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Precut sewing kits save time, money

Some in the industry are saying that home sewing is in the doldrums, but that isn't true in one area. The number of kit companies is growing. The advantages of a kit are appealing to a home sewer who wants to save time. Although a kit also saves money over the cost of a ready-made garment, often it costs a little more than starting with a pattern and a length of fabric. That extra cost, however, buys time saved in not needing to shop for the right fabric to go with a pattern (and vice versa); in not placing and pinning pattern pieces or cutting out parts of a garment; and in not needing to shop for matching notions.

In the United States there are several kit companies with sales that are increasing every year. Among these are Charing Cross Kits, Meredith, NH 03253; Edith Kressy's Designer Fashion Kits, Plymouth, NH 03264; Altra Sewing Kits, Boulder, CO 80301.

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Charing Cross Kits distributes Clothkits, which are imported from England. In these kits the garment pieces are printed on the fabric, with markings indicating where to cut for different sizes. All kits come with matching notions and clear instructions for sewing the garments.

In the summer collection are ready-made knit T-shirts, underwear, socks, and children's dresses in colors to coordinate with many of the kits. Each garment and kit is available in two or more colors. The winter collection includes coordinating wool sweaters and knee socks. There are kits to make clothing for the whole family, although the emphasis is on younger children's and misses's sizes. These kits are available only by mail, ordering from a catalog, or in the company showroom in New Hampshire.

Altra clothing kits are for cold-weather wear and are sold in many fabric stores. They range from vests (with zip-on sleeves available separately) to coveralls, parkas, and full- length coats. The garments are insulated with either down or polyester. Sizes are available for all the family.

In addition to clothing, the catalog includes camping equipment (sleeping bag , tent, backpack), soft luggage, and comforters.The kits include all the notions , hardware and parts needed, and are precut. All grommets and snaps have been set at the factory.

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