Easy-to-sew patterns offer designer looks at affordable prices

Savvy sewers can create all the latest spring looks for a fraction of retail prices. Pattern books include an array of easy-to-sew patterns, including the newest designer fashions.

As a fashionable alternative to the traditional matched suit, consider Oscar de la Renta's Japanese-inspired dress plus kimono jacket for Vogue Patterns. Another option is the coat dress, as interpreted by Evan Picone for Butterick. This pattern combines tailoring with soft details such as puffed sleeves for a totally feminine mood.

Some of the most attractive fabrics this season are in subtle pastel shades with a pearlized effect, or slightly grayed for a misty look. Colors such as sand, sterling, and sea foam are understated and lend themselves well to dressier styles. Easy-care fabrics are available in everything from wrinkle-resistant linen-looks to delicate voiles that go right into the washing machine.

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