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Thread: Housework in winter?

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    One of the Regulars St. Louis's Avatar
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    Housework in winter?

    For those who wear vintage all the time, what do you wear around the house in the winter? I've decided that this winter I want to wear vintage at home, not just at the office or to go out. But I'm a bit stumped.

    During the summer I usually wear a vintage cotton dress or skirt with a blouse, with white keds or oxfords and ankle socks. That works well for laundry, washing the kitchen floor, even gardening.

    But in my drafty bungalow a cotton dress and ankle socks aren't warm enough in December, even with a cardigan.

    I can't figure out what a normal woman would have worn to scrub her kitchen floors, say in December 1939. I can picture the apron and the oxfords but am drawing a blank at everything in between. Surely she wouldn't have worn her expensive nylons while taking out the trash or scrubbing the toilet?


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    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
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    Cotton stockings were worn for everyday household chores -- or wool-and-cotton blends in cold climates. A flannel slip would be rather a fine thing to have in the winter as well.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

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    Bartender sheeplady's Avatar
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    Woolen knee socks are nice. Combine them with a flannel slip and warm tap pants and you are good to go. They also make wool tights, which you could possibly hem if you wanted to wear them as stockings. Also make sure your dress is a warm one- flannel is nice and inexpensive.

    Also some women wore pants around the house (particularly in winter) even if they didn't wear them out.
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    One of the Regulars St. Louis's Avatar
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    Thanks! I like the idea of a flannel slip. I have several good vintage patterns that should work. This may be a dumb question, but do you wear the flannel side toward the skin? I'm wondering whether a flannel slip would make the dress bunch & ride up?

    So is the consensus that you'd still wear a cotton house dress but just put warmer layers underneath?


    "I'll do it. Sounds like a new thrill."
    Flying Down to Rio (1933)

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    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
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    That's what I do, and what my grandmother always did. A flannel slip is easy enough to make, and once you've got a couple you'll really notice the difference. I usually wear a nylon slip next to the skin and the flannel slip over that. Or a cotton knit slip if it's too warm for flannel but too cool to go without something extra.

    Another thing worth keeping in mind is that no sane woman would have worn her best sheer stockings to do housework at any time of the year. Cottons or "service weight" 70-denier hosiery would have been worn for everyday unless she had a maid to do the housework.
    Last edited by LizzieMaine; 12-06-2012 at 09:28 AM.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

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    Bartender sheeplady's Avatar
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    Sometimes I wear a nylon slip, flannel slip, and nylon slip. And woolen knee socks and a pair of leggings. It gets cold here.

    Although leggings aren't the most accurate (I'm talking about the insulated ones, like Cuddle Duds with no feet) you can always wear the leggings under your knee socks. This way you get the warmth but you'd still look vintage. (Insulated underwear isn't a new invention.) Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Personally, if I were you, I'd really look into making a few flannel dresses for around the house for winter. You can use flannel shirting (which comes in beautiful plaids) from the fabric store. Since it is made for shirts, it's both pretty light (not too heavy to drag you down) and it's also pretty inexpensive per yard.
    Progress: Going from being able to "hear a pin drop" to "can you hear me now?"

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    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
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    Union suits for women were very common in colder climates.



    Keep in mind that most American homes lacked central heating until well into the 1950s. When your house was heated by a kerosene stove in the living room and an oil range in the kitchen, you got used to being cold most of the time.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

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    Practically Family Heather's Avatar
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    I need to get back into my dress & skirt wearing habit. I've become so lazy about it this winter. All I seem to be able to muster up is slacks, blouses and sweaters. I'm starting to feel like Katharine Hepburn!

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    "A List" Customer MissNathalieVintage's Avatar
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    I saw this under the thermal section in their catalog an noticed the vest and short pants looked like a vintage union suit. Here is the link to the vest and short pants http://www.shopnational.com/Intimates-Thermals
    I got them and they are so warm and comfortable. However the vest straps were a little to long for me (which I can hand sew together to fit no problem). I wear these with my skirts and dresses. I too also add a full slip or half slip over these. I also wear thermal long pants under my dresses and skirts. I got my thermal pants in two colors grey and pink. I wear over the knee socks too so my thermal pants do not show. I got a few over the knee socks from Sock Dreams http://www.sockdreams.com/products/socks/thigh-highs/ and a couple of over the knee socks from Rock N scoks http://www.rocknsocks.com/socks/over...nee-socks.html I just add sock garters to help keep my socks over my knees http://www.sockdreams.com/products/a.../sock-garters/

    I also learned that after a shower if you stand under a cool shower it will help fight the chill during the winter.

    Great great question

    Quote Originally Posted by LizzieMaine View Post
    Union suits for women were very common in colder climates.



    Keep in mind that most American homes lacked central heating until well into the 1950s. When your house was heated by a kerosene stove in the living room and an oil range in the kitchen, you got used to being cold most of the time.
    ...Kept by the power of God-1 Peter 1:5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissNathalieVintage View Post
    I also learned that after a shower if you stand under a cool shower it will help fight the chill during the winter.
    Really? That seems counterintuitive to me. Can you explain more?

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