Q: My husband and I have entered the cross-country Great American Race with our 1914 Model T Speedster. The race starts in Los Angeles and ends in New York City. We will need cool racing outfits typical of 1914. I am 5 foot 9 and wear size 16, and my husband is 6 foot 3. I am a very good seamstress and could make our outfits. Do you know of any patterns?--M.L.B. A: The authentic Model T duster coats illustrated here should be ideal for your travels. Although the originals were made in a tightly woven linen called "duck goods," you will be better protected from the elements if you weatherproof your linen fabric with Scotchgard. The woman's duster is Folkwear's Style 230 and sells for $7 plus $2 postage. The people at Folkwear say that the coat is close-fitting and runs rather narrow. It is available in sizes 8 to 16, so you may have to adjust the pattern to accommodate whatever you wear underneath. If the patterns are not available in your local fabric store, you can order directly from Folkwear, P.O. Box 3798, San Rafael, Calif. 94912. We show your duster with an authentic chiffon-wrapped hat, but alas, we could not find the hat. The gentleman's car duster is Style 200 from Past Patterns, 2017 Eastern S.E., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49507. Past Patterns cautions that this pattern has no step-by-step illustrations and suggests testing the pattern in a muslin first to make sure that the coat is roomy enough to wear over clothing. This duster pattern from about 1910 is priced at $10, postpaid, and comes in chest sizes 34 to 40. Behind the large pockets are overlapping slits that allow handy access to trouser pockets underneath. The double-breasted front closing also is overlapped, and the cuffless sleeves are longer than those used in today's patterns.
Q: Some time ago, in reply to a man who was allergic to the fabric in his pants, you said:"Women have borrowed from men for years;why can't men borrow from women?" You went on to suggest that he wear ladies pant liners. At the same time I was looking for underwear that would not get stretched out of shape in the wash. I found men's briefs made of nylon and spandex, but they were available only as a bikini, a style that is simply not comfortable on me. In examining them, I noted that they were made almost exactly like ladies' briefs. If they ever made men's full-size briefs of that fabric, I might buy some, but until then I am very happy with my ladies' panties. Is there something wrong with me for liking them?--T.T. A: No. You're just an enlightened shopper. And the briefs that you're wearing might also solve the problem of D.J., who is looking for Advocate's men's underwear with elasticized front panels for stomach control.
Q: Can you help me find a long, white, strapless slip to wear under a formal gown?--B.B. A: A formal slip that measures 50 inches from the strapless top to the lace-trimmed hem is available on Page 233 of the current Sears catalogue. It's available in white and champagne for $16, in bra sizes 32, 34, 36 and 38. The strapless bodice is made of nylon and Lycra spandex so it will stay in place. Formal-length full slips and half slips are also available at Sears.