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A dream dress for a friend's wedding

Dear Vicki: I have been invited to the wedding of a high school friend, and I know I will see a number of friends from school. I want to make a really pretty dress. It will be a dressy, but not formal, event, and I want to look really great. So, can you come up with my dream dress? Thanks. -- Elisabeth P.

Dear Elisabeth: I do know a dream dress that is just perfect for a younger woman. It is Kwik Sew 3682. It is so pretty; one of my daughters made it and looked like a doll. Use a lightweight soft fabric. Try to find the pattern in a local store, or send a request to me ($11.75, including postage), and I will send the pattern to you. This is a basic, easy-to-make dress. I try to only recommend patterns that I have sewn, or a customer at the store or a student has sewn. This way, I usually know if there are any pitfalls. Some of you may consider the zipper to be a trial, but just be patient, and soon, I hope, zippers will be less traumatic.

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Dear Vicki: When I buy clothes, they almost always have a tag that tells me to dry clean them. Can you give me some guidelines? Or is it true that I must do this? Help! -- Celia M.

Dear Celia: You are right: Most garments that are tagged "dry clean" can be washed, but not machine washed. And that is the key. Even the gentle cycle spins and twists fabrics and in general beats up fine clothing. Even silk can be hand-washed. Use a special soap such as Eucalan (available at knitting and needlework shops). Be aware that textures may change, and you may need to press with your iron (check correct temperature by pressing on the wrong side). I really don't think you should ever wash a tailored garment, but blouses, sweaters (only in cold water; even then be prepared for some shrinkage) and dresses should be considered.

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This week's reader tip is from Nelda Barnett, of Albuquerque, N.M. Nelda says:

"After trying unsuccessfully to keep a Band-Aid on the tip of my finger, I cut the finger off a medical-exam glove and slid it over my finger and it held the Band-Aid in place perfectly."

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