Jacket ensemble goes from office to dinner

Q. My daughter just got her first position at a large firm and goes out to dinner often with some of the staff. She would like me to make her a dress and jacket that would work during the day and be a little dressy for casual evenings. Please help with a pattern! - Jenny B.

A. I love Vogue 8472, sized 8-22, for many reasons. First, the jacket is very versatile and new-looking. It would work with dresses or pants and can be dressed up or down. It is appropriate for the office during the day and perfect for just about any type of evening!

Q. I am new at sewing and don't understand the pattern sizing. The patterns seem so much smaller when I use the same size as the clothing that I purchase. What am I doing wrong? - Marcie F.

A. Yes, the measurements are often much different. It seems that the manufacturers are playing up to the ego of their ready-to-wear buyers! Their patterns are usually cut larger to accommodate the women who aren't honest with their measurements! Be sure to measure your own body, then the pattern, and be sure there is extra room to move before cutting your fabric.

Q. My preteen-age daughter is very interested in fashion and wants to be a fashion designer. I know she is very young, but what could I do to encourage and help her pursue her dream? - Melissa P.

A. This is something many young girls think they would like to do when they grow up, but it is a difficult career and requires lots of hard work. I will share a few tips with you that you can help her with. First, it takes more than being able to sketch a garment and hope that it sells. You must know the work that it requires in construction, which reflects in the final cost.

I would encourage her to take as many sewing lessons as are available in your area - this is a must! She should also learn a lot about textiles; different fabrics work differently in the design of a garment.

Some schools offer apprenticeships in some of the manufacturers' workrooms (this only comes after she has completed college). Watch TV programs that deal with fashion and the fashion industry. It's a wonderful world, but very few people actually become successful; the competition is fierce. Encourage her to check out every facet of the business before her heart is set on it.

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending in a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Brenda Nabours of Louisiana. She will receive a collection of 100 hand-sewing needles from England. Her tip:

"When I have some top-stitching to do, I place a strip of masking tape the exact distance from the machine needle on the throat plate of the machine. This makes a temporary guide for my stitching and can be easily removed when the job is completed."

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

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