Q: I have a vintage Sonia Rykiel sweater-jacket that's now about two sizes too big for me, thanks to a recent weight loss. I know that oversized clothes are in fashion, but I don't know how to combine my sweater with other items for a total look that's believably 1985.--A.H. A: Wear your sweater over a blazer, as illustrated here. This is not only the latest idea in layering but it's also the 1985 way to mix your fashion media by combining knits with wovens.
Q: How can I keep dark blouses and other tops from showing through white skirts and pants? Surely, somewhere, there is a "hip slip" thick enough to put on over the tails of tops to keep them from showing through. I can tuck blouses in underpants and panty hose and half slips, but you can imagine how cumbersome that feels--especially sitting at a desk for eight hours.--R.D.B. A: Solve your problem by wearing your dark tops over light bottoms, the way they wear aloha shirts in Hawaii. Or save your dark tops for dark bottoms. White skirts and pants generally look best with white or pastel tops. It would be time-consuming, but if you're really determined to wear dark tops with white bottoms, you can avoid the see-through by cutting off all your dark tops just below the waistline and replacing that fabric with white cotton broadcloth.
Q: I've taken classes to help me operate my new "overlock" sewing machine, but I still need more help. Are there any instruction books available? My dealer didn't know of any.--S.W. A: The first book published on sewing with serger machines is called "Serge and Sew," published by Stretch & Sew Inc., 3895 East 19th St., P.O. Box 185, Eugene, Ore. 97440. It was followed by "Serge-a-Quilt," published by the same company. Stretch & Sew president Ann Person is scheduled to discuss serging on a 20-minute live TV segment Nov. 2 as part of the American Home Sewing Assn.'s "Sewing by Satellite" video presentation. The five-hour TV conference will bring together 6,000 people to watch, share and discuss--via two-way interaction--the latest developments in the sewing industry. In addition, "The Successful Serging Handbook" by Leonora Johnson and Sharon Hirscher has recently been published. If that book is not available at your local fabric shop, you can order it from Imports by Clotilde, 237 Southwest 28th St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33315.
Q: Can you recommend a long evening-dress style appropriate for someone who wears a size 24? I am 5-foot-6, age 40, and must attend a formal function in late September. If you can find a pattern, I can make it, since I'm an experienced sewer.--K.F. A: Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, is now working with Butterick Patterns and designer Claudia Cooper in developing new styles for large-size women. Her Pattern 3328 is a no-waistline dress that drapes softly over the body from the left shoulder. Fabric suggestions include georgette, matte jersey, crepe de Chine, charmeuse and challis.
Q: Do you have any ideas for keeping shoulder-strap handbags from slipping off shoulders? This has been a constant annoyance to me for the longest time.--E.M. A: Yes. The simplest way is to attach a strip of Velcro to the underside of your shoulder strap. A small piece at the center of the strap will solve your problem.
Q: Is it proper to wear white to a wedding?--J.K. A: Not unless you're the bride. The idea is to not draw attention away from the bride and groom. By the same reasoning, black is also frowned upon. It is considered entirely appropriate, however, for you to wear a white suit with a colored blouse or a black dress with a red jacket. In other words, you're OK as long as your outfit is neither all white nor all black.