Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Depression Era Dress

Clara’s Depression Era Dress is a very simple outfit with big pockets and a zipper down the front. This dress has a style reminiscent of the sailor suits popular around the turn of the century (like Clara's dress here). The dress would have been made of calico or any type of cotton fabric. The large pockets are stylish, but practical, since Clara can stash many things in the deep pockets.

This particular dress is unusual because it was on the cutting edge of children's fashion for 1937. The unique thing about this dress is the zipper down the front. Although a sort of zipper-type fastener was invented in about 1850, the modern zipper wasn't invented until 1913. The zipper took a while to catch on, and was not commonly found in clothing until the late 1930s, so this dress is one of the first ready-made items of clothing to have a zipper.

Clara also has some wedge heel shoes with a little ribbon-style trim, although she might have spent many summer days barefoot.

And since peaches are just ripening in Arizona, Clara has a big basket of peaches she picked to bottle or make into jam. Mason jars full of peaches or other fruit were “put up” for the winter by many industrious families in this era.

The original dress is a bright pink with a white hawaiian print. The shoes were sea green with white, red, orange, yellow, and blue ribbon trim. They only match in black and white!

You may also be interested to know that along with white, brown, tan, and ivory, these were some of the popular colors for clothing during the depression:


To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 12 (644k)

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, May 24, 2011

1950s Petal Dress

Women’s fashion in the 1950s is characterized by soft flowing lines, and very feminine shapes. Skirts took a variety of shapes, from pencil skirts to the iconic "poodle skirt" with everything in between. Clara's dress for today is from 1957. The dress has an elongated petal waist, and a full skirt. This would be a great party dress, because the skirt will flare out when Clara dances.

Sometime soon, I will have to add a nice poodle-style skirt for Clara! The circle skirts used so much cloth. They remind me of the skirts from one century before: the 1850s crinolines like this one!

Clara's shoes have low curvy heels and a simple scallop that echoes the petal shape of the dress. A pillbox hat, just coming into poularity at this time, tops off Clara’s late 1950s outfit.

The original dress was a light blue with tiny pink and yellow flowers. The hat was black with a pink rose, and the shoes were black as well. Although the designs work well together, the original colors sure don't!

Be creative with your coloring. I simply provided the original colors as a reference point. You may also be interested to know that black and white were extremely popular. Ladies wore white with black accessories and trim, or black with a little white. Some of the popular colors for clothing in the 1950s were:



To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 11 (607k)

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, May 17, 2011

1980s Dress with Square Collar

Ok, don't laugh! Girls really did wear their hair like that in the 1980s! My sisters and I all had perms and big bangs. The perms may have fried our hair into frizzy messes, but that was the style. Celebrities and movies stars did the same with their hair.

Looking back, a lot of fashion from the 80s was just in bad taste. Punk rock and gothic styles abounded. Movies like Flashdance and Valley Girl influenced fashion designs throughout the decade. Do you remember leg warmers, leggings, bangle bracelets, huge earrings, and ripped sweatshirts? All these fashions were based on pop culture. Workout clothing, baggy clothing, zebra stripes, bright colors... some of the clothing from the 80s is so over-the-top that it borders on the ridiculous.

Clara's dress for today, however, is from the "new romantic" movement in clothing. Lace, flowers, bows, and lots of frills were typical of this movement. Some of the lacy frills of the 80s went over-the-top as well, but overstatement seems to have been the trend of the 80s. Clara’s outfit is a classic style from the late 1980s with lacy, scalloped edges. The dress is a tea length, and pretty conservative for that decade.

Clara’s shoes are some simple vinyl slip-ons with low heels and square toes. Instead of being made of leather, synthetics were more prevalent as shoe materials. Even plastic shoes were popular.

The original Clara paper doll has a short, straight haircut, not in character for the 80s. So today, Clara has some frizzy, permed hair with stiff, hairsprayed bangs to go with her 1980s style dress. Personally, I would skip the "big hair," but it sure shows a major hallmark of the decade.

My husband has a great hairspray story from the late 80s. He and a group of friends decided to have a campfire one evening. As they sat by the fire, one girl pulled out her can of hairspray to add another layer of lacquer to her bangs. Unfortunately, the fire ignited the fumes, and caught her hair on fire. The quick thinking boys were able to pat the fire out, and the girl was unharmed, although she had some very singed hair. I wonder if she used less hairspray after her hair grew back?

In the 1980s, bright colors and patterns were very popular. Flowery impressionistic prints and neon colors were fashion fads, too. Along with black, white, and gray, here are some colors found in the clothing of the 80s:


To print Clara's dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 10 (909k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will continue to be available on this blog as long as I 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)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Coloring in white

This week's fashion page featured a white dress. Although I hope you color the dresses in whatever colors you like, sometimes it interesting to try to match the original. So how do you color a white dress? Well, you use several shades of gray to define the shadows on curves and folds.

If you are interested, Liana's Paper Dolls has a great tutorial on coloring an outfit to look white. Liana also posts some fun paper dolls, and is one of the nicer paper doll blogs on the web.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

1902 Hollyhock Girl

Clara's dress for this week is based on a painting by John Hafen, "Girl Among the Hollyhocks" from 1902. Hafen's painting of his daughter in a field of hollyhocks reminds me of my mother, as I mentioned in this post for Mother's Day.

Clara's dress is representative of those from the turn of the twentieth century. Photos of schoolgirls from the this period frequently feature girls in white dresses, dark, thick socks, and ankle boots. The dresses are usually trimmed in lace and ribbon, with lots of ruffles. Ribbons were usually pink, or another pastel color.

In the painting, the girl is wearing a frilly white dress with a pink ribbon around the waist and arms. Drapy ruffled sleeves, yoke, and hem add to the outfit. The dark socks and shoes seem a little incongruous with the white dress, but that was the style. If Clara was going to a dance, she would probably have some slippers, but the boots are great for walking to school, playing, and tending the garden.

And today Clara is in the garden with a group of hollyhocks. Most of the flowers in the painting are white and pale pink, but hollyhocks grow in many other shades, including magenta, red, and yellow. Hollyhocks are a striking flower, growing up to ten feet tall, and are usually grown in naturalized or old-fashioned gardens. On today's fashion page, Clara's hollyhocks are framed to make them easy to color and cut out, and then can be used as a background image.

Popular colors for 1900-1910? Mostly white and pastels were popular. Evening gowns would have bright jewel tones, but day wear was more muted. Here are some colors found in clothing from about 1900:


To print Clara's dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 9 (909k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will continue to be available on this blog as long as I 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)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hollyhocks for Mother's Day

I was driving home from a grocery store a few days ago, and saw a huge row of beautiful pink hollyhocks in front of someone's house. (Did you know that Hollyhocks can grow in Arizona? I think my parents grew some after I went away to college.) But every time I see hollyhocks, they remind me of my mother. Why is that?

When I was very young, my mother got a print of John Hafen's "Girl Among the Hollyhocks" (painted in 1902). The painting hung on the wall above the piano in our front room for many years. I recall that my mother loved the painting very much. Why is this painting important to me? Because it was important to my mother, and it reminds me of her.

The painting probably reminds my mom of her own mother's garden, which was filled with beautiful plants and flowers. My grandmother was a very wonderful person, and certain flowers remind me of her. For instance, some dahlias (picture on the right) in San Francisco reminded me of my grandmother and the beautiful dahlias that she always grew on the side of her house. Sometimes when we visited, we could cut one or two dahlias for the dinner table.

Now, what does all this have to do with paper dolls? I guess I saw the hollyhocks, and remembered my mother, and the painting, and decided it might work for a paper doll.

Well, back to the painting. Do you see that little girl in the painting? She is wearing a white dress that is a classic turn-of-the-century fashion design. It has a rounded yoke with a ruffle, poofy sleeves, also with a drapy ruffle, and some more ruffles around the calf-length hem. Lace and ribbon would trim the dress. The black stockings and ankle boots are also a classic style, seen in many school pictures from the early 1900s.

Tuesday's paper doll will be my best guess at what the original model was wearing. I have referenced enough period dresses to be confident that the fashion page will be historically representative, if not completely accurate.

Now, I want to know: does a specific flower remind you of someone? Are there any flowers in your history or heritage?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1930 Daisy Dress

This week, Clara is wearing a beautiful spring dress from about 1930. The scalloped collar is surrounded by little daisies, and the petal sleeves are a nice touch. The dresses of the previous decade were characterized by dropped waists or no waists at all. However, the boyish, straight lines of the Roaring 20s were gradually replaced by the more feminine, flowing lines of the 1930s. Waistlines were coming back into style in the 30s, although some dresses — like Clara's other dress here — still had dropped waists. This dress has not only a natural waistline, but also a scalloped drop waist.

Hats also took on a more feminine look, as brims widened to frame the longer, softly curled hair that had come into fashion. This hat is reminiscent of the close-fitting cloches of the 20s, with its low, tight cap, but the brim is a floppy, wide style. A silk ribbon and bow are the finishing touches for Clara's straw hat.

Clara also has some cute shoes to go with the dress. The silk slip-on shoes are trimmed with rhinestone bows. The bows were clip-on brooches that could be removed and exchanged for a bow or another decoration. By putting on a new decoration, the shoes could be worn with more outfits.

The original dress is a red calico print with white trim. The collar is also red, also with white trim. The daisies were white with green stems and leaves. The hat is straw dyed into a nice shade of coral with a matching ribbon. The shoes were black silk with silver trim and clear rhinestone bows. Please don't use the original colors for the entire outfit, since the coral hat definitely does not go with a red dress!

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 early 1930s:


To print Clara's Daisy Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 8 (580k)

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.