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Chanel-style pattern offers clean lines

Question: I have always read about Coco Chanel, the designer. What was her famous fashion statement that has survived almost 50 years? What did her suits look like, and why were they copied over and over through the years? _ Rhoda D.

Answer: Chanel believed in classic simplicity. She made a great name for herself by using wonderful lightweight fabrics, edged in coordinated trims, and easy-to-wear straight jackets with a soft, lightweight construction, without facings.

The lining was brought to the edge of the jacket, again, creating a soft, unconstructed look.

Because of the lack of inner construction, a chain was often applied to the hem of the jacket to give it the weight needed to hang correctly.

There is no actual Chanel jacket pattern; however, a Chanel-inspired jacket pattern is New Look 6101, sizes 8-18. (New Look patterns are usually available where Simplicity patterns are sold.)

Fixing crotch seams

Question: When making pants for myself, I find that the crotch seam is always too short. How can I correct this without making the hips too large? _ Annie D.

Answer: This is a very simple adjustment to make. Instead of stitching the crotch seam on the original seam line, you stitch a deeper seam line at the curve. Stitch the seam on the original seam line until you come to the curve, both front and back.

Take a slightly deeper seam, perhaps \ inch, then clip the seam and try the pants on. If you still feel it is too short, you may lower the seam line another \ inch, until you have a perfect fit.

Beware sizes

Question: You have inspired me so much with your great column that I finally decided to sew again. I bought a size 10 pattern _ the same size I wear in ready-to-wear _ but when I finished my two-piece dress _ horrors! _ it didn't fit. In fact, the skirt wouldn't even fit over my waist and hips. What went wrong? _ Carla C.

It's important to know that ready-to-wear and patterns do not follow the same size measurements. In fact, ready-to-wear has no standard that you can depend on. The more expensive the garment, the smaller the size on the garment.

You must always remember two things. First, premeasure the pattern, and compare it with your measurements to make sure there is body ease.

Next, and equally important, carefully check on the styling of the garment. As examples, a straight skirt has much less ease than a full skirt; an elastic waistline stretches more than a stitched waistband; a fitted jacket will require careful measurements versus an oversized, loosely fitted jacket.

Please follow my advice on your next selection. I think you will be happy with the results. It only takes a few extra minutes but can avert a disaster!

And the winner is . . .

Winner of the Sim-Flex measuring gauge, for the sewing tip of the week, is Shirley Caldwell of New Port Richey. Her tip:

"If you have a space problem as I do, solve it by using two adjustable ironing boards. I adjust them to the same height, spread them apart and place my folding cardboard mat on top. I can raise or lower it as needed. When I'm finished with my cutting or sewing project _ voila! _ everything just folds up, and I put it all away in a very small space."

You, too, could win a Sim-Flex gauge. Send sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, c/o the Times, at the address below.

If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll get a Sim-Flex.

Send questions to Eunice Farmer, P.O. Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131.

Cowles Syndicate Inc.