Ruffled bolero works well with formal gowns

Q. We attend many formal occasions, and I need some kind of jacket or wrap to wear over strapless gowns. I have a great dressmaker and want something that is not too tailored looking. Can you help me with a pattern? - Lila M.

A. I love this little bolero-type jacket, which can be dressy looking because of the ruffle on the front edges. It is dressy and does the job of covering up bare shoulders. The pattern also features four other versions and gives you great ideas for your choice of fabric! Look for McCall's 3033, sized 4-18.

Q. I'm so tired of looking at ready-made clothes with their high prices and sloppy construction. I thought I'd tackle something myself. My friends have offered to help me! - Liz R.

A. First, be sure your friends sew well enough to achieve a professional look on the finished garment. Start with a pattern that isn't too difficult. Be sure to use a good-quality fabric. Be patient; if you hurry you will make mistakes. Learn to study ready-to-wear for details. Lastly, be enthusiastic and always visualize your finished garment as you go along. An optimistic attitude will go a long way toward success!

Q. I'm making a wrap out of fake fur and can't control the lint that is flying all around my sewing area. Is there a way to control this before trying to sew the fake fur together? - Joyce S.

A. The easiest way to eliminate the lint from fake fur is to place all the cut pieces of your pattern in the clothes dryer on the "air only" cycle. This will eliminate loose fur and save frustration. It also eliminates the possibility of gumming up your sewing machine.

Tip of the week: This week's winner is Karen McKee of Winsted, Conn., and she'll receive 100 hand-sewing needles from England. Her tip: "When trying to match solid colors to go with calico prints for a quilt, I go to the paint store and get some color chip samples. They have many shades of the color you are looking for and will help you find just the right colors!"

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

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