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Sew Simple: A crazy doll that helps children learn

Dear Vicki: When I was a young child, my mother made a cloth book for me that helped me learn to tie my shoes and button my clothes. It also had snaps and zippers. Can you find something like that for me to make for my kids? Thanks. – Janey T.

Dear Janey: I found something really new and different for you to make for your kids that I really love. It is from Indygo Junction and is called Dress Myself Monster Doll. It’s not a book but a wacky stuffed doll that has lacings, buttons and buttonholes, a zipper, a tie and so on. You can make this for a boy or a girl, and it is a really sweet and crazy doll. Try to find this pattern at a local shop, but if you can’t, then send me a check for $10.50 and I will send it to you.


Dear Readers: This is a continuation of the dart discussion from last week.

Of course, darts were not needed at the stretch and sew classes; knits drape and form easily around all our bumps and curves. Now for more about stitching and pressing darts: After you have stitched the darts and are ready to press, realize the garment is no longer flat; it now has shape. So you need to use some equipment – a tailor’s ham if you have one. If you don’t have a ham, then position your dart so that the end point is at the end of your board or sleeve board and rotate the fabric as you press so that you don’t press circular wrinkles into your front. If the dart is in a skirt or pants, the same is true: Don’t press past the point. You will find that most books advise pressing darts to the side. When stitching double-ended darts, start in the middle and sew out to the end, then flip and sew from the middle to the opposite end.

Some darts benefit from having interfacing at the point, so with those fuse a quarter size piece of interfacing before stitching. With sheers there is a fascinating technique in which you pull bobbin thread up and thread your machine backward all the way up through the needle and then the tensions. Then you sew from the point to the wide end, so there will be no thread end at the point. This requires rethreading the machine after every dart, so that is a pain, but it provides a beautiful result.