HSM: War and Peace

With a theme like War and Peace it wasn’t hard to decide exactly what I wanted to make for this month’s Historical Sew Monthly Challenge…especially since it tied in perfectly with this month’s theme.  Enter my 1940’s House Dress.  Very simple, very sweet, and very satisfying.   After last month’s ordeal, I was very happy to find something less stressful.  For the past four weeks, I can’t stop my obsession with house dresses.  Any kind, from any era, I am head over heels in love.  While it did take me a while to settle myself on a style and look, I wasted no time in picking out the most cheery calico I could find!  Add this dress with my 1940’s Hair Turban and the look is complete!

I drafted this pattern out of two pieces then cut out the neckline facing and the lined sleeves.  The belt was made from the left over scraps.  I also added a little rick rack to the neckline and the edge of the pockets…that’s right, it has pockets!  While the first few stages remind me of a hospital gown, the outcome is just as simple and clean as I was hoping!

Challenge: War and Peace

Fabric: 3 yards of calico

Pattern: Self-drafted based off of other house dress of the time….although I did create a slimmer skirt.

Year: Mid 1940’s

Notions: 1 1/2 yard rickrack

How Historically Accurate is it?: Although the skirt could be made fuller, the overall look is very accurate.

Hours to Complete: 3 hours

Total Cost: $15

And now for the pictures….




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On My Inspiration Board: The House Dress

As a little girl, I remember the house rule was as soon as you get home from school or church -change into your play clothes.  These clothes usually consisted of older stained and faded t-shirts, shorts or pants that may have a few patches and of course, hair back into a ponytail.  However I would never – well, my mom would never let me – wear these clothes in public, as they were for a specific, at home purpose.

Work or play clothes did the job of mentally allowing a person to complete the task at hand with gusto and energy, with little fear of getting dirty.  Today, these home clothes, at least for me, must be comfortable in feel and cute by design.  Here are a few of my personal faves from Target:


Take a look back and one sees a changing style of house dresses as social demands and social classes adjust.  While there may be more styles and examples out there, for my purpose, I focused on those consistent with the middle class.

1700-1900 shows some dresses that are simply toned down versions of day wear to others that are a complete different styles than those worn on the street.

april house dress

Fast forward to post turn of the century and the idea of women having specific clothing for work around the house continues, yet reflects the ideas of early 1800’s, that the look should still be stylish.  However, if one focuses on 1920’s and onwards, a fun change is noticed.  While there continues to be separate clothing for these activities, the styles are more vibrant and feminine.  By 1950, many women have the option to choose the house robe versus a dress, yet its flare and look still are beautifully apparent.

april house dress 2

Whether you are a one outfit a day person, or dress to fit the job, you are in great company!

 ~ Aimee