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Two-piece shirtwaist look helps with fitting problems

Dear Eunice Farmer: I love the look of a shirtwaist dress but have trouble fitting myself when a pattern has a waistline seam. Help! _ Alice G.

Dear Alice: I have always stressed pattern selection as the most important step of sewing.

If you have trouble fitting yourself and don't have help, I personally have found separates to be the answer to most fitting problems.

Besides, there is the extra bonus of mix-and-match wardrobe extensions.

I have selected Butterick 6799 sized 6-22 as a perfect answer to your shirtwaist dress "look."

The pattern also features a straight skirt, the trouser pleats are very flattering, and the focus on buttons is another great detail.

Don't discard a pattern simply because it looks too simple; always remember that the fabric tells the story.

A wonderful piece of fabric deserves a simple pattern to make it look elegant.

I see this pattern in everyone's wardrobe. (You can substitute long sleeves if you desire.)

India silk variations are not flaws

Dear Eunice Farmer: I love the texture of hand-woven India silks, often referred to as raw silk or silk Matka, but am disturbed about the color variations. I keep thinking everyone will suspect I purchased flawed fabric. Why is there such a change in colors on some of these imported silks? _ Janice M.

Dear Janice: Most purists, those of us who love the natural fibers and textures, realize that color and texture variations are a guarantee that the fabric is hand-woven, and these are the characteristics we respect and love.

Color variations are the result of fibers that are yarn-dyed, rather than piece-dyed after the fabric is woven. If it is yarn-dyed, you will see the color variations appear as it is woven.

Please learn to love the fabric and the extra work that has gone into it and don't expect it to look like it was bulk-processed by the thousands of yards. You are paying for these characteristics. Be proud of them and be assured that they are not flaws.

This week's winner

Winner of the Sim-Flex accurate measuring gauge, for the sewing tip of the week, is Marion Schantz of Lowville, N.Y. Her tip:

"If you still like the smooth, pressed look on your cottons as I do, spray the fabric with a fine mist of water from a used, clean, non-aerosol spray bottle. It is much easier to control than the spray from your iron!"

You, too, could win a Sim-Flex accurate measuring gauge. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer at the address below. If she selects your tidbit for publication, Mrs. Farmer will send you the Sim-Flex.

Send your questions or comments to Eunice Farmer, Sew Simple, c/o King Features, 235 E 45th St., New York, NY 10017.