Pick tweed for first suit

Published11/15/2008 12:03 AM

Q. I've just enrolled in a tailoring class and will make my first suit! Please help me select an easy pattern that will be successful. I'm afraid of a notched collar but love the look. - Barb C.

A. Dear Barb: I have selected Vogue 8262, sized 6-18. The jacket has a lapel (without the notched collar) and is slightly fitted, which is flattering for everyone.


The jacket is perfect to wear with skirts as well as pants. You might look at some tweed type fabrics; they hide a multitude of sins! Good luck with your first suit. I know you will be hooked, and it won't be the last one you make.

Q. So many of the pants and skirts that are available today have elastic at the waist instead of darts. What is the advantage? - Terry M.

A. If you have a rounded figure, the elastic will fit over this, where darts call attention to any figure flaws. Soft fabrics work best with elastic; heavier fabrics will become too bulky.

You can also combine darts with the elastic. In other words, make the darts only half as deep, and the elastic will fit smoothly over the hip area and not create as much bulk. It all depends on the weight of the fabric and how it will affect the style of the garment. For knit fabrics, elastic is perfect because you have the stretch advantage without the bulk.

Q. I have a gorgeous piece of heavy wool that I would like to use for a winter coat. So many of the ones I have seen are unlined. How should I finish the seams and how can I keep them pressed open? - Barbara B.

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A. You may use a rayon bias binding for all the seams. This gives a very professional look to the coat when it is opened. The next important tip is to allow 1 1/4-inch seams instead of the usual 5/8. This will give enough room for the seams to stay pressed open. If you prefer, you may press both seam allowances to one side and top-stitch 1/2 inch from the seam, giving it a flat-felled, smooth look, as well as a more tailored sportswear look!

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Geri Ladowski of Buffalo, N.Y. 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:

"When I change my sewing-machine needle, I put a Post-it note on the front of my machine. This reminds me what type of needle I am using."

You, too, could win a collection of hand-sewing needles. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, 120 W. Adams Apt. 320, St. Louis, MO 63122. If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive this prize.

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