Q: Where can I find a pattern for pants with those elastic straps that slip over the instep? I want to make some tights with that type of attachment.--A.T. A: Those straps that slip over the instep are called stirrups, and they're providing the tautest trouser look since ski pants left the slopes for the streets in the '60s. Stretch & Sew Pattern 318 features the stirruped dance tights illustrated here. Suggested fabrics are knits with 75% lengthwise and crosswise stretch. That means they must have spandex content. Caution: When patterns say "for stretch knits only," they mean for stretch knits only. The patterns drafted for knits are entirely different from those drafted for woven fabrics, and if you substitute fabrics you are in for a disaster. Stretch & Sew also has a pattern (No. 719) for a pull-on pant with stirrups. The company's president, Ann Person, recommends that it be made in a cotton interlock.
Q: I don't consider myself overweight, yet I can't find panty hose that fit at the waistline. They all force my stomach to pooch out above and below. Can you recommend a brand of panty hose without those constricting waistlines?--E.P. A: You can make do with your existing panty hose if you follow the advice printed in Jane Shaner's Silver Thimble, a monthly newsletter for those who sew. Simply clip the elasticized waist in four to six places around the top. Stop about a quarter of an inch from the bottom of the elastic. The slits will not get longer and will not cause runs in the hose.