Fashion Doll Friday: Flora’s Spencer Jacket and Walking Costume

This has been a busy week here among the corn. I’ve been working and schooling. I got to listen in on a fascinating lecture about the history of bibles (not the text, but the printing history of the book) and that was amazing. And, of course, I’ve been working on homework and other things while work is very busy. It’s been fun, but hectic.

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Neither of these costumes for Flora were based on specific fashion plate. I felt like she needed a spencer jacket (the short jacket) which is such a well known early 19th century garment. It was named for George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer. The story goes he burned the tails off his coat while warming himself by the fire and just decided to cut them off. It seems doubtful this actually happened, but it’s a neat story. Jane Austen’s World blog had somebeautiful photos of spencer jackets. I confess to actually not being a big fan of Austen, but people keep telling me I should reread her novels. I keep telling them I have other things I’d rather read. This is a hard case to make to my good friend who wrote her Master’s thesis on Jane Austen.

Fashion Doll Friday: Flora’s Short Stays and Morning Dress

So, I just realized I actually have three paper dolls on the site all named Flora (one short run doll, one pixie paper doll and the regency doll) and I don’t even like the name Flora that much… I feel a little like a ditz as a result, but I don’t plan on letting it get to me too much. I mean, all ready pretty much have accepted that I’m a bit spacey (usually I try to blame this on a combination of work, school and everything else).

flora-regency-paper-doll-morning-dress-150

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Today Flora (the Regency one) has a morning dress and a set of short stays. According to Ewing’s book Fashion in Underwear (which is being reprinted by Dover), the short stays were common through 1800 with this example I drew dating from 1790. There was a dramatic drop in the number of stays manufactures in the early 1800s. I always thought stays and corsets were distinctly different objects, but I have recently learned that, according to both Ewing and a few others, that the terms were used interchangeably for most of the 19th century before “corset” survived into the 20th and “stays” stayed (bad pun, I know) in the 19th century.

Her morning dress is based on this illustration from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery which dates from and, of course, she has a cap to go with it. The morning dress was considered undress by the women of the era (there was also full dress and half dress) and was not usually worn outside of the house. It’s a beautiful garment though and the style of sleeve was called the “Juliet Sleeve” which I think is rather romantic and also.. um… does not bode well for the person wearing it.

Also, there’s a new poll. I’m enjoying polls. They take the stress out of decision making. 🙂

Flora, A Regency Paper Doll: Her Chemise and Petticoat

Flora is a paper doll based on wooden dolls of the Regency era. She has underwear in this plate. She's free to print and color.

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So, I am a little late with this post. I had planned on putting her up last night, as I usually do, but ended up spending more time working on homework then I’d originally planned. After that, I put in some time studying my Latin and crashed early. No paper dolling time really at all. So, I got up early the next morning, finished my Latin homework and then had enough time to prep the images, but not enough time to post. Annoyed more then anything else, I went to Latin, went to work, went to dinner and now, finally, have gotten home.

With a slight delay, I am pleased to introduce Flora, my new regency paper doll and yes, her name was chosen because it was alliterative. Don’t judge me for my adoration of alteration. The paper doll is based on wooden dolls of early 1800’s. Her body is the same as that of a manikin doll shown in The Complete Book of Doll Making and Collecting which contains many photographs of antique dolls. The hair style was adapted from a wooden tuck comb doll though without the comb since it would make bonnets difficult.

Her full slip is based on illustrations from Dress and Undress: A History of Women’s Underwear which is considered to be one of the best works on the topic. I agree that it is fantastic, but I wish it had more pictures. All of the paper dolls underwear designs come from this text which was one of the few that discussed the differences between early 1800’s underwear compared to later when the corset returned. To go with her slip, I have included a simple chemise which was drawn from this one in the Fashion Museum in Bath, England. I adore the Fashion Museum site and wax on about that more on my Research Resources page.

That is all I think I need to say about the paper doll. Of course, if you haven’t all ready done so, you may wish to vote in my poll.