Looking ahead to spring, here's the perfect jacket

Published12/8/2007 12:19 AM

Q. I have looked at ready-to-wear for new ideas for a jacket. Most of them have unusual sleeves or something that changes them to a softer look. Can you suggest a pattern for my new spring jacket?

Nadine N.


A. I love McCall's 5242, sized 6-20. It features my favorite seam over the bust from shoulder to hem. The uneven hemline is also very flattering. The soft ruffle at the neck and sleeves can also be eliminated for a more simple look. It's perfect for your spring-summer jacket!

Q. Our sewing club has asked me to write you about the problem we have today with the new patterns. Why, oh why, did they eliminate the sketches of the pattern? Instead they are using photos. All of us sew because we know what seams, darts and details are best for our figures. And with sketches we can spot them immediately. With photos, especially when shown in dark colors, it is impossible to see these details.

We hope you can tell the pattern companies about this and perhaps they will go back to the sketches (or use both a sketch and a photo!).

Carole R.

A. I have noticed this in recent months and agree with you. Those of us who sew know the design seams that are best for us. If you can't see them, you don't want to purchase the pattern. I hope some of you will take the time to write and tell the designers what you are looking for. It might help.

Q. I was intrigued with a new pattern for a skirt that was cut on the bias; it looked so great in a plaid. I made it with the usual alterations I always make, but to my horror, it didn't fit at all. It pulled across the hips so badly that I couldn't wear it. What should I have done for a perfect-fitting skirt?

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Laurel P.

A. Bias always stretches because it isn't cut on the perfect grain-line. The skirt stretched so that it didn't have the original fit that you had with a straight-cut skirt.

For a bias skirt, I would suggest adding at least 5 inches to the side seams. Then allow it to hang from a hanger for a few days, and now you can fit yourself again. Since the bias will continue to "grow," fold your skirt and place it on a flat surface instead of hanging it up.

Helpful sewing hint

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Sheila Greifenkamp of Homosassa, Fla. She will receive a collection of 100 hand-sewing needles from England. From the finest of fabrics to the heaviest, you will have the right needle at hand! Her tip: "A great gift idea for anyone older whose eyes have dimmed: Take a packet of hand-sewing needles, thread each one with a different colored thread. Thread several in these colors. Wrap each separately around a cardboard. They will always be at hand, ready to use, and it's a real timesaver! They will love it!"

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