Q: Can you please help me find clothing patterns from the 1940s? I have several dresses that belonged to my grandmother, and the style and fit are perfect for me. Does McCall's or Simplicity offer old patterns for sale? If so, is there an address to write for a catalogue?--D.R.W. A: Carole Landis or Gail Patrick might have worn the two-piece dress illustrated here during its original '40s incarnation, and it may well have inspired Paris designer Yves Saint Laurent, who frequently reincarnates the look. You can get the pattern, No. 4073, for $12, plus $1.73 postage, by writing to Past Patterns, 2017 Eastern S.E., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49507. If you would like to see all the company's Brown Paper Copies patterns from the '40s, send $4.25 for the catalogue.
Q: Because of a skin problem, I cannot wear sweaters made of anything other than cotton. I can find plenty of cotton pullovers in the stores, but no cardigans. Can you help? I wear size 40.--H.S. A: Men's and women's classic cotton cardigans are available in the current catalogue published by James River Traders, James River Landing, Hampton, Va. 23631. These are heavier-weight knits with ribbed waists and cuffs and two front pockets. The women's cardigan (in sizes small, medium and large) as well as the men's version (sizes small through extra-large) is priced at $55 each--in blue, gray, white, red or yellow.
Q: I am getting married this summer and want to make my own wedding dress. Not one of the wedding-dress patterns by Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue or McCall's is exactly what I want. Is there some kind of wedding dress catalogue that I can order from? I am looking for a square-necked, V-shaped bodice style with leg-o-mutton sleeves.--L.R. A: Past Patterns (address given above) offers some patterns for wedding gowns. You might also want to contact a firm called Bridal Elegance, 1176 Northport Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43220. That company offers patterns for bodices, sleeves and skirts that you can put together any way you want to. For example, one pattern, No. 1837, is for leg-o-mutton sleeve variations. Pattern No. 1886 is for mitts, and No. 1176 is for jacket, capelet and spaghetti-strap bodice adaptations.
Q: One of my feet is a full size larger than the other. A friend says that you had written some information addressing that problem and suggested a place called the Odd Shoe Exchange. Can you please print the address again?--A.B. A: It's the National Odd Shoe Exchange, 604 N. Jefferson, Indianola, Iowa 50125. It was founded in 1943 and is a service to help those whose feet are not the same size. The exchange brings together people with similar shoe problems and helps them exchange shoes with those of opposite shoe sizes. The initial fee to join is $32.50 for adults, $22.50 for children and senior citizens.