Q: For several years I've been desperately seeking a plain black wool or wool knit dress with a round or boat neckline. The dress must be loose-fitting. I wear a size 14. Can you help?--J.L.
A: Not one catalogue, not one store, not one designer contacted offered such a dress. A basic black dress, it would seem, is not exactly basic in today's fashion market. All is not lost, however. If you sew or can find someone to sew for you, Simplicity pattern 7038 is exactly what you're looking for. The dress, illustrated here, meets all your requirements, and it has a detachable cowl collar to wear when you tire of the high jewel neck.
Q: What soap or detergent do you recommend for use on cotton sweaters? Must they be dried flat , or can they be dried in the machine?--C.S.
A: You might try Softball Cot'n Wash, a new mild detergent formulated for cotton sweaters. Use it with warm water, on delicate cycle, and tumble dry. According to the manufacturer, flat drying can take as long as 24 hours for some of the new bulky pullovers, and because cotton absorbs water so easily the time required for drying can cause yellowing or bleeding of color. That's why machine drying is recommended.