Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Printing the dolls and other questions

I have been asked some questions about my free paper doll and fashion pages. I hope this blog post will answer some of your questions.

Q. What paper should I use when I print the paper doll?
A. Although you can certainly use plain paper, I suggest you use cardstock to print the actual paper doll, which is currently Clara. She will be more durable as you put on and remove the various outfits. If you really want Clara to last for a long time, print the paper doll on cardstock, and then use a good coat of spray adhesive to glue another sheet of cardstock to the back of the printed sheet. Color and cut out as usual. Clara will be more durable.

Q. What paper should I use for the fashion pages?
A. I recommend you print the fashion pages on normal paper. Cardstock will work, but the tabs will be more difficult to fold around the paper doll. If you are particular about your paper, a nicer quality of paper or cotton bond will take colored pencil nicely.

Q. How do I color the paper dolls?
A. Any way you want. I do suggest using colored pencils, but markers and crayons work just fine. In each blog post, if I know the actual, original color of the outfit used for inspiration, I will provide that information. Some of the fashion pages are drawn from vintage photographs, which are usually black and white, so the original color may not be known. With each post, I also try to provide some of the colors that were popular in the era represented by the fashion design.

Q. Can I make my own dresses for Clara?
A. Although Clara and the fashion pages are copyrighted, you can certainly make your own dresses for her. Making my own dresses for paper dolls was a favorite childhood pastime for me. Just don't try to sell Clara as your own work. I am certainly interested to see how creative my readers are, so if you want to send me a scan or photo of any new dresses, I would love to see what you are doing.

Q. Can I send copies of Clara and the fashion pages to my cousin/sister/daughter?
A. Actually, please just send them a link to my blog. Thanks!

Q. Why are all your paper dolls and dresses in Adobe Acrobat (or PDF) format?
A. So you can have high quality prints, and all the dolls and fashion pages will print at the same exact scale. Please let me know if you ever have an issue printing one of my fashion pages.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Clara's Sheath Dress

Clara’s knee-length sheath dress is from about 1970. This straight-down style of dress was a popular fashion design in the late 60s and early 70s. This was a very casual look for Clara, but the sheath dress also showed up as ankle-length evening wear.

Clara has two pairs of shoes to wear with her dress today. By 1970, go-go boots were worn by many. The knee-high boots had gained in popularity as actresses and singers wore them in the late 1960s. They were made of leather or synthetics, such as vinyl, and usually had chunky heels. Bright colors were all the rage, but the most popular color for go-go boots was white.

Clara's Mary Janes were also a popular shoe style for girls. Hers are a little unique since they have thick soles and wedge heels. It was during the 70s that platform shoes became the latest trend for footwear. Soles for shoes topped four inches, bringing brisk business to ankle doctors as people tripped more frequently while wearing platform shoes. Fortunately, Clara is pretty sensible, and her shoes have reasonably thick platform soles and wedge heels. She would wear either knee-high socks or tights with the Mary Janes.

The original sheath dress is a coral pink dress with white polka dots and a matching coral tie. The original boots would not match the dress at all, since they are an orange dyed leather. The Mary Janes are black patent leather with white stitching.

Be creative, especially since the original colors would have clashed terribly. Bright abstract prints and huge flowers were popular on dresses. Many outfits stayed with earth tones – especially red, orange, and tan – but bright colors were just as popular. Here are some of the colors found in fashion from about 1970:



To print Clara's Sheath Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 7 (591k)

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.

I suggest you print Clara on cardstock, so she will be more durable. To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Clara's Sailor Dress

This is Clara's cute sailor dress from the 1910s. It has pleats in the front, and no waistline. Beginning in the 1890s, fashion designers adapted boys’ Sailor Suits into dresses. Sailor style dresses remained popular for most of the Twentieth Century and up through the present day as well, although they were most popular around the 1910s. Most of the sailor suits were navy blue with white trim. Some of the dresses had gold braid as well.

The original dress on which Clara's outfit is based was navy blue with a wide, white collar, blue ribbon trim, a white scarf, and brass buttons.

Her button-up boots were quite fashionable at this time. These would most likely be two colors, with a white upper portion, and a shiny patent leather bottom section. These are good, sturdy boots for work and play, with thick leather soles to protect Clara's feet.

She also has a floppy hat known as a tam-o'-shanter or tam. Her hat has a big pom-pom on the top, and is worn tipped a little to the side. Clara's tam-o'-shanter was based on several vintage hats, all of which were various plaids. However, she would have worn a white or navy blue hat that matched her outfit. There are many archived photos of little girls in sailor suits with matching white tams.

The tam-o'-shanter is of Scottish origin, and was originally made of plaid wool. This style of hat was worn by many military units, notably sailors, making it a popular addition to a sailor dress ensemble. This particular hat became very popular beginning in the 1880s, and remained in style for a great length of time.

The hat was named after a character in a Robert Burns poem from 1790. Here is an excerpt from the poem:

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses
For honest men and bonie lasses.
If you would like to read more of the poem, you can find the entire poem in the original Scots dialect, along with an English translation here. I guess what I am trying to demonstrate by including the poem is how the pop culture of the time influenced fashion. Robert Burns was part of the pop culture of the 1880s – some milliner (hat designer) liked Burns, and named a hat after a poetic character. Burns thus contributed a name to fashion design, albeit posthumously. Today, clothing designers name outfits or entire clothing lines after famous people, or use names that conjure up images of the latest fad. The culture of each era influences the fashion, sometimes in interesting ways.

Have fun as you color the dress, hat, and boots. You don't have to stick to the original navy blue, white, and gold. Here are some shades that were used in clothing from the early 1910s:


To print Clara's dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 6 (570k)

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.

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Clara's 1930 Dropped Waist Dress

Clara’s outfit for this week is a beautiful dress from about 1930. The pleats and stripes are classic for this era in fashion design. The dropped waistline was very popular in the 1920s, and continued in popularity into the next decade.

The hat Clara is wearing is called a cloche, a tight-fitting style very popular in the 1920s and early 1930s. Clara's cloche has a pleated silk band around the crown.

The shoes are simple, low-heeled shoes with contrasting ribbons. If the outfit was for a special occasion, the ribbons would be dyed to match the dress.

In case you are curious, the original dress has a bright pink top with cream neck trim. The stripes and bottom trim of the skirt are in a pink that matches the top. The skirt itself is tan. The shoes were dark brown suede with tan trim.

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, tan, and ivory, these were some of the popular colors for clothing in the late 1920s and early 30s:


To print Clara's Dropped Waist Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 4 (579k)

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.