in your area offer classes for preteens -- this is the best solution. If not, see if she has a friend who also wants to learn, and arrange to teach them yourself!

Begin by letting them select their own fabric. This is a good incentive. A great beginner project is a slip-on skirt with elastic or a tie at the waist. The first project won't be perfect, but practice makes perfect! Make it a fun experience. She will be so proud and want to continue. I have discovered a fabulous booklet called "Simply Sewing" designed for children just her age. It is filled with many simple projects and teaches hand and machine sewing, etc. In fact, we use it as a teaching tool in our summer classes for kids. If you would like a copy of "Simply Sewing," send $9.95 to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, Mo., 63131, and I will send it to you.

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Dear Eunice Farmer: Everywhere I look, the blouses today are all worn over the skirt and not tucked in. Is this a fashion change that will soon go out of style? My teenage daughter wants me to make her one. Can you help?

-- Maggie S.

Dear Maggie: I suggest Butterick 4985, sized 6-20, as a perfect new blouse. Yes, most of them are worn over the skirt or pants. It's a different look, and the girls all seem to love it! Also check out the new sleeves -- we called them "puff sleeves" when I was young; today they are called "bubble sleeves." Today's blouses can also be worn as lightweight jackets. It's fun to make the latest fashion. Why not try it with a new blouse?

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Hint of the week

Phyllis Wetter of Salina, Kan., writes: "For those of us who love to do machine embroidery, try keeping different spools of colored thread in an ice-cube try in the order that they will be used. Each cubicle is numbered accordingly -- sure saves time!"

Questions and comments may now be sent via e-mail. Please write to Eunice Farmer at infoeunicefarmerfabrics.com. Also see www.EuniceFarmer.com.

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