Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clara's 1842 Pleated Dress

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas.

The 1840s were a time of great change in fashion. Dresses changed from a gathered, conical shape to the wide bell shape known as a hoop skirt.

Clara's dress shows many of the characteristics of early 1840s dresses. The wide, shallow scoop neck shape was very popular. In the 1830s, sleeves were generally tight with a poof at the upper arm (early 30s) or at the lower arm (late 1830s). In the 1840s, sleeves still could be poofed, but a new style was introduced -- that of layered ruffles for the sleeves. Clara's dress is an early example of this style.

Another fashion element that was very popular in the 1840s was the pleat. Of course, pleats never did go out of style in the early 1800s. They were just employed in various new forms as designers came up with new ways to modify the pleat. Clara's dress shows how wide pleats were incorporated into a pieced bodice.

Clara's dress is short, so she wears some pleated pantaloons down to her ankles.

Her boots are made of leather, with a linen upper sewn on, and buttoned up the side of the ankle.

Portrait of Fanny Hensel, 1842
by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (German, 1800–1882) 
Source: Wikimedia Commons, image in the public domain
If you look at the portrait of Fanny Hensel on the left, you can see a very popular hairstyle of the 1840s. Clara's hair is worn in the same style, pulled smooth, and worn in ringlets over her ears. Clara is also wearing a poke bonnet lined with gathered silk. A large bow ties the hat under her chin.

The original dress was red with little black polka dots, reminiscent of a lady bug. The original boots were dark brown leather with a lighter tan linen upper part. The hat was lined with a funny shade of peach silk (which would not be a good choice to wear with the original red! Choose a nice color that goes with your dress color).


To print Clara's dress, 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:


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