HSM #5 – Practicality: The Homemaker Dress


My first plan for this month’s challenge was to make a Hooverette, the house dress so typical for the Thirties. But somehow I just didn’t get really exited at the thought – too feminine and frilly for me at the moment (although there already have been two very nice examples at the Historical Sew Fortnightly, by Jen and Leimomi). On the other hand I was quite jealous of the dress Erin did sew for the Blue challenge. So I settled on a Twenties’ house dress: a simple cut without much trim, made of sturdy cotton, and checked, as many house dresses in the Twenties were made of Gingham.


Since I am still trying to understand how Twenties’ dresses work and fit, my plan was to buy an original pattern and sew it just following the instructions. I took the Morning Frock from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, a reproduction pattern dated 1920, although it must be from the mid twenties originally. What I didn’t think of was, that going for my present (post-pregnancy) bust size the dress would be too big in every other respect. So I ended up altering it after my own mental image of how it should fit anyway. I still think it very wide in the back, although I shaped the blouse a little bit there.


The collar took me some time. First I made it in a light blue fabric, which made the whole dress look even more nurse-like und rather boring. The white fabric I finally used is part of an old bedsheet, so it’s pure cotton, too, and you don’t have to worry about hot ironing. Then I made several attempts to get the collar on symmetrically – not successfully. The ties are merciful though, they mostly cover this, although they strongly remind me of girls scouts’ neckties. And I am happy I bothered with making bound slashes.


All in all I like the dress, but the missing waist feels really strange, and although it’s marvelously comfortable I am not sure, if it will become a favourite. We’ll see.

The Challenge: Practicality

Fabric: Checked Cotton, remnants of a cotton bedsheet, remnants of something dark blue, feels like cotton, too.

Pattern: Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Z5302

Year: about 1924

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? Very, I think. I only took the back in a little, that might not be absolutely authentic.

Hours to complete: I just can’t keep track of the hours – my sewing time comes mostly in half hour snippets. However, I started on May 1 and did the last stitches today.

First worn: not yet

2 thoughts on “HSM #5 – Practicality: The Homemaker Dress

  1. Thank you for the kind words about Erin’s Navy dress. I love this especially the neck tie it is such a lovely detail. And I think the white for the collar and cuffs was a fantastic choice.



    1. Thank you! Although of course Erin’s dress is much more elegant than this. But, well, the goal was practicality this time.


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