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Try a sheath with raglan sleeves

Dear Vicki: Can you find a fancy dress for me to make? I want a sheath dress, but I don't do sleeveless. And I have a little poochy tummy to hide. Setting sleeves in is a bit hard for me; just fitting the shoulders and easing the cap sometimes sets me off. So I am thinking you are going to be stumped by my needs -- I certainly have been. I'm hoping you can find a look for me. Thank you so much just for trying.

-- Connie F.

Dear Connie: I have found a pattern that really does answer all the points you made. Butterick 5520 can be made dressy with fancy fabrics. A little raglan-type sleeve is very easy to fit and sew. The peplum view will really disguise your tummy. This pattern should also work really well for those of you who need petite sizing. The sleeves could be beaded or made out of a different fabric, possibly lace. This is a look used by designers.

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Dear Vicki: We bought a sewing machine for our granddaughter for Christmas, and now she is so excited, and we want to feed this excitement. I know that last summer you offered a sewing book for kids, but I didn't care then. Do you still have it? Everything I have found is too adult or about hand-sewing. Thank you.

-- Margie T.

Dear Margie: Yes, the little sewing book is available again. There was a problem getting them this summer, but now we have them. Please send $9.75 for "Simply Sewing" to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, and I will mail it to you.

One beginning sewing project your granddaughter could make is a scrunchy ponytail holder. We have simple directions. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $4 for a kit with fabric and elastic included. All you need to complete it is thread and a safety pin.

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This week's reader's tip from Juanita Manning of Clearwater, Fla. She writes:

"I use leftover thread on bobbins for basting. I usually can find a contrasting color, which makes taking the basting thread out very easy to see."

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