Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Clara's 1883 Winter Coat

Clara is wearing a winter coat today (a strange outfit for June, unless you are up in the northern mountains). Her coat is from about 1883, and has a short Victorian half-cape, not very much like this one from 30 years before. Her coat has a fur collar and many pleats and large buttons. And, of course, she is wearing gloves.

In the 1880s, clothing became heavier and more ornamented than the previous decade. Pleats were extremely popular, and Clara's dress has its share of them. Good luck cutting them out! (I usually just trim a smooth line just below the pleats to save time.) This coat is actually quite conservative compared to some of the tasselled, ribboned, and overly decorated dresses of this decade. Bustles were back in fashion after a few years of respite, and velvet, brocade, and other fabrics were popular. The dresses from this decade usually make me think of very fancy drapery.

The boots are made of leather, and are beautifully made with scalloped edges, and were from Paris. They are a classic style that was popular for the entire second half of the nineteenth century. However, shoes in the 1880s have a more pronounced curve to the ankle and heel than earlier boots, a little reminiscent of the popular bustle. I think it would take me fifteen minutes to put on shoes with that many buttons!

Clara's hat completes the ensemble, with plenty of silk ribbon, a ribbon, and an ostrich feather. The hat brims of the 1880s were more narrow than previous years, but over the following decades, grew larger and floppier until they reached ridiculous proportions. Remember the hats from "My Fair Lady"? That was set in 1901-1910.

The original coat is a rich jewel-toned blue with blue-and-red checked trim. The hat was derived from a vintage black-and-white drawing. The button-up scalloped edge boots are a dark brown leather.

Be creative with your coloring. I simply provided the original colors as a reference. You may also be interested to know that jewel tones were very popular in the 1880s. Some pastels were worn, but bright colors were more stylish:

To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 13 (741k)

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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