Sew Simple

Sewing authority offers tips on the latest fashions, fabrics and stitching techniques. Weekly

Sewing made easy and economical with tips on the latest fashions, fabrics and techniques.

Vicki Farmer Ellis is carrying on her mother’s expertise and flair for fashion in the nationally syndicated newspaper column “Sew Simple.”

Do you want to update your wardrobe? Embellish with the latest fashion trends and fads. What’s new today? EMBROIDERY! A busy woman can embroider ready-to-wear and enjoy the latest fashion trim to hit the market. The newest sewing techniques and working with easy-to-make patterns help create individual fashion statements.

That’s exactly what Vicki Farmer Ellis teaches in her weekly “Sew Simple” newspaper column.

November 6th 2016

Dear Readers: This is another suggestion for Suzie T. and all of you who love sewing gifts:

This is another three dimensional FabriFlair paper-piecing sewing kit from Indygo Junction. Each kit makes a 10-inch Moravian star with all the mat board templates cut for you. Use them for patterns to make more and cover each piece with fabric scraps and then sew together by hand. It can be a holiday decoration for you or for gifting — or room decor that is seasonless. Indygo Junction suggests the star could be used as a bookend (how neat!). You could embellish it and just let your imagination go wild and have fun. Again, try to find this at a local shop, but if you can’t, then send me a check for $14.99 and I will send it to you.

* * *

Dear Vicki: One of my knowledgeable sewing friends told me, after my latest sewing mishap, that you should always press the fold out of you fabric before cutting. Is this common information that I just missed, or is she a guru? Anyway, I have a crease down the front of my skirt that I can’t press out now. Do you have a helpful suggestion? — Taylor M.

Dear Taylor: Now, the suggestion is to dampen the crease with white vinegar and press. This often softens the fibers and with heat allows a reset. Good luck. Yes, your friend is a guru, and you should listen to her. Always press the fold before cutting; this way you know if the fold will go away and can then begin strategies if it doesn’t. Try washing, then try the white vinegar, and then a dry cleaners — even if you plan to wash the garment. Last resort is to refold the fabric so that the crease isn’t used or at least isn’t in the center.

* * *

Each week I share a reader’s tip and thank the reader with a set of 100 fine English hand-sewing needles from John James. This week the tip is from Ruth Peters, of West Caldwell, N.J. This is an old but still good tip. She writes:

“Recently a friend gave me a magnetic calendar for my refrigerator; it’s about 5 by 7 inches. I found it makes a wonderful pin collector while sewing. I stuck it onto the table and just toss the pins in that direction as I stitch. It’s great! I don’t stop or look, and all the pins are kept together for pinning the next seam.”

* * *

Please send your tips and questions to me, Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email me at And you, too, could win a collection of hand-sewing needles if your tidbit is selected for publication.

* * *

Vicki Farmer Ellis is the daughter of nationally recognized authority on sewing Eunice Farmer.

(c) 2016 King Features Syndicate Inc.

For rates and rights in your territory, please contact us