Saturday, 3 August 2013

House dressing

In the '50s, when women kept a well kept home whilst looking perfect, there was an obvious need for clothes that protected ones real clothes from damage.  Ladies couldn't hoover in ones knickers.  I would never do that lol, but only because Mr. CT does the hoovering (and I do the groceries).  So, to get around this, ladies had house dresses.  Nowadays, with our loose morals, they are great for wearing outside too.  In public no less!

McCalls 6617 from 1962 (as pictured above) is one such beauty.  How cute is the blonde lady?  I would be her in a heartbeat.  Pious fake Sophia less so.  But we have to give her some credit - she is wearing a dress made of brown domino's with aplomb after all.

This dress is described as:
"Back wrapped housedress with unpressed pleats in three-gored skirt.  Rounded neckline is pleated at front and purchased corded piping included in neck facing seam. Bodice is buttoned at back of neck.  Cap sleeve has opening at outer edge.  Tie belt, included in right bodice back facing seam, is  inserted through opening in bodice left side seam.  Belt is tied at center front; interfaced patch pockets on skirt front."    

Once upon a time, gender roles were more clearly and more uniformly defined.  That time was the 1950/60s.  Part of me (the dutiful, well brought up child of parents who used to have vol au vents at dinner parties and make me kiss all the attendees goodnight part) likes the idea of living in the '50s.  Everyone knows what they need to do and it's not confusing; therefore less stressful.  Part of me, the part that enjoys doing whatever I want, when I want, imagines that I would be a ball of rage if I lived in that environment.  Being pigeonholed would kind of rattle me.  Not to get too political on it (although this subject does interest me); but the '50s would have been at least a little rubbish for anyone that didn't fit the social norm.  And by norm, I think I mean, young, attractive WASPs.

But anyway, back to the sewing.  My version of this is worn on it's own, outside.  Egads!  It has no need for patch pockets.  They, to my mind, are silly. Nor does mine have corded piping, as I didn't have any to hand.  Mine is also a bit longer to fit with the current trend for midi-length skirts. I can re-hem it when the economy improves and shorter hemlines become fashionable again (a la the hemline index).

The fabric I used is a lightweight cotton (like poplin), with a big flowery/rhomboid print on it.  It's kind of crazy, but I like it.  I bought this at a fabric/sewing/crafting fair that I went to AGES ago with the lovely Debi of my happy sewing place (who quite frankly, seems to make any place happy).

The back wraps over itself, and so, for the sake of modesty, I had to sew up the back seam.  I wear a slip underneath it anyway, because that's how I roll.  I wear this dress one of two ways - per below, with red heels and red lips.  (btw - see that big rugby ball trophy to my left?  Mr CT won that for being "best tourist on tour" on a rugby trip to Dublin.  I envy blokes on two things: rugby tours and piddling abilities).


As well as wearing it like that, with red heels, I also wear it with a belt and pair of gladiator wedge sandal things.  These more "edgy" accessories really make it quite different, and take this pretty look to something more like "I am woman, hear me roar".  We're going on a date tonight (YUSS!), and I may just wear this outfit.

Which brings this pattern (and it's purpose) into the new age quite nicely I think.

The Good: Easily, quickly made.  Comfortable, elegant and nice to wear.

The Bad: The wrap doesn't overlap enough to be modest.  The sides need to either be extended or sewn together to avoid any embarrassment.

The Ugly:  Nothing really, former social mores excepting.

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