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August 11, 1985|MARYLOU LUTHER

Q: Shortening a dress or a skirt is bad enough, but it's awful to have to hem a nightgown. As a 5-foot-1 petite, where can I go to find long nightgowns in size 4? I know that slips are made with so-called "clip-it hems" that can be shortened two to four inches without sewing, but can I find a nightgown made with that feature?--T.A. A: You don't need a clip-it; you need a nightgown styled for petites. The lace-appliqued gown illustrated here is a petite by Vanity Fair. Its hem--and the hems of all gowns in the collection--is 3 1/2 inches shorter than gowns made in misses' sizes. In addition, the pajama has a shorter rise, the pockets and armholes in the loungewear are raised, and the lapels are narrowed--all to accommodate petite proportions. The gown in our sketch comes in wine, red, blue and peacock--in sizes extra-small through large--for about $25. For retail outlets, write to Vanity Fair Mills, Publicity Department, 640 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10019.

Q: Can you print the addresses of the major pattern firms so that I can get discontinued patterns?--A.M. A: First, be warned that if the pattern you seek has been discontinued for more than one year, McCall's, Vogue and Butterick cannot help you. And if it has been out of the catalogue for more than two years, Simplicity cannot help. Meg Carter at McCall's says that each discontinued pattern (which they keep for only a year) costs $1.25 for postage and handling. But do not send money; only state the pattern number and size you want. If it is available, McCall's will notify you. Write McCall Pattern Co., Consumer Service, 230 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10169. With Vogue and Butterick, state which pattern number and size you want and send a check for the proper amount plus 50 cents for postage and handling. If you don't know the price of the pattern, give them the pattern number and size; if they have it in stock, they will send it, along with a bill. Write to Vogue / Butterick (the companies are jointly owned), Consumer Services, 161 Sixth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10013. The people at Simplicity, where they maintain patterns for about two years, suggest that you call (800) 223-1664 (toll-free) to determine whether the pattern is available. Or write to Simplicity Pattern Co., Subscription Department, 901 Wayne St., Niles, Mich. 49121. They will not ship the pattern until they receive a check or money order, plus 50 cents for postage and handling.

Q: Where can I find large-size, 100%-wool panty hose in dark colors such as black, gray or brown? They must fit size - 42 hips.--S.J. A: All wool panty hose are available in your size at Fogal Leg Fashions, 680 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10021. These are heavyweight panty hose with a heavyweight price tag: $58. They come in sizes small, medium, large and extra-large. The latter size is for women up to 5 foot 10 in height and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. Colors include navy, black, charcoal gray, burgundy, dark green, off white, medium pink, light blue, yellow, lavender, pale gray, camel, red, orange and bright blue.

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