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Try easy-to-follow pattern for a winter coat

Dear Vicki: Winter is coming, and I really want to make a coat this year. I have a heavy piece of wool coating and quilted lining fabric to make it super warm. I just would really like help in finding a pattern that is not too difficult so I could actually finish it.

-- Jennifer L.

Dear Jennifer: I found a relatively new pattern from the Sewing Workshop called the Verona Jacket & Coat. It is $22.95; look for it at a local store, or you can purchase the pattern from the Sewing Workshop website, www.sewingworkshop.com, or send me a check (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), and I will send it to you. This pattern is a quickie with extraordinarily good instructions (you will learn the amazing art of bagging a lining). I am planning on making the coat version now that I have finished the jacket. You will like the easy fit, and I think the collar will be very nice and warm when the chilly weather comes.

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Dear Readers: Here is an oldie but goodie from Eunice, with a few additions from me:

I am trying to put a zipper into a bias skirt. I'm ready to give up! The zipper looks pulled out of shape. I've never had this problem before, and I can't keep ripping the seam.

-- Bonnie M.

Dear Bonnie: There is no easy way to apply a zipper on a bias seam. Be sure not to pull the fabric. Remember, the tape on the zipper is on the straight grain; the fabric is bias. First, a very light interfacing fused to the zipper area will help. Baste the zipper in place by hand and fit the skirt before your final stitching. Consider using a very narrow fusible tape to hold the fabric in place. A bias skirt must have more ease or extra seam allowance to prevent rippling and bunching out of shape. Let the skirt hang for several days before hemming. After construction, keep a bias garment on a shelf or in a drawer to maintain its shape and size.