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)

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, June 21, 2011

Clara's 1838 Frock and Pantaloons

This week's fashion page for Clara is drawn from a fashion plate which appeared in The World of Fashion; January 1838. You can see the source of the fashion plate here if you are interested. (Click on the image to see a larger version of the fashion plate.)

This is the description found in the magazine:
YOUNG LADY'S DRESS.

FIG. 3.--India muslin frock and pantaloons; the corsage is trimmed with a fichu drapery, and the sleeves with knots of ribbon. Ceinture, neck knot, and hair knots en suite.

Notice the use of French throughout the description. Paris was (and mostly still is) the center of the fashion design world, so the magazine used French terms. For instance, a corsage is the bodice of the dress. A fichu drapery is basically a lightweight scarf worn over the shoulders, sometimes crossed over the chest. A ceinture is a waistband or belt... in this case, the ribbon around the waist of the dress. The term en suite means that all the bows and ribbons would match.

In the fashion plate, the little girl's frock matches her mother's ball dress. As was the fashion back then, a young girl was not old enough to wear a full-length gown. The pantaloons she is wearing under the dress would cover her legs to the ankle, to fit the standards of modesty.

Clara is wearing the dress shown in the fashion plate, but with some pretty big changes. Her shoulders do not match the curve of those in the drawing, and her waist is not painfully thin. I hope they did not put girls that young into corsets! (I had to change the width of the neck to cover Clara's swimsuit.)

Clara has her hair in ringlets, tied up with ribbons. She also has a fashionable neck knot in place of a necklace.

The slippers from this era were very thin and fragile and would only be worn at a dance. The slippers are tied with bows, making them look like ballet shoes.

Stockings were common in this time frame, and were usually made of a light cotton. The stockings were knit into a tube, and then the sole was cut and sewn into place. Because Clara is wearing ribbons on her ankles, I have given her plain stockings, but some of the stockings from this time were embroidered with beautiful florals or other designs. It was interesting for me to look at stockings from the 1830s, including these from the Kyoto Costume Museum.

You can see the original colors of the dress in the fashion plate above: white with pink ribbons. The original shoes were a beautiful leaf green, and must have gone with a green ball gown, since most outfits were "en suite," or carefully color matched.

You may also be interested to know that along with white, ivory, and gray, these were some of the popular colors for clothing in the 1830s:


To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 15 (622k)

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, June 14, 2011

Clara's Victorian Play Dress

Victorian fashion in the 1850s is generally dominated by the crinoline, sometimes known as a hoop skirt. (Clara has a Victorian Crinoline here.) However, large skirts would not be practical for a little girl to wear every day. Clara’s Victorian play dress is more useable and less fragile than a dress-up gown. The dress is a nice design with box pleats on the bodice, a full skirt, and butterfly sleeves.

Clara’s boots are a little awkward in style, due to a funny trait: there is no left or right foot. Both shoes are exactly alike and could be worn on either foot. Shoes such as these, known as “straight soles” were made for several hundred years beginning in the 1600s and continuing through the end of the 1800s. "Straight soles" were less expensive than pairs of shoes made for the right and left feet.

Clara today also has a nice summer bonnet. Bonnets were very popular in Europe and in America. In fact, they were the most popular kind of headgear in the 1800s. The wide ribbon was very popular in the 1850s, and was often a color that contrasted with the dress worn.

The original dress was an ivory wool with little green leaves. The original boots were blue with black toes. The original hat was in a vintage photo, so the colors are unknown.

You may also be interested to know that along with white, ivory, and gray, these were some of the popular colors for clothing in the 1850s:


To print Clara's Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 14 (595k)

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, 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.