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Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis

Dear Vicki: At the office I work in we are expected to look very professional at all times; however, it is very warm inside, and it is OK to wear a shirt and tie for the men and sweaters, dresses or blouses for the women. I would like to make some really neat blouses, not just shells or pullovers, so please find me some great-looking tops that are worth making. I love beautiful fabrics, so I don’t mind if the patterns are detailed. – Denise K.

Dear Denise: I have several suggestions for you. This week it is Vogue 1414. This shirt has a simple, not-fussy flounce on one side of the front and shoulder details that give the shirt the interesting, expensive look that you requested. This shirt should be flattering to most figures, and since it doesn’t have a collar stand, it will not be a difficult, exacting top. Just pick a beautiful soft cotton or silk broadcloth and go for it.


Dear Vicki: I am planning to make some appliqued Christmas stockings for the family. I have appliqued in the past, but I really hate the way adhesive spray gets all over everything. So what is a better way to hold the cut-out pieces in place for stitching? – Rachael W.

Dear Rachael: A new product, Web Bond TA 101 is a spray adhesive for a temporary hold, but it has a web pattern and doesn’t go all over. You will be amazed at how it does not make your hands sticky. Many sewers use fusibles for appliqueing. I particularly like to fuse Lite Steam-A-Seam to the back of my applique fabric and then cut out the shapes. I then peel off the paper backing and then fuse into place. I still stitch around the shapes, but you really don’t have to when you fuse. You can just iron on, and you are done. Depending on how many stockings you are planning, this might be your best bet for finishing.


This week’s reader’s tip is from Mary Gayle Doyle of Sunset Hills, Mo.

“I don’t wear pullover sweaters anymore, so I put a zipper in the front of one of my favorite Pendleton sweaters and turned it into a cardigan. I pinned a piece of fusible interfacing with the fusing agent facing up down the center of the front of the sweater, then I stitched two rows 1/2 inch apart, cut down the middle, then turned the interfacing and fused them to the inside. Installing the zipper was then very easy, and nothing stretched out of shape. Now I have a cardigan.”