Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Spotlight: 30s & 40s Wrap Dresses


I have made a 1930s inspired wrap dress before, but as I found myself sewing another dress from the same pattern again this weekend, I thought today I'd show you all some of the vintage images that inspired my wrap dress pattern. It seems most 30s wrap dresses are meant to be house dresses, worn to look presentable at home but not really intended for wear outside the house other than perhaps a quick run to the grocery store. The popular name for these casual dresses was Hooverette, meant to keep a woman looking cute even while she was cleaning or cooking dinner. Since the 30s wrap dresses (and women) have luckily come a long way and are very common for any occasion now a days. I am more interested in actually day or evening dresses in the same style, but I still admire the more humble house dresses as they are certainly chic enough to wear out and about town now in 2016!





The patterns below seem less obviously labeled as "house" dresses and I'd like to assume they are wrap dresses for actual "dress" wear. The numbered 7417 dress below is very similar to my self drafted wrap dress pattern! (Though the lady in the solid dress does seem to be trimming a succulent or something, is this still housework?)






The difference between the house dresses and actual day-wear seems mostly to be in the fabric choice and addition of ruffles. The day-dresses seem to be made of silk instead of cotton. I have found 1 extant example of a 1930s wrap dress (on sale now at Adored Vintage) which is the dress pictured below.


My colorful dotted 30's wrap dress (see it here) has the look and drape of silk, though it is a nice polyester crepe, and therefore I feel fits the day-wear as opposed to house dress criteria. The new dress I'm working on is in a medium weight linen rayon blend and with the solid color (red) and lack of ruffles I fear it leans more casual in style than I'd like. To wear it feels more formal somehow to me, perhaps because of the solid color and nice weight of the dress, but we'll see what you all think of it soon ;)

The wrap dress continued as a "house" dress/house coat style into the 40s, though it seems easier to find day-wear versions of the wrap dress in the 40s.





As wrap dresses are so easy to wear I'd love to make a more 40s version next. The style is easy to make, and requires no zipper (yippee!), so I expect I'll make a 40's one soon. Perhaps in a nice wool with a good drape for fall! How do you feel about vintage wrap dresses? Are they too casual? Let me know in the comments :)


8 comments:

  1. I'd also put a vote for 20s wrap dresses. Again, housecoats more than not, and hilariously not-really-flattering, but oooooh so comfy! I actually used one of my 20s housecoats for its given purpose today! And it was very handy to be able to just strip off the wrap dress and toss in the hamper rather than being covered in cleaning supplies (or horror of horrors -- having to pull such a dirty gown over my head!).

    But I love the 30s ones too. So cute!

    Tegan

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    1. Comfy is always good! I myself am currently searching for some vintage kimono style wraps for lounging at home, what could be more glamorous!

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  2. I like wrap dresses, but ones that open in the back like Swirls don't really work for me as they tend to blow open. I never have that problem with front-opening ones.

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    1. I haven't had a swirl in a while but the one I made opened in the front, I fear those back opening ones for that very reason!

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  3. A zillion yeses to vintage wrap dresses. The older I get, the more I adore them (especially since they tend to look equally awesome on younger, middle aged and older ladies alike). I don't have to many (yet?), but those that I do own, get tons of wear. My very favourite - which might just win out as the most comfortable dress I've ever owned - is 1970s does (staggeringly realistic) 1940s solid purple number. I've worn it for holidays, date nights, travelling, parties, you name it, and wish I could clone it in fifty other hues. :)

    Thanks for the fabulous fashion post, sweet dear.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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    1. I need to add a few modern soft jersey ones to my everyday work wardrobe, as the only wraps I have currently are nice 30's ones too pretty for work! Wraps really are so versatile and great to have in one's closet :)

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  4. I like a wrap dress a lot although I don't currently have any in my wardrobe. All these examples are gorgeous, I look forward to seeing your version.

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