Dear Vicki: My fabric store is filled with cute prints. Do you have any ideas for a simple early-spring jacket that is very casual with no fit? I want it for vacationing.
-- Peggy S.
Dear Peggy: I love this little mock hoodie jacket called Santa Monica. It has just enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much as to make it difficult. This pattern is from a designer named Lila Tueller. The instructions and drawings are clear and easy to follow. We make this pattern in our sewing classes. It was fun to see my beginners have success.
Look for it at a local store, but if you cannot find it, send me a check for $12 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), and I will send the pattern to you.
Dear Vicki: I have some embroidery failures from time to time, and I know it is hard for you to give me help, but I am sending you a sample. I want to know how you would prevent the pulling and puckering that I have experienced.
-- Pam B.
Dear Pam: OK, your fabric is lightweight knit, and your design is pretty dense. So, first of all I would fuse a cutaway mesh and then hoop the shirt. Now slide a second piece of stabilizer under before you begin. The second piece can be plain unfused cutaway, but it will support the extra density. Since it is a knit, be sure you use a ballpoint needle. If you need to rip out a previous embroidery, use Peggy's Stitch Eraser or a disposable ladies' razor. Be very gentle and shave on the back until the stitches fall out. If you end up making a hole, then fuse interfacing under the hole, stabilize and embroider over the hole.
This week's reader's tip is from Beverly W., in Fenton, Mo. She writes: "At Christmas I made what I called snuggle bugs for my friends. I took a blanket-size piece of polar fleece and edged it on my serger, turned up 18 inches and stitched the edges to hold it. Then I stitched two more vertical rows about 30 inches apart to make a pocket for feet. Now it is a couch blanket that stays put on your feet!"