Edwardian Mia: The Paper Doll and Her Underwear

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An Asian American paper doll with a set of Edwardian underwear. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

I was trying to decide which of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls would model this series of Edwardian dresses and I settled on Mia.

I was inspired to use her as the model when I found this wonderful photograph of an Asian woman, just called Alice, wearing a suit from probably the 1890s or early 1900s.

Today, Mia gets just a set of Edwardian underwear and, I confess, not even a complete set. Women in this era wore, in order, a chemise and drawers, or a combination, under a corset. Over the corset, she would have worn a corset cover and over that a petticoat. I decided to just show her corset cover and petticoat, thereby skipping a few layers. Seriously, ladies in this era wore a lot of underwear!

I based her underwear on this page from a catalog from 1902-1903. Her hair is the best I could do trying to draw a Gibson girl kinda bun like these. Drawing Gibson girl buns is clearly not my strength.

Though out the week I’ll be posting outfits for Mia and accessories on Thursday (as usual). I hope you all enjoy this little foray into the first decade of the 1900s.

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So, my question for all of you is, what to you think of this week’s theme?


  1. 😀 This is such a neat concept! Underthings of the past are just as layered and intricate as the pretty outfits. I love that Mia is the model this week. Thank you!

  2. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve been reading more about historical costuming, and there’s LAYERS of petticoats, not just one, but several. It’s crazy!

    I always enjoy when you do the historical dolls (but I enjoy most weeks).

    1. Yes, there were a lot of foundation garments. But these garments served two purposes:

      First of all, they supported the body. I know wearing a corset sounds miserable, but a properly laced corset actually provides the same support we get from a bra today. So, they were super helpful in that regard.

      Secondly, the layers protected things which couldn’t be washed. It’s really hard to wash a corset, for example, so you wore a chemise under one and a corset cover over one. That way the corset itself is unlikely to get stained or whatever. The layers also protected the dress from sweat and staining.

      But yeah, as good as I look in a corset, I do not want to go back to that.

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