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Finish second grade and start sewing

Question: At what age do you recommend my preteen daughter take a sewing class? She is looking for some summer projects, and we don't want to wait too long. _ Pat B.

Answer: We have found that preteens should be finished with second grade before they begin to sew _ they do much better if they can read well. If they are simply doing craft projects, the age isn't as important. This is the time of year when all parents are signing their children up for summer projects, and it's a great time to introduce them to sewing.

I've selected an easy pattern, Butterick 5966 sized 7-16, which features shorts, pants and a skirt (in different lengths), with the very popular tie at the waist. Another pattern you might select is Butterick 6105, which features the popular slip dress, shell and a skirt. Keep the project simple and let your daughter select her own fabric _ she will be much more motivated.

We have found in our classes that because of the attention span, it's best to select classes that meet every day for one week, with the students doing their sewing at the store. Look for classes at fabric shops, community schools, church groups, etc. If you make it fun, it is an invaluable experience that is sure to be exciting. After the first project is completed, encourage them to immediately make another garment.

Wash "slinky' fabric

before cutting

Question: I've fallen in love with the fabric called "slinky." It drapes so beautifully and seems to be flattering to almost all figures. I travel a lot and need something that can be washed. Can this fabric be washed successfully? _ Louise M.

Answer: Slinky is a fabulous fabric. It's easy to work with, drapes beautifully and is indeed very flattering. It is an acetate fabric and does wash well; however, you must prewash it before you begin cutting. Allow \ yard extra for each 2 yards of fabric for shrinkage, and a little extra shrinkage in the width.

If your garment is ready-made, it probably has a label that says "dry clean only." This is because of the shrinkage _ it means what it says! (This is one of the great advantages of making your own clothes: You select the most flattering pattern and the color you love, and you can preshrink it in advance.)

Reader seeks ideas

for wedding favors

Question: My daughter is being married in September. I sew and quilt. Do you have any suggestions for inexpensive favors for the wedding? It will be a large one, and I need some ideas at once! _ Marilyn D.

Answer: I will have to turn your request over to my readers. Please, if you have any great ideas to help Marilyn, jot them off to me as soon as possible. Write to Eunice Farmer, P.O. Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131, and I will publish them in this column. I imagine many of us will be happy with your suggestions!

Tip of the week

Winner of the lighted seam ripper and needle threader for this week's sewing tip is Sharron Wade of Carlyle, Ill. Her tip:

"I keep a sheet of Cling Free (for the dryer) next to my sewing machine. It keeps static electricity from sticking threads to my fingers, especially in the winter!" (Thanks to several of my readers who sent in the same tip!)

You, too, could win a lighted seam ripper and needle threader. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131. If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive this sewing notion.

Eunice Farmer is a nationally recognized authority on sewing.

King Features Syndicate