Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Clara's Fourth of July Dress

Today we step back in time to 1776. Since next Monday is the Fourth of July, I thought Clara should wear a Colonial American dress this week. Happy Independence Day!

The design is not technically American, since most fashion designs were copied from Paris at that point in time. This particular gown is a style known as a robe a l'anglaise, or English style gown. It has a tight, fitted bodice with a pointed waistline in front, and tight sleeves. Sometimes the sleeves had lace or ruffles, like Clara's dress does. The skirt has a split front, open to show the petticoats, which were usually made from a different material than the overskirt.

Clara also has a fichu, or thin shawl or scarf tied over her shoulders. Most of these scarves were made of a sheer white material, although a few other colors can be found. The fichu continued to be popular for many decades, as seen in Clara's 1838 Party Frock that I posted here last week.

The hat Clara is wearing is called a "mob cap." You probably have seen it in pictures of colonial women and girls, since it was an extremely popular form of headgear in that era. It seems that the richer the lady, the more ruffles, lace, and ribbon on her cap. Some of the mob caps in paintings from the 1770s are quite a hoot. (Look at these mob caps if you want a chuckle.)

The last item on Clara's fashion page for this week is the shoes. [They don't show in my picture! Maybe I should have done just the paper doll clothes instead of dressing Clara for the blog post.] They are pretty cute, with crossed straps and no heels. They are very typical of this time period, although most dressy shoes had heels. But since Clara is so young, I gave her a flat version of the heavy brocade slippers worn at this time.

Most of the colors in this decade were very muted. I chose some of the brighter versions to put here in the blog, but most of the dresses I found were cream and tan, with a dull rose or dull green. Along with white and ivory, these were some of the colors found in clothing from the 1770s:


To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 16 (606k)

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)

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