Peony in the 1860s: A Paper Doll with a 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.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Ballgown


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A fantasy ballgown with a neo-victorian flare for a printable paper doll from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Friday!

It seems only proper to close out the week of steampunky paper doll goodness with a ballgown, don’t you think? I mean, after all, it is the most formal of the formal. Ballgowns were just below Court Dress on the formal scale and Court Dress was pretty much as formal as it got.

Plus Court Dress came with crazy rules like it had to have a train and at one point, it had to have panniers and… I could go on.

Since it amuses me (and that’s all that matters), let’s continue this week’s tradition of 19th century style explanations of Monica’s steampunk or neo-victorian outfits, here’s my ballgown description:

An elegant ball or evening dress suitable for a young matron or unmarried lady in pale leaf green trimmed in lavender. The bodice is two tones of green with a lavender side lacing and the skirt is cut in the mermaid silhouette with curved frills of satin flaring elegantly to the floor in pale blue, lavender and green. 

One of the great things about all the outfits this week is that they are in the same color scheme, so if you wanted too, you can mix and match say the bodice of yesterday’s dinner dress with today’s skirt for a whole different look. Or I think Monday’s walking suit jacket would look dynamite with yesterday’s skirt. And those are just the first two ideas that came to me.

Quick reminder: Black and white versions can be downloaded at the top of the post. 🙂

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe

I do want to address one other thing. I was asked my a few people (one comment, one email) if it would be possible on Friday’s to combine all the outfits of the week into one page for ease of printing. The answer is No, for two reasons. Reason 1: I actually started this format to get away from having to do layout work which is super time consuming.

Reason 2: (And this is the cool reason) These pieces wouldn’t fit on one page. Back in the old system, I would have draw two skirts and then four tops, two shoes and then a smattering of hats and other accessories. Over the course of the week we’ve had four skirts, four tops, five hats, two pairs of shoes, two parasols, one walking stick and a bag. That’s 15 pieces!

You are actually getting MORE paper doll content this way AND its less time consuming for me. Everyone wins!

By the way, I want to add that both people who asked these questions were super nice about it and I don’t mind at all getting questions and thoughts from you all. Please keep them coming.

So, on that note, questions? Comments? Thoughts? Let me know.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: Accessory Thursday With Shoes, Parasols & Hats


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Printable paper doll accessories including shoes and hats! Also available in black and white. From paperthinpersonas.com.

It’s Accessory Thursday! Yay!

But to come down from the high for a moment, it has occurred to me that I’m not really sure how to write a pseudo-19th century fashion plate description of these pieces.

So, instead, I thought I would wax philosophical about accessories. In the real work, I am not a big accessories girl, but in the paper doll world, I just love them. Back when I was a kid, I had a paper doll book called, The Victorian Cat Family. It was an amazing paper doll book with literally thousands of fantastic tiny accessories all of which I painstakingly cut out.

Oh, the memories… Still love that book.

Anyway, I’m not the greatest artist when it comes to non-clothing items, but I try to spice things up with parasols, hats and shoes. Part of the fun of hats is that they change up an outfit. Also, I just love love love drawing paper doll shoes.

(Yes, I realize that is a kinda quirky thing to love. No, I am not ashamed.)

If you missed Monday, you might need a doll to wear theses fun shoes. Here’s Monica all ready for her neo-Victorian wardrobe.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Dinner or Carriage Dress


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Printable paper doll steampunk inspired dress with a matching hat. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Wednesday!

All righty, Dinner or Carriage dresses were worn to evening of later afternoon events that were formal, but not formal enough to warrant full-dress. Carriage dresses are often identifiable, because they are are more fussy and formal than promenade dresses.

The basic order of formality is a walking suit is less formal then a promenade toilette which is less formal than a carriage dress. A dinner dress is less formal than a evening dress, but may also be worn to evening events like come concerts or lectures. Opera was its own insane category.

Who ever said Victorian dressing was simple?

Continuing my 19th century fashion magazines descriptions, here is today’s:

A pale blue bolero jacket with pale blue sleeve puffs worn over a lavender corset with brass button accents. The neckline of the corset is filled with a pale blue high-necked blouse. The matching skirt is lavender and trimmed in pale green with three rows of blue ruffles. The hat is a bowler style trimmed with dark purple fabric roses and a wide blue ribbon band. Without the hat, this ensemble would be a lovely dinner attire and with the hat would be appropriate for afternoon visiting or carriage rides.

I have to confess, I have never been one of those people who romanticizes history. I’m pretty much certain that I like air conditioning, indoor plumbing and antibiotics too much to want to live in the past, but sometimes when I’m working on fantasy romanticized history pieces like this series, I start to think, “Hmmm… it might be fun to get to put on fancy dresses and go to a ball!”

So tell me in a comment what era of history you’d like to visit sometime. I’ve never been able to settle on one, but I think it might be fun to visit the Library of Alexandria or the Aldine Press in Venice.

(My library geek is coming out in those choices.)

Thoughts from all of you? What time period would you like to visit?

If you missed Monday, pop over to that post for Monica and if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. 

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A House or Morning Costume


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A neo-victorian morning dress or house dress with a hat designed for the Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll series.

Today’s neo-Victorian costume for Monday’s Monica moves to a much lower rung of the formality ladder.

Today, Monica has a morning costume or a house dress. There really shouldn’t be a hat with this costume, because house dresses and morning dresses were not something women wore outside. Still, I drew a lot of hats with these outfits. So, I thought people might enjoy a spare hat today.

To once again channel my inner 19th century fashion magazine, here we go:

A lavender shirtwaist of the crispest cotton with a jabot at the neckline. The sleeves are long and go over the hands, replacing the need for gloves of any sort. Worn over the shirt waist is a decorative long corset of misty blue leather trimmed in pale green ribbon. The skirt is tightly fitted, as is the current fashion, and made to match the corset’s trimmings. There is a decorative band of tea green right before the knees and then asymmetrical layers of ruffles. The matching hat is green and trimmed in over-sized bows.

I am having way more fun writing these 19th century style descriptions of these outfits than I really should probably admit to most people.

Still, I kinda figure that if you’re reading the blog than you probably already know that I am a trifle quirky and such things shouldn’t bother you at all.

Black and white versions can be downloaded at the top of the post, as usual.

If you love the blog, please think about becoming a patron and, if you’re not up for that, leave a comment. I love hearing from y’all.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: The Doll & Her Visiting or Promenade Toilette


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Monica, an african-american neo-victorian paper doll with her walking suit. Also available in black and white for coloring. From paperthinpersonas.com.

So, here we are in week two of the new system for PTP. It’s very exciting. I am feeling excited. Also a little nervous, I must confess.

Monica is our model today. She is, of course, from the Marisole Monday & Friend’s series. This whole week will be a neo-Victorian/Steampunk inspired week with hats, skirts and jackets. As I know I’ve said before, I have a THING for the whole idea of different outfits for different activities. When I’m in Victorian fantasy land, I like to decide which outfit goes with which Victorian activity.

A lady of quality in the Victorian era had a variety of gowns at different levels of formality. At one end of the scale was the house dress or morning dress and at the other end of the scale was a ballgown or full-dress.

Monica’s suit today is a promenade costume, I think. To channel my inner-19th century fashion magazine (everyone should have an inner 19th century fashion magazine), here how I would describe it:

A promenade or afternoon visiting costume in purple wool with a matching jacket. Underneath the jacket, the model wears a lavender shirtwaist. The jacket is trimmed in pale teal and aqua velvet and satin. A wide band of lavender satin decorates the skirt and then several rows of aqua ruffles. The chapeau is dyed to match the suit and trimmed in rosettes of aqua silk, feathers and brass buttons. The entire ensemble is quite smart for street or afternoon wear.

Sometimes I am conflicted as to whether I like the term Neo-Victorian or the term Steampunk better. The truth is that I think this set is more Neo-Victorian in its styling. One of the tropes of Steampunk is high technology made through steam-power and there’s none of those aesthetics in this paper doll. However, no matter how I feel about it, I confess that the SEO for steampunk is far better than the SEO for neo-Victorian.

Thoughts from the audience on that one?

Oh, and a few “housekeeping” things. The link to the coloring page version of today’s paper doll is at the top with the links to the PDF. As always, I strongly urge you to print from the PDF copy and to print it however you have been printing them from the beginning. That will assure that the new stuff and the old stuff still fits.

Last but not least, please consider taking a second to support the blog by becoming a patron.

Isadora Goes to Prom: Paper Doll Coloring Pages


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A paper doll prom dress for the Mini-Maiden series featuring a high-low hem and some beaded details. From paperthinpersonas.com.

These high low dresses certainly seem to be sticking around. I confess when I first saw them, I thought they looked kinda absurd, but the whole style has grown on me. Now, I rather like them. I’m also starting to kinda like skinny jeans. Clearly, there is something wrong with me.

At the top of this paper doll dress, I put some beading/sequin/ruching detail. I think it could be any of those things, depending on how you color it. I was thinking a combo of sort of a beading and ruched detail when I drew it, but don’t let that stop you from coloring it anyway you like.

That is, after all, the power of paper doll coloring pages- You get to decide what it becomes.

Friendly reminder- the dark lines on the skirt should be cut along carefully, so you can wrap the back of the skirt around the back of the paper doll. The shorter front of the skirt will fall over the front of the paper doll. This kind of trimming sometimes easiest to do with an Xact-o knife or razor blade, but if you use one, I would do it on a cutting board or some cardboard or something.

If you don’t, you will cut your countertop and then you will pray your mother never notices. (Ask me how I know…)

The Rest of This Week’s Isadora Prom Paper Doll Coloring Page Posts

All right, so I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s paper doll prom series. I certainly had fun posting them.

Now, I’m going to go get ready for my weekend and also be grateful that my parents replaced that counter-top before I ever had to explain any youthful antics involving paper doll coloring pages and Xact-o knives.

Ignoring my childhood misadventures for the moment, please consider taking a second to tell me what you think of this new pattern of posting and/or support the blog by becoming a patron.

Isadora Goes to Prom: Accessory Thursday


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Prom based accessory set including paper doll shoes, handbags and gloves. They fit the Mini-Maiden series. From paperthinpersonas.com

So, I have the best boyfriend ever for two reasons. First of all, he puts up with me when I am at my worst which is something only someone who loves me would do. Secondly, he not only listened to me talk about the blog for three hours one day, but he came up with a fun idea of his own- “Accessory Thursdays”.

Some Thursdays I’ll be posting accessories for that week’s paper doll. One thing, he noticed was most of my paper dolls had cool accessories . So, he thought I should post them all on one day. I’m not promising every week will have an Accessory Thursday, but here is the first of this new tradition.

In this paper doll prom related accessory set, we have a three pairs of strappy high heels to go with any of the dresses. I don’t think it comes to a shock to ANY of my readers that I like to draw paper doll shoes. After all, I kinda have a thing for shoes. Meanwhile, she also has four different handbags, since any girl needs her cellphone, lipstick, and a flask to spike the punch. Where else is she going to put all that?

(I am not condoning anyone spiking their prom punch.)

Lastly, I added in a pair of long gloves. I just think gloves are so darn elegant, though I have never worn a pair.

Tomorrow, there will be a round-up of all the posts this week and then, of course, another dress. So that’ll end the first week of this new format.

I’d love to hear what people have enjoyed or not enjoyed so far, if you like to support PTP, than consider becoming a patron.

Isadora Goes to Prom: Part 3


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Two short prom dresses for the Mini-Maidens paper dolls. Print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

Two paper doll dresses today for the prom going paper dolls. (Here’s Isadora whose got the hair-do for these dresses)

So, in my prom dress research, I learned that short prom dresses are in right now. I’ll confess, I don’t like short dresses. I am a maxi lenght girl, but I’m also pretty tall. I have been told by my height challenged friends that short dresses are nice when you’re not tall.

(I have no clue what it feels like to not be tall, but I trust my non-tall friends to know things about being short that I will never know.)

Anyhow, the prom trend for short dresses seems like a nice option for people who don’t like long dresses. The paper doll dress on the right is a more sophisticated cocktail sort of option. Very modern with that obi-sash detail. The paper doll dress on the left is actually a take on a dress I drew years ago for this Marisole Monday Prom Paper Doll set back in 2010.

So, my question is, who was into short dresses for their prom? I wasn’t, but I suspect I have readers who went the short dress route.

So, tell me in a comment. I’m quite curious.

Also, if you want support the blog, I have a Patreon page.

Isadora Goes to Prom: The Sequel


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A prom dress for a paper doll with a wrap bodice and some beading detail. This dress fits any of the MIni-Maiden paper dolls and it's free from paperthinpersonas.com.

If there is one thing I noticed while looking at way more prom dresses than any person not planning to go to prom should have to look at, it was the amount of beading detail on these gowns. Every gown it seemed like had some sorta beading or sequin detail.

Made me feel weird for not really liking sequins that much.

I wondered if maybe I liked sequins when I was sixteen, but I don’t think I did. In fact, I can’t remember ever being like, “Yay! Sequins.”

However, I am not the average prom-goer, so on the right side of the bodice of this paper doll prom dress there’s a little beading detail, just to keep things interesting. You might have to look closer to really get to see it.

Otherwise, this is a pretty basic long gown with a wrap bodice. I confess I don’t have much more to say about it.

I’ve drawn similar gowns before, I know. There’s one here, one here and one here. Clearly, it’s a style I like, but I also notice that it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Do you need a doll to wear this stylish dress? Here’s Isadora ready for Prom!

As always, I love to hear comments or, if you’d like to support the blog further than become a patron.