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Sew Simple: Nightshirt is a great learn-to-sew project

Dear Readers: As promised last week, I am providing Meghan with another sewing project for her class:

I have found Kwik Sew 3552, a nightshirt for you and your kids. This is a mother/daughter pattern, so you can sew right along with the class. This pattern is drafted to work for knits or soft woven fabric. It is part of the Kwik Sew learn-to-sew plan, and it is very easy. This pattern is amazing in that it has a front and back fold to form a little capped sleeve detail without sewing another piece. It’s so simple!

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Dear Vicki: I learned to love sewing years ago at Stretch and Sew, but I never sewed any garments with woven fabrics. I drifted away from sewing and then later learned to quilt, and have had a lot of fun with that. But somehow I am drawn to sewing clothes again, and now I am faced with darts!

I need some help from you. Why are darts necessary? And I read and hear conflicting advice on pressing and tying off. Give me some advice, please. – Charlesetta C.

Dear Charlesetta: Darts are the way that pattern makers shape woven fabrics to the human body. With bust darts you need to first measure from the shoulder to the tip of the dart and compare this with your body. Be sure you are wearing a well-adjusted bra. If the dart needs to be raised or lowered, shift all dots and baste the new dart before stitching. When you like the location, then stitch. Always start at the wide end and sew a smoothly tapered stitching line, and never backstitch at the point. There are various ways of ending the dart: Some just stitch off in the air for an inch and let the top and bobbin threads wind around each other; some like to tie these ends; and some like to turn around and stitch into the body of the dart to secure the stitching. Next week I will continue the dart discussion.

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This week’s tip is from Sharon Harrison, of Belleville, Ill.:

“Storing Velcro strips used to be a nightmare for me because of the way the pieces get tangled up and stuck. Now I store the strips separated into their own Ziploc bags.”