Peony in the 1860s: A Paper Doll Dress from August 1862


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A paper doll with a dress from August 1862, boots and a hat from paperthinpersonas.com. Part of a week of civil war children's clothing designs for the Poppets paper doll series.This week I’m diving into civil war children’s clothing with the help of the Casey Fashion Plate Index from the Los Angeles Public Library. This fantastic resource has literally hundreds of fashion plates. Today’s Poppet dress comes from Magasin des Demoiselles, a French fashion magazine of the 19th century.

I named today’s Poppet paper doll Peony. I thought I was out of P flower names, but I never did a Peony, so Peony it is! Then I’ll have to decide what to do about Poppet paper dolls and their P names.

Despite what I was once told in a costume history class, children of the 19th century didn’t dress like miniature adults. There were, in fact, many complex social rules governing how children were dressed.

While adult women did not expose their arms unless they were attending a ball (or swimming, sometimes), children could have short sleeves, especially in the heat of summer. Today’s dress is and example of this from August 1862. I simplified some of the trimming and chose blue tonal color scheme over the red and black scheme of the original Civil War children’s clothing dress design.

Fashion plate from Casey fashion plate collection from August 1862 featuring two women and a child.

Alternatively, you can download the black and white version from the links at the top of the post.

Peony’s hat is trimmed in contrasting yellow roses and matching blue ribbon. Her boots are flat soled and side lacing, which was typical for civil war era shoes. Side laced and button up boots were both worn in the 1860s, but by the end of the decade button boots were much more popular. Her stockings should really be tights or held up by a garter belt, but in the interest of making things simpler, I decided to ignore that particular fact of history.

Should you be worried about her going commando, than fear not- she’ll get some proper undergarments on Accessory Thursday.

If you need another set of dolls to wear this clothing, here’s more of the Poppet family, just be sure to print them from the PDF without fit to page and everything should work out.

Thoughts? Comments? Solutions to my “P flower names” problem? As always, I love to hear from y’all and if you like the blog, consider supporting it by becoming a Patron.

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11 Responses to Peony in the 1860s: A Paper Doll Dress from August 1862

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Penelope, Penny, Patricia, Polly, Pollyanna, Patsy, Petunia, Primrose, Pansy, Pam, Pamela, Princess, Portia, Phryne. And I was too lazy to go back and look at what names you had already had so there are probably duplicates. It’s fun to think of names:) And there are websites with lists of Baby names that probably have lots more.

  2. Amy says:

    Pacaya (it’s a type of tropical palm), Peasblossom (I think this was one of the fairies in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream), Patrinia, Periwinkle, Petchoa, Phlox, Portulaca (another name for moss rose), Primula, Purslane, Peppermint, Parsley, and Pasque are some of the flower/herb names I’ve found. I’m not sure if you’ve used any of those yet.
    Also, ones that are floral related but maybe not really flowers, there are Potpourri, Pinks, Plum, Pepper, Perfume, or Perennial.

  3. Ticia says:

    I love this one! We’re about to start on modern history, so this is particularly timely. Now I need to see if you have anything for mid-1700s.

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