Question: I want to make an evening-length velvet skirt for the winter holidays and am hoping you can describe the velvets available in Southern California. I would appreciate learning the pros and cons of the fabric's wearability, not just the cost distinctions. --R.B.
Answer: Murray Pepper of Home Silk Shop, who recently conducted a seminar on the subject, reports that velvet is a cut-pile fabric, originally made of silk and now also made of synthetics that look like silk. Silk velvet is the most perishable of all velvets, he says, but it has the best sheen.
Velveteen is more durable than velvet, but it lacks the sheen and luster of velvet. Pepper says it usually is made of cotton or a synthetic that looks like cotton.
The first velvets were made in France, he continues, but they now come from other countries as well. Right now the Home Silk Shop at 330 S. La Cienega Blvd. stocks a 100% rayon velvet in a chiffon weight. It comes in 10 to 12 colors and is used mainly for trims. It's $10 a yard in 39-inch widths.
There is also a Lyon-type velvet (Lyon for Lyon, France, where velvets have long been a tradition) with more body. It too is made of rayon, and it comes in 10 to 12 colors at $12.75 a yard (39-inch widths).
For body and durability, Pepper recommends a cotton-back velvet with a rayon face. This fabric, at $12.75 a yard (39-inch widths), is washable. It comes in 10-12 colors and Pepper says it's ideal for suits. The shop's French velvet made of silk and rayon, at $29.75 a yard (39-inch widths), is available only in black.
The most luxurious velvet in the store is imported from Germany. Pepper says it has a beautiful luster and yet it also is durable. At $39.75 a yard (36-inch widths), it is available in black, but can be special-ordered in colors.
At this moment in fashion, panne velvets and crushed velvets are preferred to plain velvets. The panne velvet at Home Silk is $12.75 a yard (39-inch widths) and is made of 100% rayon. It comes in black and three colors. The crushed velvet in black and three colors is $14.75 (39-inch widths).
The skirt illustrated here, Simplicity Pattern 7096, will look good in whatever velvet you choose.
Q: I find wraparound robes too uncomfortable. They never stay in place. My favorite robes are the fabulous old button-down-the-front chenille versions that once were ubiquitous and now seem extinct. Can you find one anywhere? --P.P.O.
A: Check Page 172 of the current Sears catalogue. The button-front chenille robe you would like to wake up to is illustrated in two lengths--ankle and knee. Both lengths are available in blue and rose. The shorter length is $28 in Sizes small, medium and large and $31 in extra large, extra extra large and extra, extra extra large. The machine-washable fabric is polyester and cotton and is "cotton-tufted to a skin-pampering cotton backing."
Q: Because of an illness, I've lost a lot of weight, and my bust size is down to 32AA. Alas, I cannot find a bra to fit. Yes, I know I could try the so-called trainer bras in the teen department, but they look so--well, teen . I'm in my late 20s and prefer sophisticated styling. Do you know where I can get a custom-fit bra?--T.T.
A: Sally Ann's, 9709 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90210, offers a custom-fitting service for both bras and girdles. Bra sizes range from 32AA to 44FF, and selections include fashion, surgical and nursing bras.