Friday, December 4, 2020

A Ruffley and Bright "Hooverette"

Ruffles are fun! Occasionally clown-like, or reminiscent of 1980s fashion perhaps, but oh my goodness are they fun to flounce around in!!

Honestly, this dress is a lot. A lot of color. A lot of ruffle. A lot of sleeve poof. A lot of things going on. But have I mentioned it’s also a lot of fun? A lot of fun!

A year or two ago I fell down the rabbit hole of 1930’s wrap dresses, in particular the house dress style called a “hooverette”. I hacked a simplicity pattern and made myself a hooverette inspired dress. 

Shortly there after I discovered that the Vintage Pattern Lending Library actually had a 1930’s hooverette pattern in their collection. I was severely tempted to get it. However, it was technically a size or two too small for me, so, as I’d already hacked another pattern to more or less get what I wanted, I decided against it at the time.

Then I saw an Instagram post from Dierdre, owner of the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, sharing pictures of the Hooverette she made from the pattern I'd been admiring. It was beautiful! So much fun! A dress I wanted to have!

I asked Deirdre a few questions about the sizing of the pattern. When made up, what size did it actually fit? The size charts aren't always accurate on vintage patterns.

She told me the dress fit her pretty well without alterations and shared her measurements with me. Her measurements were pretty close to my own, so I figured this pattern would probably work for me without too much trouble. It went on the long list of "Patterns I'd like to buy sometime".

Fast forward to this summer, and I helped Deirdre look over, decipher, and test an 1890's pattern she'll be adding to her catalog at some point in the future. As a thank-you, she offered to send me the hooverette pattern, knowing I'd been admiring it, and I happily accepted.

Proving what I already suspected, that Deirdre is incredibly sweet, my pattern arrived wrapped in one yard of an incredibly soft, pretty quilting cotton. After considering a few different options for this fabric, I decided that I just had to use it for the accents on my hooverette. Now to pick a main fabric from my stash to go with it!

I decided to make the ruffley version of the hooverette, which takes a surprising large amount of fabric, somewhat limiting my main fabric options. First, I intended to use an orange pin-dot fabric, but after I tore off all the strips I needed for the ruffles, there was not enough left for the main body of the dress, let alone the sleeves as well! So, that idea got scrapped, I turned the orange cotton into a very ruffley sundress instead, and continued scouring my stash for this project. 

After finding and rejecting a few more options because they either didn't look quite right with the accent fabric (which I'd already cut out by the way, so it was too late to change that), or they didn't have enough yardage, I finally found an incredibly busy, incredibly colorful, incredibly floral, quilting cotton in my stash. My mom and I picked up this fabric last fall to use as a table cloth for my sister-in-law's bridal shower. Having served that purpose well, it went into my fabric stash. Where it lurked. All four yards of it. Just waiting to see the light of day again and become an incredibly bright and busy something.

As this fabric happened to look pretty decent with my accent fabric, here is that something!

Honestly, 4 yards (+1 yard of accent material) was just barely enough fabric for this dress! That bottom ruffle is a little skimpier than I'd prefer. The top ruffle is 3 full widths of 44" fabric, which is perfect. That bottom ruffle should be 5 or 6 full widths of fabric for prime ruffliness, but I was only able to manage 4 widths from the fabric I had - and just barely that! One of the bottom ruffle strips is pieced in a couple places!

I could have saved a bit of fabric, and probably had enough for the full bottom ruffle, if I'd made my dress with flutter sleeves, as shown on the ruffley version on the pattern envelope, rather than the puffed sleeves I used, shown on the simpler version on the pattern envelope. 

I chose to do the puffed sleeves because, well, I have a weakness for puffed sleeves. I kind of regret that decision, not only because of the fabric shortage situation.

The large puffed sleeves are a bit much with the ruffle collar. I think the overall design would look much more balanced if I'd gone with the flutter sleeves instead.

I don't like tight elastic in sleeves, or tight sleeves in general, so I finished my sleeves with bands made from my accent fabric rather than elastic as the pattern recommended. I made these bands a bit too big, which didn't help my overall feelings on the suitability of the style.

That said, these elbow length puffed sleeves are actually supremely suitable to fall weather, giving just the right amount of arm coverage to keep one from being cold. Having worn this dress a couple times since I finished it two weeks ago, I'm actually very pleased with the dress overall, and no longer regret my sleeve choices like I did when I first tried the finished dress on and went "Woah! That's A Lot!"

The comfort of not being chilly on crisp fall days and the fun of all the ruffles outweighs my initial style hesitations.

I wore this dress to help make - and eat - Thanksgiving dinner with my family. It was an absolute delight to swirl about the kitchen in as I made pies - alllll the pies!

The more I wear this dress, the more I love it. It's an amazingly practical house dress, and a ton of fun!

I'm very pleased with the overall fit! I added a little extra room at the hips when I cut the dress out. I'm not sure if this was necessary, but I didn't want to risk the dress being too tight through the hips and falling open whenever I walked or sat down. I have one wrap dress with a straight skirt that does that and it's not fun! This one, however, has no such issue and stays securely wrapped no mater what I do!

The other alteration I made was to make my patch pockets a bit bigger than the pattern piece suggested. I like big pockets and I cannot lie.

Beyond that, I made zero fitting alterations. The pattern claims to be for a 34" bust, I have a 36" bust, and it fits very well.

No gaping or need to adjust what so ever! A very secure, easy to wear, wrap dress!

I will certainly be using this pattern again!

Perhaps with less ruffle or a more subdued fabric choice next time.

But I don't know about that. The over-the-top-ness of this dress has certainly grown on me!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Deirdre for giving me this pattern!!

*This pattern was a gift. I was not required to share about it in any way, shape, or form. All thoughts and opinions here are my own*

1 comment:

  1. Okay, on Instagram I thought this dress did look a bit 1980's, but now I see all the pics it gives me prairie vibes!! This would have been the dress of my little girl dreams, and one I think I would still like to wear! (Some parts of you just never grow up, right?)