Your simple suit can be dressed up

Q. I need your help! I am going to a convention this winter where every evening is sort of "dress-up," not casual. I would love to make a simple suit with beautiful lines that can be accessorized to dress it up or down. I would like to make a matching skirt instead of wearing pants, which I have done in past years.

- Jennifer L.

A. I love the simplicity and lines of Vogue 8302, sized 6-20. It is very elegant and can be accessorized with jeweled pins, scarves, etc. The pattern also features a lapel neckline for a more casual look. This suit doesn't have a season; it can be worn for just about any occasion. It's a winner!

Q. I've just gone back to sewing now that I'm retired and have found a whole new world of fabrics! What is the advantage of a mixture of fibers instead of the former 100 percent cotton, wool, silk, etc...?

- Paula J.

A. The combination of fibers combine the best features of each fiber. Wool and silk are a very common combination, resulting in a year-round type fabric that has the best features of wool with the soft luster of silk. You will find rayon combined with cotton, silk and wool. They all have more beautiful texture and colors that weren't possible before. Try one of the new fabrics, and you will be hooked. They are wonderful!

Q. I have a beautiful piece of plaid wool and want to make a jacket for fall. What is the best way to match the sleeve with the rest of the jacket?

- Jane B.

A. Usually you match the horizontal lines of the plaid on the jacket and sleeves. This is possible if you match the one notch in the front of the sleeve with the one notch at the armhole of the jacket. This works on the front only.

Another solution to matching the sleeve is to cut the sleeve on the bias. This produces a very attractive alternative. I have seen this detail on very expensive garments.

P.S.: When matching the side seams front and back, begin below the bust dart, not at the top of the armhole. This will give you a matching line at the hemline of the jacket, which is more prominent.

A tip: Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Mary Courtright of Los Alamos, N.M. She will receive a collection of 100 hand-sewing needles from England. Her tip: "I made a quick cover for my sewing machine instead of the carrying case it came in. I simply cut about 24 inches off the top of a plastic dress bag! Slip it over the machine. It keeps the dust off and can be removed in an instant, and you're ready to go!"

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

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