Answer Angel

A cap and gown tutorial for graduates

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  (Illustration for the Tribune by Elaine Melko / May 6, 2011)

Dear Marla: My wings are fluttered by your flattery. You bet I can help. Kleinert's, which proclaims itself "The World's Authority on Sweat Protection", offers a daunting selection. Order online at or call 1-800-498-7051.

Dear Answer Angel: Among the perils of hot weather (which are few, as far as I'm concerned!) is sweating. Anyhow, maybe some "don't sweat it" rules of order? How to protect fabric after the fact, etc.

— Renee

Dear Renee: Some sweat stains are just not worth working on. I'm talking about dingy not-white-any-more t-shirts with gross yellow pits. Pitch 'em. But for more valuable garments, if the color of the fabric has changed, the American Cleaning Institute ( recommends rubbing fresh stains with ammonia (or white vinegar on old stains), then rinse. For new stains that haven't discolored clothes, try pre-wash stain remover or rub with bar soap. Then, in all cases, wash in hottest water safe for the fabric. For stubborn stains, try washing in a product with enzymes or oxygen bleach.

Dear Answer Angel: I have been thinking that someone who could make me custom jeans would solve my jean-fitting problem. My problem is that I am short and petite, but thicker through the waist. I actually buy jeans in the junior and children's department — and I am a grandmother! Local seamstresses don't want to make jeans as the fabric is too thick for their machines. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for any ideas.

— Jeannie

Dear Jeannie: Is there a woman on earth who has found jeans that are a perfect fit? Doubt it! I have two recommendations, neither perfect. Buy the best possible fit you can (probably after shopping for days, weeks, months and trying on hundreds). Then, take them to a local tailor/seamstress (at your dry cleaner perhaps?) and have them altered. More and more can sew thick denim on their machines.

The other alternative is to have them custom made. My friend Pam ordered jeans from India-based and it took three orders, much measuring to account for shrinkage after washing plus calculations worthy of an engineering major. But, she finally got the fit she wanted. Read the return policy carefully before ordering. An Internet search turns up other online custom jeans sites too.

Dear Answer Angel: Where can I find a gizmo that hangs in my shower (to hold my bath and hair stuff) that won't get rusty? All the ones I've bought are made of some kind of wire covered with white plastic that quickly turns rusty and cruddy.

— Margaret

Dear Margaret: What you're looking for is an acrylic shower caddy. I've seen them at Menard's and found them online at such places as, 1-800-210-7712, where the one I found was $21.97.

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