Dear Eunice Farmer: I would like to make a skirt for the summer with a flounce at the hem. What is the difference between a flounce and a ruffle? Please help me with a pattern suggestion. I don't know too much about sewing, and would prefer a skirt with elastic at the waist instead of a waist band. - Helen P.

Dear Helen: I personally love Kwik-Sew 2756, sized x-small to x-large. It not only features a flounce at the hem, it has elastic for the waist and includes a wonderful shell with a cowl neckline. Select a soft, drapey fabric for both pieces. A flounce is softer looking because it is cut in a circle, which is actually the bias of the fabric. A ruffle is a straight piece of fabric cut on the straight grain and stitched in two rows at the raw or cut edge, then the bobbin threads are pulled to form ruffles. This is usually found in home-decor projects.

Dear Eunice Farmer: I have always loved linen but hate the wrinkles. Now I see in ready-to-wear a different look in linens: They aren't pressed sharply but look more relaxed. How can I achieve this when I sew? - Gail P.

Dear Gail: Today's linens that you find in ready-to-wear have usually been pre-washed. This gives a more casual look instead of a hard-pressed look. You can pre-wash your linen when you purchase it and try the new look. (Sometimes those of us who sew are afraid to make anything that doesn't have a sharp, pressed look.) It's a good idea to search through better ready-to-wear before selecting fabrics so that we have the newest look with the clothes we make.

Dear Eunice Farmer: I have a problem with ready-made pants: They are always too short in the crotch. They fit perfectly except for this problem. Can I alter the pants to fit? - Terri P.

Dear Terri: If the pants fit perfectly except for the crotch area, you have a fairly simple alteration. Stitch the crotch seam a little lower beginning at the curve of the crotch. Clip the seam allowance and try the pants on. You can always stitch a second time until it is correct. (If the reverse were the problem, it would be much more difficult to change.)

Each week, a reader wins a prize for sending m a helpful sewing hint. This week's winner is Carol Sherwood of Batavia, N.Y. She will receive a thumb pincushion.

Her tip: "I take a lunch bag and cut or fold it down at the top, and tape it on the end of my sewing machine. Now all my threads, scraps of fabric, etc., are neatly out of the way!"

You, too, could win a thumb pincushion. Send your sewing tips to Eunice Farmer, Box 31729, St. Louis, MO 63131. If she selects your tidbit for publication, you'll receive this prize.

King Features Syndicate Inc.

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