Dear Vicki: I have a lot of leftover fabric bits and would like a pattern that would use these up and not look like patchwork. I want to make a shirt or jacket. I am not good at setting in sleeves, but I don't like dropped shoulders because they are not flattering to my figure. Can you find something that satisfies all my desires? Thanks. - Peggy S.
Dear Peggy: You know that I really like to feature independent pattern makers, so here goes. Karen Nye at CNT (Calico 'N Things) Pattern Co. makes a jacket/shirt pattern called Seams Stunning. The piecing is optional but very interesting and not at all like patchwork. It has raglan sleeves with no cuffs and a simple collar without a complicated stand, and it fastens without buttonholes. She has many sizes, from extra-small to double-extra-large, all in one envelope. I think it answers your request and you will love it.
Please try to find it at a local shop, or you can purchase it through me (Write to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122).
Dear Vicki: Is there an easy way to put new elastic in pants and skirts when it has stretched out after many washings and needs to be replaced? I have quite a few garments in my repair basket waiting for an answer. - Patsey K.
Dear Patsey: You might simply remove the old elastic if it was applied in a casing, and that would be easy. Often the construction used for ready-to-wear is applied with several rows of machine stitching, and you must rip all the stitches and begin again.
This time, make a casing by sewing a facing to the inside and then pulling the elastic through.
This week's tip is from Sharon Reis, of St. Louis.
She writes: "My tip is for removing temporary fabric markers whose marks sometimes reappear. Make a solution of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 1/4 cup water and dab this on the marks."