Q: My children gave me some beautiful Irish-tweed fabric to have made into a cape. My daughter-in-law promised to make the cape for me. That was all great, but nothing is happening because we cannot find a pattern. I am a size-8 petite. All the capes in the pattern books are very full--too full for me. Do you have a cape pattern that buttons down the front, has slits for the arms and can be belted in front? --M.J.C. A: The cape illustrated here should be just right for you; it is not extremely full, and it comes in two lengths--one that ends at the knees and one that ends at mid-calf. Depending on your height, you might find that the knee-length version will become a calf-length version on you. Although McCall's No. 8799 is illustrated with only one button at the neck, it could easily be buttoned as far down as you like, and a belt could be drawn through the front slits. It comes with its own hood, but that can be removed if you prefer a collar. In that event, tell your daughter-in-law to check out Butterick No. 6796.
Q: What would be suitable to wear with gladiator sandals? I have two pair. One is a luggage color with a closed back; the other one, in a darker brown, has a high ankle strap. Both are flats. I am 65, tall and slim, and I like simple, outdoorsy clothes. --B.P. A: Wear your sandals with full-skirted cotton dresses in the Laura Ashley or Jessica McClintock genre. Or if that look is a bit too sweet for you, wear a full cotton skirt with a tailored blazer, the way Ralph Lauren models do.
Q: Why would you recommend a terry - cloth robe for $130 when there are versions available for much less money? I purchased my all-cotton terry robe from Erlander's, 2279 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, for $49.95. That was for the full-length version. A dress-length style costs $28.95. That company also offers the robes via mail order, but with an extra charge for postage and handling. The address is: Erlander's, P.O. Box 106, Altadena 91001. --M.A.G. A: I recommended the $130 version because that's all I could find. Now thanks to you and dozens of other readers, I know that there are, indeed, less-expensive 100% cotton terry robes available. I chose to print your letter because of all the other robes mentioned, the Erlander's robe is the least expensive. The dress-length version with drop sleeves and self-tie belt has two patch pockets. It is available in white, light blue, light pink and wisteria, in sizes petite, small, medium and large. The long version has notched lapels and long sleeves. It comes in the same colors and sizes.
Q: I received a designer wool suit as a gift. The skirt is gray with an elastic waistband and back split. The V-neck jacket is a "sweatery" gray-and-white stripe that buttons down the front and extends almost to the knees. My problem is what to wear with it. I was considering a waist-length white silk-and-wool sweater; then I considered a sweater that ends just below the waistline. I would wear that with a wide leather belt. What's your advice? --S.E. A: It sounds as though both your skirt and jacket are knits. If so, they'll look best with another knit, not a woven. Therefore, both of your sweater ideas are sound. What will make or break the look is the neckline of the sweater you're considering. For a nautical look, wear a knitted white camisole or a white V-neck sweater. Fill in the neckline with some white beads and you'll be all set.
Marylou Luther welcomes questions for use in this column. She regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to Clotheslines, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.