Beauty in Bloomers: A Steampunk Paper Doll inspired by Amelia Bloomer

logo-bloomer-steampunkOnce in a while, I host little drawings for custom paper dolls. I do them rarely, because frankly they are time consuming.

Anyway, last June I held one. People submitted custom paper doll suggestions. You can see all of them on the original contest post. The winner of the drawing was Lina, but I added all the ideas to my paper doll ideas list. Today’s paper doll comes from an idea submitted back then. (See, I do sometimes draw things people request.)

Erin Winslow proposed a steampunk set based on Amelia Bloomer’s women’s dress reform movement costume. My first thought was, “No Way!”

Because, honestly, I really didn’t like the Bloomer Dress. I’ve always thought it was both unflattering and kinda ugly. Why would I want to draw something I thought was ugly?

And then… rather unexpectedly, I found myself thinking… I should draw it because I find it ugly. I should tackle a style I dislike for a paper doll set. I should stretch. Plus I recently read a this book on Victorian dress reform movements.

First, I had to gather sources and ideas. You can see a collage of these below.


I remembered somewhere I had seen a photo of a female doctor wearing a Bloomer costume. That was where I started thinking about doctors cases and I found that Pat Stall, one of my favorite paper doll artists ever, had done an Amelia Bloomer paper doll set. I found some wonderful modern pieces and then a few great cartoons from various Victorian periodicals. I felt like I was on my way towards a set I might actually like.

An Amelia Bloomer inspired steampunk paper doll, because why not? Exclusive to

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I decided to cast Hazel as my bloomer wearing steampunk Doctor. I gave her glasses and some doctor bag inspired accessories. She has three dresses to go over the two pairs of bloomers. Her vest, shirt and skirt can be worn over any of the bloomers as well. I did not make my bloomers quite as full as those worn by Amelia Bloomer. Despite creating this paper doll set, I still find the look to be astonishingly unflattering. Never the less, here is my foray into the world of steampunk bloomer costumes.

Plus, I got to draw Victorian glasses and that was fun. 🙂

As most of my readers have figured out by now, I’m currently conducting a survey about developing products to open a Paper Thin Personas store in the next year and some other stuff. It’ll only take about 15 minutes and I’ll send you a thank you paper doll if you leave me your email at the end. (The emails are deleted out of the survey results immediately to keep things as anonymous as possible. So, no worries about that.)

Check out the Survey Here!

Thanks again to everyone whose already done the survey! I’m closing it on Saturday, so I can begin to analyze the results. I’ll share some of my discoveries sometime in the next few weeks.

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    1. I’m so glad you saw her. I was a little worried that it has been so long that maybe you were no longer reading and then well… you’d never see the results of your suggestion and that would be sad. 🙂

  1. Love the eyeglasses! And I love your take on the Bloomer Outfits. Think of how women & girls back then struggled as they performed any physical activity while manipulating the voluminous long dresses/skirts. Bloomers (pants) gave them mobility. And they were cooler in summer too, wearing shorter skirts/dresses over bloomers.

    1. Thanks Linda and Julie. I love the eyes glasses too. I saw a portrait from about 1830 several months ago with eye glasses and now I want to do a historical paper doll with eye glasses.

  2. I just rediscovered paper dolls and discovered your blog this week. And I LOVE this doll! I just colored Meet Hazel last night. Tonight, she’s going to get a steampunk makeover – so perfect!

    1. Welcome to the blog Erin. I’m so glad you’ve come to join the fun. There will be some more Mini-Maiden sets in the coming months as the year winds up. 🙂

  3. I agree about the dumpiness of the original, but I have an Indian outfit (google “skinny salwar kameez”) based on similar principles that works a lot better. It’s got a slim, split-sided thigh-length tunic over MC Hammer pants (loose, but skinny calves) and a huge gauzy shawl. It’s partly the slim fit and partly the colorfulness. Some salwar kameez are still pretty bad though.

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