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Perfect for the social whirl

By EUNICE FARMER Special to the Times
Published March 29, 2007


Q: I host for many social events and need a dress or suit that isn't too dressy, but not too tailored, which would be appropriate for a woman in her 60s. Can you help?

A: That's a big order, but I'll try. I have searched the pattern catalogs and have found one that I think is gorgeous and is the kind of outfit you are looking for. Look for Butterick 4387, sizes 8-22. It is a simple dress with a lovely jacket that would be very flattering on most figures. I love the double-sided jacket, which can be individualized in many ways, either in two contrasting colors or shades of one color. Actually, you could combine this jacket with a two-piece dress, a long or short skirt, or a semifitted or gored skirt with softer lines. Think of the jacket as a part of your ensemble; the choice of bottom to be worn under it is up to you. I can even imagine soft pants with the jacket. Be sure your fabric choice is soft, such as double georgette, crepe, faille, etc.

Making pants smaller

Q: When altering pants that are too large, do I take in the inseam or side seam? Also, is it necessary to shorten the crotch?

A: When taking in pants, remove the same amount from the inseam that you take out of the side seam. This will keep the pants on the same grain line. As for the crotch, unless the pants are too long, this is a difficult alteration. I would raise the pants at the waist if possible. This can be done only if the pants are too long. The alteration you are talking about isn't too difficult and can save you from buying new pants.

This week's winner

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Anna V. Reich of Albuquerque, N.M. She will receive a collection of 100 hand-sewing needles from England. Her tip:

"Before beginning a new project, I always check the fabric to see if it can be put in the dryer on low heat. If it can, I place four or five softener sheets in the dryer with the fabric; this makes the fabric soft and easy to manage. It makes sewing faster and my projects more fun."

You, too, could win a collection of hand-sewing needles. Send your sewing 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 her own fabric boutique and sewing school in St. Louis.

[Last modified March 28, 2007, 20:46:10]

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