Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Clara's 1918-1920s Nightgowns

A couple weeks ago, I got a request to do a nightgown for Clara. Nightgown fashion is rarely documented compared to day and evening fashions. Museums are full of gorgeous, pristine clothing. For example, most wedding gowns and many evening gowns were only worn once. Nightgowns, though, were bought to be worn, and many were worn out, so there are fewer examples around.

However, nightgowns or pajamas are still just clothing, and they follow the fashion trends, too. If lace and poofy sleeves are in fashion, they show up in nightgowns. If flowing lines and slinky fabrics are in fashion, the nightgowns follow the trends. If bright colors and bold patterns are in style, they show up in pajamas, too.

So here are two nightgowns from the late 1910s, or early 1920s. Unlike earlier Victorian or Edwardian nightgowns, these are shorter in length, and less elaborate. Both nightgowns have similar A-lines, and very elaborate yokes. One has more geometrical decorations, the other more lace and pin tucks.

Nightgowns have been made of many materials, from silk and satin to cotton or rayon. In the late 1910s and early 20s, most nightgowns were made of silk or batiste, which is a lightweight cotton or linen. 

Although nightgowns were usually white or ivory, by the late 1910s, nightgowns could be found in the popular colors of the day.

To print Clara's nightgown, use this PDF file:

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:


  1. Wonderful! Those are intricate and beautiful!

    I wonder, though, if the sleeve style in that upper design would tend to bind the shoulders or upper arms at all during sleep. I've had a problem with that from time to time, so that's something I notice in a nightgown or pajama.

    The cap sleeve on the lower one wouldn't be an issue.

    Thank you for another lovely design.

    1. I hadn't thought about the sleeves being restrictive. Maybe they were, and that's why this particular nightgown survived to today instead of being worn out.

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