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Seam's never quite right

Question: I'm one of those women who have trouble fitting a jacket with the curved seam that ends in the armhole. The curve never seems to fit my body, yet so many patterns have this design seam. I find it very discouraging. _ Fran C.

Answer: The seam that has an extreme curve must fit your bust perfectly. If you are larger or smaller, or your bust is higher or lower, you will not be happy with the fit, as you are finding.

From time to time, I recommend patterns with my favorite construction seam: It extends from the shoulder, over the bust, and ends at the hem. In this way, you have a perfect seam that you can alter to fit your shoulder. And you can nip in or let out, according to your body measurements.

Burda 3611, sizes 10-20, is a perfect pattern for fitting. If you wish less fitting, simply straighten the seams through the waist area. You can shorten the jacket. It would also be perfect with a full or an A-line skirt or with pants.

Let your fabric tell your fashion story. This pattern is wonderful in holiday fabrics such as brocades, velvets or satin. You can also make it out of linen, silk tweeds or wool crepe. Each fabric choice will look different.

Learn to use a basic pattern that fits you over and over again.

Sleeve solutions

Question: Is it possible to add sleeves to a sleeveless pattern, and, in reverse, can you make a pattern with sleeves into a sleeveless? _ Jean J.

Answer: Both are possible without too much knowledge of pattern drafting. You must use the same armhole pattern if you are using the sleeves from that pattern.

If you are making a garment sleeveless from one that features sleeves, you must cut the armhole the same as for a sleeveless dress. Cut the armhole higher and closer fitting in a sleeveless garment.

Correcting for crease

Question: I recently cut a simple dress out of fabric that had been prewashed. After I made it, I couldn't get the original crease out, and, of course, it is right down the center front. What should I have done? _ Angie C.

Answer: Sometimes, even prewashing will not erase the original fold of the fabric. Always check before cutting to be sure you can press out the crease. If not, you must use your own pattern layout.

If your fabric is 60 inches wide, you may fold just enough to cut the piece that is originally cut on the fold instead of folding it in half.

This week's winner

Winner of the Sim-Flex measuring gauge, for the sewing tip of the week, is Louise Hartman of Schnecksville, Pa. Her tip:

"When sewing buttons by machine, put a spot from a glue stick where you want the button and another touch on the back of the bottom. The button will stay in place while sewing. This is especially helpful for those small buttons."

You, too, could win a Sim-Flex gauge. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131. If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive a Sim-Flex.

Eunice Farmer is a nationally recognized authority on sewing. She is an author, teacher, lecturer and fashion reporter, and she owns her own fabric boutique and sewing school.