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Prom pattern is from 'Runway' winner

Dear Vicki: I have always wanted to make a prom dress for my daughter, and now I have the chance. Please suggest a pattern that we could make together. She wants a short dress with some detail that is young and different. We have tried shopping together, but she doesn't like the ones I like, so making one is exciting for both of us. I am a pretty accomplished sewer, so it doesn't need to be a beginner look. Thanks for your help.

-- Marsha B.

Dear Marsha: I did find a particularly chic-looking dress in Simplicity 1877. It was designed by "Project Runway" Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall. This dress could be really cute for the prom. It's certainly new and fresh; not too low cut, but very flirty and young. No one's mother is going to be wearing this dress! If you go online to the Simplicity website, there are two sweet and helpful videos with Leanne demonstrating some of the fine points of the construction of this dress. Good luck. I hope she likes this one.


Dear Vicki: I have found a plaid fabric that I love and have a few questions, like how to make sure the seams match and any tips to make me more secure in doing a good job with this fabric.

-- Elisabeth P.

Dear Elisabeth: A key to sewing with plaids is the cutting out. I like to cut single layers only -- that means you must be very careful to flip the pieces so that you get right and left sides. For anything that is to be cut on the fold, you should get some tissue and make the full piece so you can see that it is level on the plaid.

If you have a bust dart you cannot match the side seams, but line up the hems and fronts. Sometimes a walking foot attachment for your machine will help you keep things perfect once you begin stitching. Use lots of pins to keep things straight. Since this is your first time, choose a design that isn't too complex or with too many pieces.

If your seams still are off, consider stitching trim on top to minimize the visual mismatch; the trim might give the whole outfit a designer look.