Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yoga pants, meet ballgown.

I am absolutely giddy over my pristine copy of Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin. Published in 1942, it is a complete pattern design guide, written for the experienced seamstress. It doesn't offer patterns, but advice for creating perfect patterns for any type of garment, taking body type into account and describing everything from perfect pleat placement to the proper way to attach a leg-of-mutton sleeve. Every kind of garment imaginable is covered, and the author describes the garment's history and appropriate use before explaining exactly how the article should be designed and constructed. The tone is strange, assuming the reader creates all of her own clothing but needs to be told what clamdigger means. But that's okay, because this book taught me about HOSTESS GOWNS. Are you aware of these? They're, like, the best thing ever. Why did they go out of style? I need one!!


It's like, "Hi friends! Come on in, I just made a cake and took off my girdle!" And no, I do not wear a girdle but that's beside the point. A hostess gown is not to be worn outside the house, but it's totally NOT A HOUSECOAT, y'all. That would be frumpy, and Harriet Pepin explains that housecoats are made of gingham or calico and are meant to be worn over pants. Hostess gowns, on the other hand, are swanky floor-length velvet affairs that should match the living room, since they are part of your decorating scheme. After an evening of cocktails and live music, my friend Carissa and I are always thrilled to go home for COMFY PANTS (and usually express this by saying, "COMFY PANTS, WOOOO!" all the way home). But clearly, sweeping around in yards of taffeta is so much better. Revive the hostess gown!

Are you ready for a revival, too? Consider one of these vintage lovelies:

Do you already one? If so, do you love it? 

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P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.