Top will complement skirt, pants outfits

Published11/1/2008 12:10 AM

Q: What is the difference between a "blouse" and a "top"? The pattern books list them separately.

- Maryanne W.


A: We always thought of a blouse as a "tuck-in" top worn with skirts and pants. Today, the word "top" seems to refer to a garment that is not tucked in, but instead worn over a skirt or pants. It can be any length - even tunic length. My favorite new "top" pattern is Vogue 8422, sized 6-20. The pattern features several versions, including different sleeve lengths and different necklines. It has a great look and will complement your skirts and pants!

Q: How do I prevent that bulky, thick look at the corners of my collars? I press the seams open and do all the things I have been taught, but I still get that "loving hands of home" look because of my collars.

- Lucie J.

A: By allowing the interfacing to be sewn in the ends of the collars, there is too much bulk for a smooth finish. Cut off the interfacing at an angle across the point of the corner, just slightly above the stitching line. The interfacing will still give you a professional-looking collar, but the extra bulk will be eliminated, allowing you to have a beautiful tailored collar.

Q: This is the time of year when I'm shortening the length as well as the sleeves on my children's jackets and coats. Like everyone, I want them to have that "extra-years wear," so they are always too long the first year. Is there an easy way?

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- Linda S.

A: It's easier than you think! Simply take a tuck in the lining only. Don't press the new item with a "heavy hand." Just lightly press it. Better yet, dampen it with a little moisture and "hand press" the new hem. When the garment needs to be lengthened, it only takes a second to remove the stitching from the lining.

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Ann Wright of Marietta, Ga. 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: "Adjust your ironing board comfortably to chair height and position it so that you are seated between it and your sewing machine. Having it in this convenient placement means you can press all the seams, darts, pleats, etc. as you go. Now you will have a made look instead of a homemade look."

• Send your questions and sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, 120 W. Adams Apt. 320, St. Louis, MO 63122.

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