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June 02, 1985|MARYLOU LUTHER

Q: My daughter will be in a pageant this summer, and I'm trying to locate a pattern for a Southern belle gown--an off-the-shoulder style with full, ruffled skirt and lacing up the back. None of the major pattern catalogues offer such a style. Can you help?--N.C. A: The antebellum gown illustrated here is a combination of three authentic patterns from the 1860s, all from Past Patterns, 2017 Eastern S.E., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49507. The Scarlett O' Hara bodice is Style No. 704, available in sizes 10-20 for $8.10 plus $1.75 for postage. The ruffle-hemmed skirt, Style No. 700, comes in the same sizes at the same prices. Although it fastens in the back, it does not lace. (When Scarlett held onto the bedpost to be cinched into place, it was her corselet, not her gown, that was being laced.) Also, you can get a pattern for petticoat and pantaloons in Style No. 706 for $11.50, sizes 10 - 20.

Q: I'm a fairly well-proportioned size 14. What style pants would be most flattering for me? I'm 5 feet 6 inches, age 33.--M.K. A: You can wear any style of pants if your tops are right for your figure. Tunics and fingertip-length jackets will be more slenderizing with pants simply because they cover the derriere. They will be especially slenderizing if your pant legs taper to the ankles, providing the inverted triangle silhouette. Such pants are not always in style, of course, but they are right now. And they will be next fall because almost every major designer in Europe is now offering stirruped ski pants. This attenuated look is perhaps the most becoming pants silhouette of all time, because the under-arch strap pulls the fabric tautly from waist to foot, smoothing the behind rather than emphasizing it. Stirruped ski pants look especially well balanced with oversized sweaters, shoulder-padded tunics or big jackets.

Q: I love the fact that you mentioned the sew ing-with-leather tips I offered in my newsletter, but it's getting me in a pack of trouble. I'm receiving checks for $16.50 from people who think they are ordering 12 months of a newsletter about leather only. Will you please tell your readers I can send them copies of the two leather articles for $2.40? And please tell them I write about lots of things other than leather.--R.L.

A: Rosalie Lemontree, who edits a newsletter called The Fashion / Sewing Journal, 320 East 54th St., New York, N.Y. 10022, indeed writes on many subjects. Her April newsletter includes a source for covering buttons, Katherine Droemer, P.O. Box 2966, Covina 91722. Lemontree describes Droemer's work as "well worth the price." Droemer makes half-ball or two-piece buttons with raised or flat centers and a fabric or loop back. They range in price from 35 to 55 cents each. Each button takes a square of fabric three times the diameter of the button, according to Lemontree, and once your fabric has arrived, you will have the buttons in five to seven days.

Q: I will be giving a luncheon speech this summer at a design conference. What should I wear? I'm 41, 5 feet 7 inches, size 10. A suit sounds like such a cliche, but I'm not sure what kind of dress would be appropriate.--L.T.

A: Wear any style that becomes you as long as it's red. That color will capture the attention of the audience in the same way that it captures the attention of President Reagan at his news conference. It is a fact that the President is more likely to call on people who wear red than those who wear other colors. "It definitely works," says Los Angeles Times reporter Sara Fritz, who is also president of the White House Correspondents Assn. and who now owns a red outfit for every occasion.

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.

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