Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clara's Pennsylvania Dutch Dress

Clara’s Pennsylvania Dutch dress is from the 1820s-1840s. This simple calico dress is typical of the early nineteenth century. The dress is very plain, and a little awkward in its design (the sleeves are a bit strange) – definitely not haute couture. The dress would have been sewn by hand.

Although Clara would be likely to spend most days barefoot, she would have some boots for colder weather, or for dressing up. These boots are not fitted, and just have simple laces on the sides. Clara's boots are made out of thin, fragile leather, which would be ruined by the cobblestones, mud, and messes of the streets in her town. To protect her boots, Clara would have some pattens, which are sandal-like wood and leather shoe coverings. When she had to travel through the streets, she would wear the pattens, and the thick soles would protect her expensive boots.

A sun bonnet would also be a must for the outdoors, both winter and summer. In the winter, the bonnet would keep her head warm. In the summer, the bonnet would protect her face from sunburn.

As a side note, the Americans known as Pennsylvania Dutch are not originally from the Netherlands. The German word for "German" is "Deutsche." So if a person said he was a Pennsylvania "Deutscheman," he meant Pennsylvania German. However, English-speaking Americans understood "Deutsche" as "Dutch," and the German immigrants who settled in that region soon became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

This Pennsylvania Dutch dress was a rust red cotton cloth, with a dark gray calico pattern of simple little flowers. The boots were leather dyed deep red. The pattens were also a matching red leather. The sun bonnet was originally white, but has faded to ivory.

Be creative as you color the outfit. I simply provide the original colors of the dress as a reference point for historical accuracy. You may also be interested to know that along with white and ivory, these were some of the colors for everyday clothing in the late 1820s through the 1840s:


To print Clara's Pennsylvania Dutch Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 5 (598k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will be available on this blog as long as I continue to post new fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)

If you like my paper dolls enough to want to share with others, please email or post a link to my blog rather than sending or posting a copy of the paper dolls. Refer your friends so they can enjoy the free, printable paper dolls on my blog. Please do not post my artwork on your own sites, modify any of the files, or distribute them to others.

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