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Clever pattern turns tie into flowers

Dear Vicki: I am on a church committee to organize sewing projects for fundraising, and we are hoping to get ideas from you. We started with the tie pocket pouch pattern, but people donated so many ties we are drowning in them.

-- Dorothy J.

Dear Dorothy: Here is a very timely new pattern from Amy Barickman called Turn-a-Tie Flowers. Reuse those ties to make a pin or decorate a purse. They could be used as pins on jackets, purses or shoes. There also is a pattern included to make a flower using fabric instead of a tie. Please try to find it where you live, or send me a check for $9 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), and I will send it to you. The pattern also can be purchased from Barickman's website,


Dear Vicki: You wrote about preshrinking and ironing on fusible interfacings, and you mentioned nonfusible. I wonder why they even make it?

-- Mary T.

Dear Mary: Nonfusible interfacing allows you to give body and firmness without changing the essential drape or hand of the fabric. Examples of nonfusible interfacing would be organza and hair canvas. Fusibles tend to make fabric firm and rigid in a way that is good for very structured looks, but soft, drapey looks need stability only in collars, cuffs and edges (like armholes and under buttonholes). Fusing interfacing on soft fabrics tends to make them look less attractive, so from a purely aesthetic point of view, sew-in interfacing is the better choice for those types of fabric. You do need to baste sew-ins into place before construction.


This week's reader's tip is from Sandra Klassen: "I like to make quilts. Sometimes it happens that I don't have enough of just the right fabric to cut out all of the shapes I need, but there would be enough if I could stitch leftovers together. To match the pieces, I press about 1/2 inch under on one piece, attach double-sided tape to the underside, carefully match this piece to its mate, and unfold and stitch a seam along the pressing line (which is also at the edge of the tape). Then I remove the tape and press the seam.