fredag 17 januari 2014

Challenge # 2: Innovation

Man hittar detta på svenska här.

In an earlier post I argued that this type of dress, the wrap style house dress, should be seen as an innovation in dress in the 1920s and '30s. Or rather: that it came about as an answer to a problem caused by a change in society, where middle class women had to do all or some of their housework due to a shortage of (female) domestic servants. This was a "problem" that had been widely debated since the late 1800s and many unsuccessful attempts hade been made to convince young women that instead of (usually) better paid factory jobs where your free time was your own to decide what to do woth you should work and live with a family as a maid. Women from the working and farming classes had of course always done their housework in the clothes they usually wore, but this type of dress was (partly) invented to give the middle class something both pretty and practical to wear while doing housework. And which would distingusih them from the work wear and uniforms worn by servants doing the same kind of work.
   In Swedish magazines they are presented as an American type or coat or apron and it was from the US that the innovation came. The then-not-yet-president Hoover was very active in promoting what was to be called, among other things, "the Hoover apron". Because this type of dress was easy to wash, an exception in an early when most clothes weren't easy washable, it was going to lead to better hygiene in the preparation of food.
   Hygiene is also something that is stressed in the Swedish usage of this type of dress - in this mail order catalogue from Oscar Ahrén 1941 it is mentioned that nurses are among those who need to wear this coat. it is also called a "protection coat" in Swedish, even the pretty floral ones.
Oscar Ahrén catalogue:

I've sewn lots of house dresses, but usually in a '40s or '50s style, but to get closer to the actual "innovation" I this time decided to choose a late '20s-early '30s model. I thought that it would look really horrible on me, but it turned out pretty good.

I have this far worn it in doing laundry, dusting book shelves and slouching in the couch, among other things.

The main inspiration was this dress (c.1930), as you can see from the flounces, the scalloped edge and the bias binding.

I also looked at this one for the construction, since it shows the inside. I made only one bust dart to the side, but later added one that goes up into the armscye, because it fit better that way.

I don't know when swiss embroidery edging was first used, but it was too pretty to stay away from. And I didn't have to hem flounces. Luckily I hade bias tape on a 25 metre roll in exactly the right shade from when a fabric store closed and it was really cheap - you never know when you are going to need such things.

So, to sum it up:

The Challenge: # 2 Innovation
Fabric: Cotton 
Pattern: Self drafted
Year: ca 1930 
Notions: 4 metres of swiss embroidery edging in poly/cotton,  cotton bias tape, polyester thread
How historically accurate is it? As I wrote above I have my misgivings about the swiss embroidery edging and of course polyester is later, otherwise I think it's pretty accurate.
Hours to complete: Not many, maybe five.
First worn: Yesterday
Total cost: Fabric, c. 2 metres = 20 $, bias tape and swiss embroidery edging 10 $

10 kommentarer:

  1. It is wonderful! I love reading the history...very interesting. I recently purchased a 30s house dress pattern to make for myself for some tasks. An apron or smock over existing layers can be hot and bulky.

  2. I think it turned out very cute!

  3. I love these Hooverette dresses! I fell in love with one over at the Festive Attyre blog, but your is lovely too :)

  4. Yes, Jen's hooverette is amazing - I fell in love with it too.

    Thank you everyone.

  5. You know, I thought Claire McCardell had come up with that kind of dress, but I see now that she had just refined it with her 40s "Popover" dress. I have a picture of a socialite (in the U.S) trying to look happy that she's supporting the war effort by cleaning her own house, when her "help" had gone to work in the factories. McCardell's version is very modernist and angular. Thanks for the historical background!

  6. I _love_ the popover dress.

  7. The history really is fascinating. Plus it's cute! I like the colours.
    (And I can relate to warm house - my school flat gets so hot in summer that I took to wearing my Regency chemise at home. I should make myself a wrap dress, too.)

  8. There's nothing like a linen chemise when it's hot. I plan to make a new medieval (interesting concept) linen shift for challenge # 4, because my old ones are getting worn out.

  9. Thanks for this post. Do you know of any current patterns that come close this? I would so love to sew one of these. Thanks!

  10. I have no idea. I tend to make all my own patterns. What I did was to take a bodice that fit over the shoulders and bust and then draw something like the pieces in the bottom picture. And make sure that it was wide enough over the hips. I had intended to keep the bust dart from the original pattern, but forgot, so I had to shorten the back piece a little so that it had the same length at the sides as the front piece after sewign the bust dart.
    I have now made a paper pattern from this dress, since I liked it so much and this time I remembered the bust dart :)