Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My 1930's House Dress!

So let's conclude these 1930's dress posts, shall we? 😄 This project seems to have gone on forever, though in reality it was only about a month.

For my dress I wanted a wrap front dress really bad, but as usual I did not have enough fabric to make one. I still wanted an easy-on, easy-off style that was relatively unfitted so when I came across the image of this pattern, I was inspired to make my own version of this pull-over dress.

The dress is lightly fitted through the torso and flares out into a gentle A-line shape at the hem. The sleeves are plain and fitted and there are darts on either side of the front neckline, from the shoulder to the upper chest. I decided to do a V neckline with a collar, as per the pattern image. It seemed easy enough to make, but I didn't feel like draping a pattern. I wanted a fitted-but-only-slightly pattern for a front and back bodice to use for a starting point. So, I used my copy of the Scroop Otari Hoodie and traced around the front and back bodice pieces, adding a little width to the torso and flaring out the side seams into a mid-calf length hem. I narrowed the width of the back shoulder and darted the front shoulders to fit. It worked perfectly and the fit is just right for a house dress. I also used the sleeve pattern from the Otari Hoodie, shortened, to make the sleeves.

I had just under 2 yards of a cream, pink and blue floral cotton for the dress. There was almost nothing left after cutting out very short sleeves and the front and back dress, so I pulled a length of pink striped cotton/linen off the shelf and used that for cuffs to extend the length of the sleeves and for a big pointy collar. I made a strip of it into a belt that closes with hooks and eyes. The dress can be worn without a belt, too - but I prefer the look with a belt. From my last scraps I cut two little patch pockets, edged with a fold down triangle of the pink.

This was nearly all machine sewn with the hem being done by hand. I also finished the facing around the inside of the collar by hand. The seams are french seamed for tidiness and the whole thing is quite sturdy now that it is done. It's definitely not a flattering garment,  by any stretch of the imagination, but it is comfortable and pretty and I  have received so many lovely compliments on it, mostly about how seeing it brings to mind moms and grandmas and great-grandmas and how they wore similar dresses around the house in years gone by. That makes this garment a successful one! 😄

With all the layers on I feel very proper and clothed. It is certainly different than what I normally wear and I'm so glad I made this outfit.

My hair was the hardest part to figure out. In the end I brushed my hair for the first time in about a year to make it mostly straight (I normally just finger comb or use a wide tooth comb in the shower), and twisted it and pinned it behind my head along with the hair braid I use for 1860's events to give the appearance of a bob from the front. It's a vastly different look than my usual but somehow suits the dress!

After making this, I decided I really want to make a more dressy 1930s gown. There is a late 20's dress in my book that could work for an early 30's "better" dress. I want dark blue rayon with yellow trim! But that is still a someday project.



  1. It looks like a mothers dress to me comfortable, nice, practical, but not flamboyant or super cute. I hope I look like that when I get older, the pockets are the best as you might be able to tell from my blog https://wevegotpockets.wordpress.com/

  2. The dress is perfect! I like the gentle styles of the 30s.

    Those shoes, tho! Are they modern or a reproduction style?

  3. It looks great and oh so comfortable!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!