Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lovely Hooverettes

A rare sighting of the elusive Hooverette! I find these utilitarian garments infinitely more compelling than formal wear from the same decades. These particular Hooverettes are especially fine--look at the color-blocking, which gives the long, lean illusion, the curved corner of the wrap front, and the very Deco patterning done in (presumably) embroidery. Lucky ladies!

Vintage Clothing 1880-1980 elaborates:

"These are 'Hoover dresses' of 1931. Linen and gingham, sleeveless, easy to slip on tying behind with long belt in a bow knot. They could also be worn over more formal wear if necessary to dash into the kitchen. They were usually one size, considered a 'house dress' or overall apron."

Oh, and if anyone has this pattern lying around in the attic, you might let me know!


Anonymous said...

But you could make your own pattern for this dress very simply! Just use your Verity Hope Dress pattern and then 'tweak' it to match this dress! You are artistic and creative enough, so I am sure that you would have no problem at all.

Jodes said...

Oh my, Anna that is gorgeous! If you ever come across that pattern or something similar I can't wait to see the result!!!

Jo said...

But their hair is the really extraordinary feature. How did those 30's gals get that crimped look at the front of those elegant rolled hairdos?

fawndear said...

Love lurking at your blog and seeing vintage patterns. I guess it would be polite to comment every now and then.

I agree with Doogie and think you could easliy make your own pattern.

Amanda said...

I don't have the pattern, but one Hooverette pattern is Simplicity 1682. It originally sold for 15 cents -- WOW! I saw it here:

Blue Castle said...

Those are beautiful!

Eugenie Mary said...

I am new to your blog. My daughter shared it with me. I enjoy looking every day at your new entries. I get inspired every time and it adds some wonderful activity to my day. I too was a homeschool mom of 5 (the youngest is now 17). Now I'm a grandma of 5, and loving it! God bless you and your family :)

annamae said...

wow, I've never seen those before but they sure are cute! I would love to wear something like that! :)

Margo said...

I too want to know how they crimped their hair! I think my grandma did something obscure with her comb and bobby pins right after she washed her hair.
And thanks for the education, Anna. I hadn't seen or heard of a Hooverette before. It's lovely! What's the name from??

Sally said...

I have had this floating around in my head all day and have even tried to find you a pattern, which I thought I could because I can usually find a needle in a haystack, but I haven't found this.

I have never heard of a Hooverette (I would have thought small vacuum :)), but looking at it, I'm seeing a robe pattern cut off at hip-length, made without sleeves, maybe one size smaller so not so roomy, adjusting the armholes for sleeveless, adding a facing, then making a pleat down the right front, similar to the vintage apron patterns, to stitch in the right tie, with the right tie on the wrap edge, and then adding a long straight skirt (easily adapted from a pattern) to the bottom edge to make it a dress.

I've been trying to think outside the box lately with my sewing, and with a roll of medical exam table paper, a couple of patterns in your stash, I bet you could make something just like the picture, especially since you have your dressform to work with.

If I lived closer, I'd even come over and help you do it! I don't think you would need any help, but it would still be fun! :)


Lisateresa said...

Ladies - I've seen pictures of wave clips so I went looking, and here's what I came up with Go about a third of the way down the page and you'll see them.
I don't know for certain if these clips existed in the '30s, but they make that waved look which you're talking about.

Margo said...

lisateresa, what a hoot! thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

The crimped hairstyle everyone is curious about is called "finger waves". There are a lot of webpages out there showing how to do them with modern hairstyling products - just do a Google search on "finger waves".

My grandmother, a hairdresser by trade, used to do this to my hair anytime I would let her wash it when I was a little kid. That was during the 1960's, when long and straight hair was the thing. My hair is impossible to put a set or style on, so it didn't last long, but oh, did I ever get ribbed about my finger waves at school!

fourkid said...

Wow - I just noted this dress about 2 days ago in a movie I was watching on DVD - My Man Godfrey (hilarious btw - a must see with William Powell and Carol Lombard)The maid put on this very garment as an apron. The outside flap has a tie that goes around back - while the inside flap has a tie that comes out a button hole in the side and then wraps to the back. As she was putting on the apron, I was fascinated with watching her thread the tie through the hole. I had never seen an apron like that - and now here it is on your blog!

fourkid said...

Oh wait - now I am thinking it was National Velvet that I saw the apron - we just saw that DVD this weekend too. I will now not be happy until I find which movie the apron was actually in! I shall be "forced" to watch them again to find the Hooverette apron - LOL.

Carole said...

I found this book when I did a search for Hooverette dress on Google Books: Women's Wear of the 1930's: With Complete Patterns
By Ruth S. Countryman, Elizabeth Weiss Hopper
Published by Players Press, 2001
ISBN 0887346758, 9780887346750
It's $57.00 on, but you could try ordering it through interlibrary loan.

I also found a picture of a 1936 Sears ad that shows a reversible Hooverette here:,sears-dresses-mother,1384826.html

Good luck with your search for a pattern!

Lisateresa said...

Patti - "My Man Godfrey" is my Favorite Movie! But I never paid much attention to what the maid was wearing. I can see I'll have to get it out of my closet and watch it again. Molly is her name, isn't it? That film is always good for a laugh.

Sweetproserpina said...

Anna, I was just browsing over at lanetzliving and found a similar pattern to the picture you posted! Take a look:

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