Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clara's 1890 Day Dress

Here is an elegant late Victorian Day Dress for Clara. A day dress is actually just what the name describes... a dress to be worn during the day – to school, visiting, or whatever activity. Although this day dress is quite elegant, it is not an evening gown. The evening gowns of this time period had really elaborate designs.

This particular day dress is one of the earliest examples of a new fashion trend – the bell-shaped skirt, which was popular throughout the 1890s. Clara's dress for this week has a slight bell shape. As the decade passed, the bell shapes of the skirts got more pronounced, and the dresses added a mutton-leg shaped sleeve. But this dress is from 1890, so it has straight, loose long sleeves. Clara's dress has a blousy top with a wide square yoke divided with several pleats. The ribbon trim on the sleeves, yoke, and hem is a classic Victorian rose pattern.

The hat has an oversized bow with some leaves for decoration. As extravagant as it is, this hat is plain compared to some of the outrageous hats from the 1890s. Still, it fits with the ensemble.

The boots are a plain, classic tall style, similar to those worn for many decades.

The original dress was a light sea-foam green with rose pink and green ribbon trim. The pink hat had a pink bow, with green leaves. The boots were all black, with black stockings.

To print Clara's outfit, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 29 (818k)

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 (745k)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clara's 1860 Party Dress

My youngest daughter looked over my shoulder at this dress and said, "Mommy, I would like that dress." Definitely a princess dress.

Clara's fashion page for today is a party or dance ensemble, with a dress, rose wreath, and slippers.

The dress is a crinoline, or hoop skirt, in the proper mid-calf length for a young girl. The tight bodice is offset by the layers of ruffles and the huge bow.

When crinolines came into fashion about 1856, it seems the fashion designers tried to add as many ruffles, bows, and bits of trim as possible. I wonder how much cloth would be used to make the ruffles for this dress?

Apologies to all who get to cut these out for your young ones... those ruffles are a challenge, although I tried to make the bottom row as simple as possible, while still matching the rest of the ruffles. If I'm in a hurry, sometimes I just cut some curves just below the lines, instead of following the exact outline.

The original dress was white with a deep rose pink bow. The shoes were also white, and the roses on the shoes and in the wreath were a matching pink.

To print Clara's outfit, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 28 (796k)

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 (745k)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

1950s Summer Outfits

Clara has two complete, interchangeable outfits for a hot summer day. The button-up blouse and thin sweater go well with either the pleated shorts or the circle skirt. The sweater is still in fashion today, or – to be more accurate – it's back in style now.

One interesting little note: fashion seems to follow cycles. The wide circle skirts of the 1950s mirror the short crinolines girls wore in the 1860s. Instead of being covered with ribbons and ruffles, the circle skirts of the 50s were plainer, with simpler decoration. Still, they were worn over many layers of petticoats, just like crinolines. Circle skirts are the hallmark of the 50s – a fashion style instantly recognizable as belonging to one specific decade, but add enough frills, and you have a crinoline from many years before.

As for shoes... when I was a little girl, I almost never wore shoes in the summer, even to cross the road when it was 115°. I would run from one patch of grass to another to get to my friends' houses. I had very tough feet. Since it's summer, Clara could also go barefoot with these outfits, but I included some simple shoes with a cute bow.

Bright, clear colors, and black and white were popular in the 1950s. The original blouse was white with tiny blue and green vertical pinstripes. The sweater was white, and the shorts were also white. The skirt was red.

To print Clara's outfit, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 27 (747k)

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 (745k)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Clara's Pedal Pushers

Another scorcher of a week here in Arizona. It's a little cooler than last week; only 106 today. So this week, since it's still so hot, Clara has some capris – or pedal pushers – from the 1950s.

Up through the 1940s, pants were still scandalous for women to wear. However, pants became suitable for women during World War II, when women wore trousers to work in factories in place of the men who were at war. By the 1950s, many styles of pants were worn by women and girls, including these short pants, known by many names: pedal pushers, three-quarter shorts, capris, or clam diggers. Clara's pedal pushers have some cute trim on the cuff.

Clara also has a matching long tunic for a blouse, with geometric trim at the neck, and large pockets. The tunic style of top was quite popular in various forms through the 1950s.

To finish off her outfit, Clara has some simple ballet slippers. Although Clara's pair for today is quite simple to match her outfit, it was also the style to have bows, buckles, rhinestone clips, or other decorations on similar shoes.

The original tunic and pants were a navy blue with a gingham trim (red and white checks) around the neck, sleeves, and pant cuffs. The original shoes were white.

You may be interested to know that black and white were extremely popular in the 50s. Ladies wore white with black accessories and trim, or black with a little white. Some of the other popular colors for clothing in the 1950s were:


To print Clara's outfit, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 26 (731k)

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 (745k)