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Sew Simple: A pattern for simple tops with extra bust room

Dear Vicki: I want to make a lot of simple tops this spring. Can you help me find a pattern? Here is my problem: I am very busty, and the pattern I have been using has huge darts that end up looking very pointy. I feel that the darts make my tops look homemade. How can I accommodate my body and still have a good look? Help. – Sonja S.

Dear Sonja: I found Burda 6878 for you. It has princess seams, so you can reshape the seam to add as much fabric as you need. Don’t forget, you also can add some fabric to the front side seams for more bust room. This pattern has both a boatneck and a V-neck view, so once you get the fit down, you can make different looks.


Dear Vicki: I have an embroidery machine and I am having fun with it. But I am encountering a few problems that you might be able to shed some light on, please. I’m trying to stitch some monograms from some fun fonts I got online, and the thread is breaking constantly, and I’m even breaking needles.

The store where I got my machine doesn’t help. I know I shouldn’t have bought from a big-box store, but what do I do now? Thanks. – Margie C.

Dear Margie: First we have to find out if the problem is with the machine or the design.

Sew out some built-in lettering on the same fabric with the same thread and the same stabilizer and see what happens. If everything is fine, then I guess the trouble is the font you downloaded; it might be too dense. Some machines let you reduce the number of stitches a little bit, so read the instructions. Sometimes you need to have software on your computer that allows you to work on the stitch density. I highly recommend you find a local shop to purchase the software from and make friends with them for help.

Sometimes the machine and design are fine but the speed might be too fast, so slow down. Or the thread might be too old or too fragile. If your needle has stitched for a long time, the eye might be worn out, so try a new one.

Please send tips and questions to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email