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Q: I don't have much time to sew and want to make a suit for fall out of wool crepe. It has always been one of my favorite fabrics. But a few years ago I made a wool crepe suit, and the first time I had it cleaned, it shrank so much I couldn't wear it. I thought all wools were preshrunk. What did I do wrong?

A: Most wools are preshrunk; however, because of the porous loose weave, you must always have it preshrunk by your dry cleaner before you begin your project.

Wool crepe has always been one of my favorite fabrics to work with too. It tailors beautifully, is practically nonseasonal, is wrinkle-resistant and is perfect for jackets, pants or skirts. Fusible interfacings usually work well, but please pretest any interfacings before you apply them. Every fabric is different.

This week's winner

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Nancy Fleming of St. Petersburg. She will receive a collection of 100 hand-sewing needles from England. Her tip:

"Everyone needs an emergency sewing kit. You'll never be at a loss if you pop a button off or your hem comes out! Fill an empty milk canister with pins, buttons, a pre-threaded needle, etc. Tuck them in your luggage or any travel bag or purse and hit the road!"

You, too, could win a collection of hand-sewing needles. Send your tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131, or If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive this prize.

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