Question: I'm 65, 5 foot 2, size 18 1/2, and I'm looking for a wedding dress that will be different and fun. Could you find a pattern for a '20s chemise dress? Maybe one with a handkerchief hemline? If you can't find a pattern, can you find a ready-made dress for under $250? My hair is white, but I have a young face and I'm a fun lady. Please suggest colors and fabrics.--A.K.R.
Answer: The 1926 "slip-on" dress illustrated here has a cascade hemline in back, not a handkerchief hem, and it's available only up to size 16, but Saundra Altman of Past Patterns says the 16 can be adapted easily to fit an 18 1/2. The reason: It has a four-inch ease across the bust line and an inch under the arms, thereby allowing for a four-inch expansion at the bust and the same amount at the hips. The dress is ideal for weddings because it will be viewed from the back, and it has just the right amount of back interest (the circular capelet extends to points in back that correspond to the cascade hem). The dress would make up well in chiffon--either print or solid. Orchid, turquoise, apricot--all would complement your white hair. If you don't like the idea of chiffon, try satin-back crepe. To order, send $12 plus $1.74 for postage and handling to Past Patterns, 2017 Eastern, S.E., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49507.
Q: What should two 63-year-old women wear in London, Paris and Madrid the first two weeks in August? Should we take summer or fall fabrics and colors?--S.S.
A: You would look most fashionable if you take summer-weight fabrics in dark, fall colors. Knits made of cotton and polyester are ideal as long as the cotton content exceeds the polyester content, thereby assuring breathability. You'll find separates more practical than one-piece dresses, as they can be mixed or matched without having to launder (or dry clean) the entire outfit. You can find an ideal travel wardrobe of summer-weight knits in fall colors in the catalogue published by the Tog Shop, Lester Square, Americus, Ga. 31710. Don't forget to take a raincoat and walking shoes.
Q: My podiatrist has told me only to wear cotton or silk stockings and to be sure that the insoles in my shoes are leather, not paper. Thanks to you, I have found cotton lisle hose. As a senior citizen on a limited income, I cannot afford to buy new shoes. But I do want to make sure that they have leather insoles. Do shoe stores sell such items?--J.P.
A: If your shoe-repair shop does not sell leather insoles, they can be ordered by sending $9.95 to Farber Insoles, 160 Fremont St., Worcester, Mass. 01603. Indicate shoe size and whether your shoes have pointed or rounded toes. Paul O'Conor says the reason that leather insoles keep feet dryer than paper insoles--and therefore freer of perspiration odor and foot-fungus problems--is that they dissipate moisture away from the foot before the foot gets wet.
"Paper can't absorb moisture from feet until the moisture condenses into water--after feet get wet," O'Conor maintains.
Q: I've tried in vain to locate a camisole with underarm dress shields attached. I think Kleinert's makes them, but I am unable to find a department store that carries this item. Can you help?--M.K.H.
A: Kleinert's makes several items that might be considered camisoles with attached shields. You can order directly from them by writing to Kleinert's Inc. of Alabama, 2251 Old Curtis Rd., Elba, Ala. 36323.
Q: A number of years ago I purchased an item called a pants liner. It is made of nylon tricot (slip material) and is constructed like a pair of pull-on slacks. It acts as a liner under slacks made of thin fabrics or light colors--hence the name. And it is a wonderful liner for all-wool slacks, which sometimes cause skin irritations. I have been to many large department stores where they were originally available, but with no success. The sales people say it is not made now. I sew, but I've got a busy schedule so I'd prefer to purchase this item ready-made. Can you help?--D.G.
A: Your pants liner is available; see Page 232 of the current Sears catalogue. It's available in a satiny Antron III nylon fabric, and it's styled with clip-it hems that may be shortened two or four inches without sewing. It reaches to the ankles of the model who wears it in the catalogue. You can order it in beige or white, hip sizes regular (33-35), medium (36-38), large (39-41), XL (42-44) and 2XL (45-48) for $8 or $9, depending on size.