Discovering House Dresses

Swelter-Free Fashion for Warm-Weather Days

Vintage House Dresses

House dresses have been around for generations. They are typically very practical dresses made of easy care fabrics. They are comfortable, no frill dresses intended for doing chores or quick errands.

When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s in Southern California, all the moms (including mine) wore house dresses…often called muumuus in this part of the country. So in my mind, I have always associated house dresses with older ladies and certainly not a cool thing to wear.

These days, I receive a few clothing catalogs in the mail that devote a page or two to house dresses. I quickly turn the page…NO muumuus for this lady!! Nope not interested in those frumpy dresses!! Those are for the older generation and even though I am now officially a member of the older generation, nope, not going to wear a muumuu!!


A couple of weeks ago, after taking my morning shower, I searched my closet for something casual and loose to pop on until it was time to get properly dressed. I pulled out my bathrobe and decided it was really too heavy for this time of year. My mind wandered to those house dresses in the catalog. Hmm, actually that might be kind of ideal for wearing when just out of the shower. Maybe I should reconsider…so I got out the catalog and ordered one.

Here’s the house dress I ordered from the Vermont Country Store catalog.

Now that the ordering was done, I had the anticipation of waiting for it to arrive. Every time I took a shower I thought of the house dress that I didn’t have yet. It was a long week before the package was delivered. When it finally arrived, I eagerly opened the box and pulled out my new house dress/muumuu.

The first thing I discovered was the quality of the cotton fabric. This dress was actually made really well, even with French seams! This dress will be able to take a ‘beating and keep on…’well, dresses don’t tick, but you get what I’m trying to say. This dress is made to last!! I held it up and decided it didn’t even look frumpy…well, not too much anyway. I pulled it over my head…and it fits perfectly, even the shoulder seams. And what a huge surprise….this dress is COMFY! There is nothing snug or binding…just all around comfort! So much more comfortable than jeans or leggings or shorts and a t-shirt. What a discovery! This dress is a keeper!

I decided to Google house dresses to see if anyone else has been enlightened to the comforts of house dresses. And sure enough, it seems that house dresses and muumuus made a comeback during the pandemic lockdown. Ladies looking for comfortable clothing that is also Zoom meeting appropriate, have turned to house dresses! Its a THING!! Who knew?? House dresses are back!!

I found these interesting blogs. They are much better at articulating about house dresses than I am, so I hope you will check them out.

Armed with this new appreciation of house dresses/muumuus, I’ve decided I want to get a couple more. Now where is that catalog?

Or better yet, maybe I should be SEWING some!


Hi there! Its been awhile!Avatar Hi

I’ve been in stitches lately!! No, not the kind a doctor performs on you when you have an injury. I mean the kind that go on fabric!

I’ve been embroidering some kitchen towels for friends who have recently (pre-covid!) moved to Arizona. Hand embroidery is a slow process. You have slow down, consider each and every stitch to make sure it is in the position and the length that you want. It is deliberate, not random. You get into a rhythm and it becomes calming. I tend to think alot when I’m embroidering. In this case, I spent a lot of time thinking about the friends I was stitching this for. And then I began to think about other stitching projects I have made as gifts over the years and was surprised that there were quite a few I could remember. Most (not all) were happily accepted by the recipients.


Embroidered gift for some friends

I thought a lot about my love of stitching. Stitching is actually a very broad term. In my definition, I would include: knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, cross stitch, hand sewing, hand quilting, and even machine sewing and quilting. If it involves needle and thread (or yarn), then to me its a type of ‘stitching’.  Over the years, I have dabbled in all of those types, some more successfully than others. And today my love for stitching continues as I seek new ways to use needle and thread.

I first learned to stitch by my Aunt when I was about 10 years old. My mother wasn’t much into any kind of sewing or stitchery, but my Aunt certainly was. She was especially good at sewing and made me many dresses. She taught me how to sew and how to knit and thus began my love of stitching. I’ve tried to instill this same love of sewing in my own nieces.

As I was thinking about the broader sense of stitching, I also reflected on how each day of life is stitched to the next, resulting in a cloth (or tapestry) of our lives. Remember the song “Tapestry” by Carole King?

Tapestry by Carole King


My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold



Along those lines, I came across a book called “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter. I just purchased it and am eager to get started reading!

Amazon describes the book this way:Threads of Life Book

“A globe-spanning history of sewing, embroidery, and the people who have used a needle and thread to make their voices heard

In 1970s Argentina, mothers marched in headscarves embroidered with the names of their “disappeared” children. In Tudor, England, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was under house arrest, her needlework carried her messages to the outside world. From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry, World War I soldiers coping with PTSD, and the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, to the AIDS quilt, Hmong story clothes, and pink pussyhats, women and men have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances.”


Imagine that! Over the centuries people like me have taken to stitching and used it for both practical purposes and as a way to tell their stories, even in the most difficult of times. It makes me feel like I am in good company when I am stitching!

I believe that stitching is not just a hobby. Its not just a craft. Its not only a creative outlet, but its an important way to communicate the stories of our lives, and in many cases to be handed down from generation to generation.

I recently saw a video by a black male Marine who is also a quilter! This guy is very macho and manly and certainly not a wimpy type. And he was proudly showing off some quilts he had stitched together! Stitching is for everyone!

I believe the world would be a better place if everyone was stitching!