1930’s Historical Fashion Paper Doll With Maeghan

1930s-summer-logo Over the years, I have made several other paper dolls of the 1930s, but never a Marisole Monday & Friend’s set, so it seems fitting to rectify that in my goal of 10 historical paper dolls this year. Meaghan is modeling this set, though I’m sure she’d be happy to share with Mia, Monica, Marisole, or Margot.

The 1930s introduced beach pajamas for women, so Meaghan has a set of those with a striped sweater. Other trends of the era include bias cut evening dresses, of which she also has one. And no lady could leave her house without a fashionable hat and gloves, of course. Shoes wise, she has sandals, since this is a summer set and she needs sandals.

Whenever I see vintage fashions and I am jealous of them, I am reminded that I rather wouldn’t want to wear hats and gloves all the time.

A paper doll coloring page celebrating the 1930s with a five piece wardrobe, hats and accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Originally, I was planning a red, white and blue sort of nautical color scheme, but I didn’t like the idea of it once I actually started coloring. Once I was in the midst of the coloring, I decided to go with a coral, yellow and pale blue scheme. The colors are summery and bright.

There is no black at all in the set, I chose white as my neutral color instead. Something about white just screams summer to me.

A printable paper doll celebrating the 1930s with a five piece wardrobe, hats and accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

{Click Here for a PDF to Print in Color} {Click Here for a PNG to Print in Color} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}
This is normally where I put down a list of sources. I confess that I drew these dresses so long ago, that I simply can not recall all of them.

I remember two inspirations though. This post from Wearing History from 1936 and this pattern cover from 1934.

I’ve only done two other historical paper dolls this year and so I need to get on the ball with that one, huh?

And I need your help…

What series should I post next week?

  • Mini-Maiden (51%, 59 Votes)
  • Sprites (23%, 26 Votes)
  • Buxom & Bodacious (13%, 15 Votes)
  • Poppet (7%, 8 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequin (6%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 115

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And More Work in Progress… Historical Poppets & Hip-Hop

So, I confess that when I started this new schedule I thought it would be easier to keep up with, but these different types of posts have different types of requirements. I suppose, I am slowly learning what I like and don’t like about posting.

This Friday, we have some progress images from some of the paper doll sets I prepped earlier this week. I inked five pages from my sketchbook on Wenesday, added tabs to five, erased all the pencil work and then scanned.

All this and I now have 12 more paper doll sets in progress. Here are three of them:


Back when I was setting up my massive paper doll index, I realized that I really didn’t have any Edwardian era paper dolls (one has one outfit, technically). Strictly, the Edwardian era is the Reign of King Edward the 7th, or 1901-1910. However, it is not at all uncommon to extend the era to 1914 which is the beginning of World War 1, as it was such a major social change, or to back date it to the 1890s when Queen Victoria’s influence on society was on the wane.

Anyway, the point is that, if you measure the era by 1901-1910, I didn’t have a single paper doll which applied. Shocking, but true, so I drew these dresses based on designs from a 1908 Macy’s catalog for the Poppet series. Part of why I don’t like this era is that I am not a huge fan of the pigeon breast look which so central to the period.


In another dabble into historical children’s clothing for the Poppets, here is a set of dressed from the 1860s. These are from the early 1860s and are slightly higher waisted. I’ve also included pantaloons, shoes and hats. The accessories are meant to go with the two dresses.

As you may recall, I have dabbled in the 1869 before, but that era is practically the early 1870s anyway. These are early 1860s dresses before the whole bustle thing.


In a totally different theme, here is my foray into hip-hop fashion. The list of major hip-hop stars with fashion lines is astronomical, so it makes senses to create something in this vein. I confess to not knowing much about hip-hop fashion, but I have been doing my research and I am excited to post this first page of what will be a few pages. I have two more pages to finish.

And that is the little preview of what I’ve been working on all week!

Which sets are you guys looking forward too?

A 1300s Fashion Paper Doll

1300s-historical-paper-doll-logo Once again, we are dabbling in the 1300s with today’s paper doll. There’s no new sources for this one, so if you want to know what I referenced, than I would recommend returning to my last paper doll of the 1300s with a sources list at the bottom.

One of my goals for 2016 was to draw ten historical paper dolls. I confess I am far from achieving that goal and we’re halfway though the year (nearly), so I seriously need to get my act together on this one. So, my goal for the next few days is to buckle down and get some drawing, scanning and finishing done.

We’ll see how that goes.

I have a few days off work and I always start these things with a long list of “goals”, but I fear my plans are often larger than my capacity. Still, I’m out of backlog and nothing is as good as an artist motivation as desperation.

A 1300s fashion paper doll coloring page with a five piece wardrobe. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com.

{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color} {More Bodacious & Buxom Paper Dolls}

Picking out colors wasn’t very hard, since I seem to always come back to the same ones when it comes to the 1300s. I blame it on medieval manuscripts I have seen. I always think of the 14th century was being red and blue and gold.

Sterotypical, perhaps, but none the less. There we are.

A 1300s fashion paper doll with a five piece wardrobe. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

{Download a PDF of this paper doll in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Color{More Bodacious & Buxom Paper Dolls}

Between my new 1300s Buxom and Bodacious paper doll, my viking paper doll, and my Cranach paper doll, we’re starting to get a pretty nice set of early Western Fashions. I keep promising myself I’ll do one from a decade of the 19th century, but I can’t pick one. So, 19th century B&B series suggestions would be welcomed.

Lastly, I hope everyone has a delightful week.

Poppet’s in Spring Time

logo-poppet-spring-playtime So, I wasn’t going to post this today. I was going to post it later, but then I was complaining about how I didn’t know what to write.

And he said, “Do you have anything ready?”

And I said, “Well, I have some poppets, but I said I was only going to post paper dolls on Monday..”

And he said, “Do you really think anyone will mind an extra paper doll?”

And I was like, “You make a good point, honey.”

And here we are.

So, it’s not a Monday, but here’s a paper doll anyway!

A colorful set of paper doll clothing for the Poppets! A dress, blouse, shoes, pants and a skirt, plus some fun toys. Free to print from paperthinprsonas.com. A colorful set of paper doll clothing for the Poppets! A dress, blouse, shoes, pants and a skirt, plus some fun toys in black and white. Free to print and color from paperthinprsonas.com.

{Download a PDF in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Download a PDF to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG to Color} {Poppet Paper Dolls to Wear These Clothes}

These outfit pieces are in the same color scheme as Paradisea and Petal, so they cam mix and match with those girls wardrobes. The toys in this set are all based on two designs from Abby Glassenberg and are used with her permission.

I am somewhat embarassed to admit that I think I drafted this set at least a year ago. Possibly 2 years… either way, its finally up now. 🙂

Sometimes I am slow on these things. Don’t judge me!

I am hoping beyond hope that I can get out my sewing machine, but I’ll need to do some cutting first, so I don’t know if I am ready to sew. The truth is that very little sewing is actually “sewing” and a lot is “prepping”.

But this time I am going to make something I can post here in progress rather than have to wait until it is done.

Anyone else have fun plans for the weekend? Or want to say what they think about the paper doll? Drop me a comment.

A Lady’s 1912 Fashions: What a Fashionable & Practical Bride Wore

I have always been obsessed with the idea of trousseaux, as anyone who has read this post or this post or this post can attest.

While skimming through the 1912 issue of Good Housekeeping on my lunch break, I found this wonderful fully illustrated article on the 1912 trousseau. While I tried to capture photos with my iphone, I quickly realized that the quality of the images was much poorer than what I could download from HathiTrust, so I went with Hathi’s images. If you want to read the whole article in context, you can in the 1912 May issue of Good Housekeeping.

Good Housekeeping was founded in 1885 and was aimed at affluent housewives. It was not the very high-class Vogue magazine, founded in 1892, and was more inline with the other magazines founded by pattern companies such as Woman’s Home Companion and Lady’s Home Journal. Along with articles about fashion, Good Housekeeping published works about health, housekeeping, and budgeting. It also published short fiction pieces.

Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. image
Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. The Bridal party which includes the flower girl, bride, bridesmaid and the mother of the bride in 1912 fashions. Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. Three different suits are illustrated and described.
Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. Lingerie gowns described and illustrated from Good Housekeeping.
Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. Blouses from 1912. Her Wardrobe Article by Carolyn Trowbridge Radnor-Lewis about a bridal trousseau in 1912. Accessories from 1912.
Most of my trousseau knowledge comes from the 19th century when young women were advised by an etiquette manual to have two years worth of undergarments and one years worth of dresses before getting married. In 1912, however, ladies were advised to only put aside dresses for the next season as fashions were apt to change.

In total, the trousseau outlined here includes nine dresses (not including the wedding dress), six blouses and a variety of accessories. It is hard to tell from the text, if the gowns are “examples” of the styles recommended, rather than the entire list. Unlike today when a wedding gown is generally worn only for the occasion, I have yet to find a magazine in the 19th or the early 20th century which does not suggest choosing a wedding dress that can be adapted to be worn later.

Now, I confess, I am itching to illustrate one of these for a paper doll!

A Woodland Mage

woodland-mage-logoIt’s Monday! And that means a new printable paper doll!

I previewed this set last Wednesday. As I said before, this paper doll was inspired by the idea of woodlands, fauns and spirits of the forest. I wanted to create something that felt layered and collected, rather than planned or purchased.

When I designed these pieces, I was thinking of autumn. Of course, it’s not autumn here. Summer is officially here in Alabama, which means it was in the 90s today and horrible humid. I have been hot and miserable every-time I go outside. I don’t know who invented air conditioning, but I am so grateful to them.

Today’s woodland paper doll is being modeled by Margot. There’s sixteen pieces with today’s paper doll set which is a lot of mix and match options.

A woodland mage or perhaps a woodland fairy paper doll with a mix and match wardrobe.

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I went back and forth and back and forth about color options here. I wanted to do a autumn scheme at first with all oranges and browns and yellows, but that looked kinda dull. So, green got tossed in to the mix to add some zest and brightness.

The light browns were based on colors of deer, which I always think as being a big part of the forest. I’ve always loved deer, both as beautiful animals and as tasty chili. (Seriously, venison chili is amazing.)


{Click Here for a PDF to Print in Color} {Click Here for a PNG to Print in Color} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}
Many of my paper dolls are really characters I invent in my head who come from well formed worlds. Today’s is less so. I was thinking maybe a fairy of some type or a druid or perhaps a mage who focuses on woodland magics.

In truth, I don’t really know who this Margot paper doll is, but perhaps you have an idea you’d like to share in the comments?

Paper Doll Principles: Artistic Quality


One of my early paper dolls with an elaborate background.

Today, I want to talk about Artistic Quality and my belief that paper dolls should be beautiful both before and after they are cut out.

Listen, let’s do something radical for a moment, let’s think about Art.

No, let me say right now that I do not think of myself as an Artist. I just don’t 99% of the time. I am an avid doodler, a lover of paper dolls and someone who likes to draw.

But in that 1% of the time I do slip into that Artistic Head-Space, I realize a few things.

The first is that paper dolls are not fine art. There, I said it.

Now before people get out their pitch forks, let me tell you why.

Art is useless. By definition, a piece of art has only a decorative function. And this is wonderful. Making art is part of what makes us human and we should darn well continue doing it, but paper dolls are toys.


One of my more recent paper dolls with her custom background and layout.

That means they have a function- to be a plaything. (Remember my first Principle about playability?)

So, I think of paper dolls not as an art form, but more as a craft like sewing or quilting or knitting.

(This is not the place or the time to get into a debate about craft vs art. I will NOT go there, today.)

However, in the 1% of the time when I enter Artist Mode, I do consider two things.

The first is that paper dolls actually exist in two states.

State One is as a flat print object of a doll figure and her clothes. Sometimes, as a booklet, but often just as a flat sheet.

State Two is when the pieces have been cut out and then the paper doll can be fully realized as a toy.

If a paper doll is art, it is when it is in State One- flat sheet mode, before it has been cut.


Sometimes I use the same backgrounds on all the paper dolls in a series for coherence.

So, when the paper doll is just a sheet it needs to be attractive, just as it needs to be attractive when it is cut out.

The point I am making here is this- Layout and Format Matter!

The backgrounds I put on my paper dolls are there, because I think it makes for a more attractive work before it is cut out.

Now none of this matters if you are just creating for you, but once you start putting your work into the world, you have to ask, “Does this look good before it is cut? Does it look good after it is cut?”

So, I charge anyone who is thinking about these issues to go look at their favorite paper dolls and notice the layout, notice the time spent thinking about spacing, about placement, about clarity. These things are all important.

It’s not just about the doll and her clothes, it is about the whole experience.

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know 🙂

Work in Progress…

Just a quick, Works in Progress post today.

I have a whole list of paper dolls I am trying to get finished. Some are destined for the blog and some I hope to put up for sale eventually, once I get my act together.

First up we have one of the Sprites. She’s a mermaid, but a modern one. I liked the idea of a modern mermaid girl with some contemporary beach clothing along with her tail. Plus any excuse to draw an aqua-blue afro.


My little mermaid paper doll in progress.

One of the requests from my Patrons (Join if you wanna) was to create some more fantasy gowns for the Ms. Mannequin series. So, here are some! I actually drew these back in December, but just now have gotten around to posting any pictures of them. I am still coloring. I haven’t really settled on a color scheme for these, so it’s been a struggle.


Some fantasy gowns for the Ms. Mannequin series.

Third up is another Patron request which was “Woodland”. So, here’s my woodland fairy/fantasy set that I have been working on. I am thinking a green and autummal color scheme with lots of browns, greens, oranges, yellows and rusts.


A woodland paper doll set for one of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls.

And that’s what I’ve been working on!

Along with all this, I am also working on a series of videos about drawing paper dolls and am looking for questions about my process so I can answer them. I’ve gotten a great one so far, so anymore would be appreciated. Just leave them in the comments!

(Or anything else you want in the comments. I’m flexible.)

An 1830s Historical Paper Doll Coloring Page Featuring Greta

1830s-greta-logo The 1830s is an era of Western fashion that I have generally found mystifying. Poke bonnets, giant sleeves, caplets are all features of this era of historical dress and none of them have ever really appealed that deeply.

And yet, I am nothing if not someone who like to learn about stuff and sometimes I try to challenge myself. I want to embrace periods of fashion that I don’t really like all that much and so I found myself deciding that this year, I was going to try out the Romantic period.

I would, I told myself, draw a paper doll with 1830s fashions and I would enjoy it!

(Or at least not totally hate it.)

The 1830s are an interesting time fashion wise though. The introduction of the metal eyelet in 1828 means that the 1830s are the first era when corsets were really capable of being laced terribly tightly (metal eyelets can take a lot more stress than handsewn ones) and to make matters more interesting, vulcanized rubber was used in clothing as well for the first time in the 1830s. Innovations all around.

The cage carioline which was used to support skirts in the 1860s doesn’t exist yet, so skirts are held out with horse hair petticoats and horsehair sewn in the hems. That means the silhouette isn’t as full as it would become in a few decades.

A historical fashion coloring page featuring a paper doll and her 1830s wardrobe. Exclusive to paperthinpersonas.com

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All right, so Greta, the paper doll modeling these 1830s outfits has a full set of underwear from this era which includes a chemise, corset, petticoat and sleeve supports. In order to fill out huge leg-o-mutton sleeves of the era, women used a variety of sleeve supports of various sizes. I made hers small so the underwear could easily layer.

She has two dresses. A day dress based on this garment and a ballgown. I swear the ballgown is based on something, but try as I might, I just couldn’t find the reference image I used. So… Trust me? Greta also had a poke bonnet and some false hair styled in the Apollo Knot style.

Women in the 1830s went a little nuts in the hair department. See this fashion plate and you know what I mean.

I hope everyone enjoys this little foray into the 1830s. This is an era I should stick around with? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Also, I am looking for questions to answer in a video about inking paper dolls. So, if you have a question that you’ve always wanted answered, put it in the comments. 🙂

Female Proportions for Drawing

I used photos from SenshiStock to illustrate this post. Specifically, I used Sailor Sakky Walking Stock, because it was a neutral pose.

Back when I started drawing, I was taught proportion using the “heads” method. This is because we tend to think heads are larger than they are, so this method using the head as the basis of measurement and keeps them from getting huge. (Says the girl who draws lots of HUGE heads.)

The “Heads Method”


In the “Heads Method” The average female figure is 7 heads or 7.5 heads tall. The .5 head accommodates the length of the foot. Some people go with eight heads, which gives you a longer leaner figure. Fashion illustration often uses nine heads with the extra head usually put into the length of the legs.

The width of the shoulders is usually 2 to 2.5 heads. The hips at their widest point measure 2 heads and the waist usually measures 1 to 1.5 heads.

Now, let me be clear: No one in the real world has perfect proportions, but these numbers can act as guides for when you’re working on a figure.

But wait, you’re thinking, your paper dolls have HUGE heads. How do I manage that?

Ratios, baby. Ratios.

I actually prefer to think in ratios. I find it easier than thinking in heads.

The “Ratio Method”


In the “ratio” method, the body is broken into parts and they are measured based on the size of other parts.

For example, the distance from the top of the head to the waist is one third. The distance between the waist and the knees is another third. The distance between the knees and the bottom of the feet is another third. This creates an elongated figure who is nine heads tall.

For a “seven” heads figure, the distance between the top of the head and the crotch is the same as the distance from the waist to the bottom of the foot. (Blue lines above.)

But if you want to ignore the head completely, because you, like me, want to draw people with huge heads, than you can measure from the neck to the crotch is the same distance as from the crotch to the bottom of the foot. (Yellow Lines Above.)

On the left above is part of the B&B series. As you can see, she had the same distance from the top of her neck to her crotch as she does to the buttom of her foot. In short, she is proportional, ignoring her huge head.

On the right is Monica of the Marisole Monday & Friends Family. Monica is NOT proportional. I wanted to show that NOT ALL my paper dolls have proper proportions.

However, the more I draw, the more I find I like things better when I do pay attention to my ratios.

Questions? Comments? Let me know. 😀