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Sew Simple: A loose-fitting top for sheer fabric

Dear Vicki: I am going on a cruise in March, so I want to make something to wear to fancy dinners. I already have a fabric I have had for a couple of years. I just love it, but it is very, very sheer, almost not there. I am lost in finding a look and a pattern, so please find one for me. – Kara R.

Dear Kara: You sent me a sample, so yes, I know how sheer your lovely fabric is, and I do have an idea for you. The pattern I like for you is McCall’s 7163. It’s a very loose-fitting top with elastic at the neck and raglan sleeves, so no fit to worry about. If you have a serger, you can sew this together using the rolled hem stitch! And then also hem the bottom and the sleeves with the rolled hem stitch. It will be so fast and pretty. Just find a camisole to wear under the top, and it will be great.


Dear Vicki: Tell me about how your sewing room is organized. I am getting ready to actually have one and need some of your ideas and favorite parts. Thanks. – Alice S.

Dear Alice: It’s my favorite room in the house! My sewing room is very tiny and very organized, with an L-shaped cabinet that holds my machine and serger, an ironing board and a cutting table that, when open, prevents me from getting out of the room. OK, here are some ideas: I have a huge bulletin board, 48 inches by 60 inches, that I covered with linen, and I pin swatches, pictures, trims, articles, all my inspirations to it. Words cannot tell you how wonderful a cutting table can be, wide enough to lay out your fabric, tall enough not to break your back. For many years I cut on the floor on a folding cardboard and then used the dining room table, but now it’s heaven to have a cutting table. I have shelves with wire bins for fabric stash and a kitchen rail system from IKEA that hangs next to my sewing cabinet. The system has hooks for scissors and tape measures, a flat shelf for rippers and little tools, and a jar for seam gauges and markers, and also a magnetic spice tin holder that I use for snaps and buttons. I also have a radio that plays CDs so I can listen to recorded books while I sew. When I get home from work I don’t want to go in and sew because I’m tired, but I do want to know what is happening next in the book. So I go in and begin sewing, and it’s like magic – I get projects done.