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A slenderizing party dress

Question: I need a pattern for a simple, dressy dress for my 9-year-old to wear for the holidays to church, school parties, family gatherings, etc. She is slightly chubby; I hope we can disguise it.

Answer: I have suggested Kwik-Sew 2592, sizes 8 to 14, before; I think it is the perfect dress for preteens. I would suggest making it in stretch velvet or washable polyester. It is inexpensive and easy to work with, and the flare in the pattern design is very flattering and slenderizing. You can make it short, as pictured, or longer if you wish. Three sleeve lengths are offered: long, short or sleeveless. The fabric comes in beautiful jewel colors _ some with tiny sparkles, too.

Underlining silk

Question: Years ago, we had a lightweight interfacing called Siri that was perfect to underline silky fabrics. I can't find this product anymore. Can you suggest another suitable fabric for an underlining? Should I try an iron-on interfacing?

Answer: I recommend underlining silky jackets with silk organza. It is the perfect weight to give a little body without losing the effect of the silk. You should never use a fusible interfacing; it would look too structured and stiff. When underlining, cut your fashion fabric sections of the jacket first, then cut the same sections out of silk organza.

You must work on a flat surface as you carefully baste the two together; pinning will not give you perfect results. I underline the facings as well and have had wonderful results. You may still cut a separate finishing lining, as well as the lining for the skirt. Your jacket will retain its shape, and this won't destroy the beauty of the silk.

The perfect gift

Dear readers: To all of you who put off shopping for that very special person in your life who loves to sew, why not give her a gift certificate from her favorite fabric store? She can use it for books, fabrics, embroidery cards or some of the biggies, like a serger, embroidery machine or updates for her sewing machine. She can then shop at her leisure after the holidays and choose whatever her heart desires.

Buttons individualize

Question: I have just finished making a suit out of your favorite fabric, silk matka. It turned out great.

Do you think I should use covered buttons? I don't want it to look homemade.

Answer: Buttons have been a focal detail for the past severalyears. They can individualize a garment.

Many of my customers take the buttons off their expensive ready-made garments and replace them with buttons of their choice. I recommend that you purchase special buttons for your suit. (Be sure to take the suit with you when you go shopping; you don't want to have to guess the color or size of the buttons.)

Choose side you prefer

Question: I have fallen in love with a gorgeous piece of wool blend with a great nubby texture. Unfortunately, the nubs are on the wrong side, and I prefer them to the right side. Does it make a difference? Can I interchange it?

Answer: Perhaps the fabric was rolled with the wrong side inside instead of the right side. However, you may use whichever side you want; many of us choose to use the wrong side. Just be sure that there aren't any wool ends that show on the wrong side. Otherwise, have fun.

This week's winner

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Anne Hixson of Washington, Mo. She will receive a new pressure-sensitive tape measure to apply to any sewing surface or work area. It will not tear, shrink or stretch, and it has inches and centimeters clearly marked. Her tip:

"I purchased Burda 3216 for some one-seam pants at your suggestion, but I didn't get around to making them. My granddaughters were visiting me last week and wanted cool-looking pajama pants, so I decided to try the pattern. It worked out just great! It's perfect for any teen. We made theirs capri length and sewed two rows of ribbon trim about 2 inches above the hem, and they love them!"

You, too, could win a pressure-sensitive tape measure. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131. If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive this prize.

Eunice Farmer is a nationally recognized authority on sewing.

King Features Syndicate

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