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Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis

Dear Vicki: I’m always looking for sewing inspiration for my kids, and I would like to introduce my love of sewing to my daughter. I know you suggest projects from time to time – keep them coming. But tell me if you have any other ideas. It’s too late for Christmas, but there are birthdays and other special times for gifts, so let me know. Thanks. – Paige G.

Dear Paige: Well, you know I do give suggestions of sewing patterns and projects for young sewers, but to inspire them I just found this little book. It’s meant for beginning readers, and it is all about making a small quilt. I loved every page. It’s also about giving – very sweet and fun. Please ask your local store to carry it; it’s called “Gabby Quilts for Friends” and is from Bambini Book Club. If they don’t have it, you can send me a check for $11.95 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), which includes postage, and I will send it to you along with a pattern and instructions to make Gabby’s quilt. Or it can purchased online at


Dear Vicki: I have such a hard time making princess seams lie flat and look nice. I am self-taught, and I know this is probably the reason. But can you give me a tip or two? Thank you. – Margie C.

Dear Margie: Princess seams can be a trial, that is for sure. Since the seams in front of a bodice are meant to help give a nice fit around the bust, you should hand-baste first and then try on the bodice. Please don’t forget to stay-stitch the neckline on the front and back before fitting the bodice. If there is too much fabric for your bust, now is the time to remove some of the outer curve by trimming and flattening the curve. When you are satisfied, then stay-stitch the inner curve and clip every ½ inch. Now the inner curve should more easily fit, along with the outer curve seam. When you press this seam, it is really important to use an edge pressing board and only press on the stitching line. Good luck! I hope this helps.


This week’s reader’s tip is from Elsie Scruggs, of Massena.

She writes: “Although my suggestion does not cover an actual sewing issue, I am sharing a tip that I have found very helpful. Because black and navy blue are so similar and I like both, I thought of using a tiny brass safety pin to pin onto the tags of my black skirts and pants so I can easily and quickly find the choice I want without wondering. I hope this idea will prove to be helpful to others as well.”