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.

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.

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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.

Nautical Summer: Paper Doll Clothing

logo-poppet-nautical One of the challenges of the Poppets is coming up with ideas, because contemporary children’s clothing is strangely the same as contemporary adult clothing, just shrunk down. (I could go into a while childhood studies discussion of this, but let’s not.) I however think that kids should look like kids, not like mini-adults and therefore I tend towards old-fashioned kids clothing. The Poppets, being children’s dolls, also get semi-old fashioned kids clothes. What can I say? My paper doll clothing tends to reflect my interests.

Something about warm weather always gets me thinking about the seashore. Today it was 80 degrees outside! Spring has come to Alabama and while I don’t dislike winter, I love Spring and Fall in my adopted state. It’s warm enough to go outside without a jacket and not yet so warm that I don’t want to go outside, becuase it’s over 90 degrees and 80% humidity. In honor of Spring, I decided to post nautical paper doll clothing.

A set of nautical inspired paper doll clothes for the Poppet paper doll series. Also available in black and white from paperthinpersonas.com. A set of nautical inspired printable paper doll clothes for the Poppet paper doll series. Also available in color from paperthinpersonas.com.

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This whole set was inspired by this wonderful Whale fabric I found on Pinterest. I have a whole board devoted to patterns and I use it to collect inspiring pieces of fabric, wall paper or carpets that I see. Anyway, I saw that whale and I thought, “I bet that would make a cute motif for a t-shirt.”

Of course, by the time I was done it looked a lot different than the one on the fabric, but that was my inspiration for the top.

It’s always amazing to me what things can inspired other things. 🙂

So, I was trying to print some of these out to send to a friend and I discovered that on a Windows machine, Adobe’s fit to page works totally different than on a Mac. I couldn’t just move the image over to fit in the printable space. It was very annoying.

Since these guys are sized to print out as a half page, because I originally conceived of one day putting them into booklet format, the placement of the image really does matter. To fix this problem, I stick a one inch white border around the PDF.

If you’ve always been printing them as a 5 by 8, this might not matter. However, if you have been printing them as a larger scale, this might matter for fit purposes.

Let me know if anyone hates this and I’ll decide if I can come up with a better solution that doesn’t require me re-doing the whole series.

At the Seaside: 1890s Paper Doll Children’s Clothes

Poppet logo. 1890s historical paper doll children's clothes. First of all, Merry Christmas to anyone who celebrates. Today we have a completely non-thematic set of paper doll clothes. 🙂 This is what happens to me at the end of the year. I’m just all about getting the stuff I have done posted, so today we have some 1890s beachwear for the Poppets with a sailor suit and a swim suit.

Sailor suits were very popular in the 1890s and they were worn by all different ages of children (and some adults). You can find examples all over the place if you happen to be looking. I used the book Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree” which happens to be out of print, but is a great resource. Both the swimming costume and the sailor suit come from the illustrations in this book.

One of the interesting things about sailor suits is that they didn’t change in style much. Here is an example from La Semaine De Suzette in 1908. (La Semaine De Suzette was a French children’s magazine that published sewing patterns for the doll Bleuette through out its many year run. There are passionate collectors of the dolls who make the wonderful patterns. Someday I would love to do a paper doll of some of the amazing Bleuette patterns.) Some more examples from various eras include this sailor suit from the 1920s, a magazine illustration from 1890 and an extant example from 1905. Clearly, the sailor suit stuck around for a long while, making them a great subject for paper doll clothes.

A set of 1890s paper doll clothes for the Poppet printable paper doll series. Free to print in color from Paperthinpersonas.com A set of 1890s paper doll clothes for the Poppet printable paper doll series. Free to print from Paperthinpersonas.com

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Our paper doll’s swimsuit is also from Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree”. Swimsuits in this era never look like they would be very comfortable or easy to swim in to me. Still I liked the little ruffles on the sleeves.

Posey is the paper doll modeling today’s 1890s outfits, but Peach probably has the most historical hair style of the bunch with her curls.

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas with family or not, as you prefer. 🙂

A Hanukkah Printable Paper Doll!

poppet-hannukah-logoHappy Hanukkah to everyone like me who is celebrating tonight! It’s the Sixth night of Hanukkah tonight and I’ll be lighting the candles in my window and saying my prayers at sundown. Some of you might be playing with this set of Poppet paper doll clothes.

I always tell myself I am going to do a Hanukkah paper doll and then I never seem to actually pull it off. This year I managed it. I chose the Poppets, because Hanukkah tends to be most celebrated by those with children. Plus the Poppets are dolls and I can imagine that dolls might be given as a gift and that seems fitting.

For the holiday, the Poppets have a sweater, tights with Stars of David on them, and a purple skirt trimmed in blue. Of course, they also have a menorah.

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A menorah is a candelabra that usually holds nine candles. Eight candles are for each night of Hanukkah, and the ninth candle, which stands usually taller than the others, is to light the eight candles. It is called the shamas. So, every night you say prayers, light the shamas and use it to light the other candles. Chabad has a nice FAQ about the holiday, if you want to know more.

Frankly, drawing a menorah is actually rather hard. I ended up drawing half of this one and then using photoshop to duplicate it. I don’t think it came out very well, but there is always next year.

I keep telling myself I will be organized enough to do something special over the holiday, like Julie at Paper Doll School does during her month of December post. I never seem to really get around to it. The Holidays are just such a busy time for me.

Again, maybe next year.

I hope that whatever holiday everyone is celebrating this time of the year (or no holiday, that’s cool too) is filled with friendship, family and fellowship.

Smart Winter Clothes: 1940s Printable Paper Doll Clothes

poppet-1940s-logoThere aren’t a lot of really good books on historical children’s clothing. I know I’ve mentioned before my pet-peeve of people making the assumption that “children dressed like adults” which is a huge over simplification of the history of childhood.

For this 1940’s outfit, I used Children’s Fashions 1900-1950 As Pictured in Sears Catalogs. The book is out of print, which I think is a pity, since it is one of the few fashion history books that specifically focuses on children’s dress. There are a few others, but this is one of my favorites.

The original dress was patterned, but I worried if I added a pattern I would lose the heart shaped pocket details and the pleats, so I went patternless. Sometimes I think busy patterns obscure some of the more interesting design details.

I stuck with simple underwear- just a pair of panties- and shoes with socks. Mary-Janes are my favorites in any era. There would probably be a slip worn under this dress, but it didn’t occur to me to draw one until later, so we’re going slipless.

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The color scheme I think came from a catalog page, but now I can’t find it. I usually save these things on Pinterest, but alas. So, you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Both these garments are from the early part of the decade before World War Two. Once the war starts, things like pleated skirts are largely out of the picture due to fabric rationing. However, before the war, they are very much in style.

For those of you who might be curious, Petunia is modeling our 1940s outfit.

So, I hope everyone in the US had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I made pie! Everything’s better with pie. After nearly a decade, I think I have finally mastered my mother’s pie crust recipe. I still think she makes better pie than me. There is something about the pie made by family. Nothing is ever as good.

As usual, I always love to hear from readers in the comments. And if you like the paper dolls, please consider supporting PTP through Patreon.

Poppet Pirate: Printable Paper Doll

poppets-logo-pirateLast week I posted a fairy costume for the Poppet paper dolls. This week, we’ve got a pirate costume for the Poppet paper dolls.

Some people had store bought costumes, but in my family that was strictly out. All of our costumes were always homemade. When I was designing this pirate costume for the Poppet paper dolls, I imagined a little girl getting one of her father’s shirts, perhaps and a scarf from her mother’s drawer and a pair of old pants that got cut off and patched and a plastic sword and getting to be a pirate. I have distinct and fond memories of brainstorming with my mother what I wanted to be for each Halloween.

One year, my best friend went as a girl in a poodle skirt and I went as a poodle.

Another year, I was a head of garlic. Yes, I wanted to be a head of garlic and bless my mother, she didn’t even blink. She came up with a way to use white garbage bags to make a head of garlic costume for her very odd first-grade daughter.

It should come as no shock that I was an odd child.

I imagine therefore that this costume is homemade. Pirates are always a fun easy homemade costume to go with.

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I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween on Saturday. Julie, Boots, and I will be sharing our Collaborative paper doll! I can’t wait for everyone to see her. She came out great.

A Fairy Costume for Halloween

poppets-logo-fairyFor the next two Friday’s I’ll be giving the Poppet’s some Halloween costumes. Today, we have a fairy and next week, there will be a pirate for these printable paper dolls.

So, when I draw things like fairy paper dolls they fall into one of two categories- “Real Fairies” or “Fairy Costumes.” Sometimes I am creating a printable paper doll of a fantasy creature like a mermaid or a fairy and that is a different idea than creating a Halloween costume of that creature.

So when I created this fairy costume, I was thinking strictly of it as a costume sort of experience, rather than an actual creature. I hope that makes sense.

Despite this the wings are intended to be glued to the back of the paper doll or you could use double sided tape. I realize this means they are non-removable, but over the years I have come to conclude that this is the best way to attach wings. I have tried other methods, but they don’t seem to really work very well. Plus there is nothing stopping you from printing several of the Poppets and having “winged” and “normal” versions. After all, that’s part of the power of printable paper dolls. They can always be re-printed.

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Modeling the fairy costume is Petal, one of the Poppet paper dolls. Of course, any of the Poppet dolls can wear the costume.

Halloween is my most consistent paper doll holiday. I’ve done Halloween paper dolls every year starting in 2010. In no real order, they have been a vampire, a costume set, a ghost, another vampire, and a collab between me, Boots, Liana and Toria.

Tomorrow at midnight EST our Paper Doll Round Robin closes. The guidelines are all explained here. Please join us! We’ve had some great contributions so far and we hope for more.

Promenade and Play: Victorian Paper Doll Clothes for the Poppets

logo-promenade-playSo, life this week has been a roller coaster of sickness and travel, but I promised a second page of clothes for Peach in the Park to expand her Victorian paper doll wardrobe and I am pleased to say that here they are.

In no real order, in this set of paper doll clothes there is a promenade dress or afternoon dress, a gymnastics outfit and a set of underwear consisting of a chemise, drawers and a stayband or corset. She also has a pair of shoes with stockings and a ballgown for her doll. It is entirely possible that the doll’s little ballgown is my favorite piece of the entire set, though drawing that small was a challenge. (Seriously, the doll is like two inches tall in real life. I kid you not.)

I drew these designs based on illustrations from several different Victorian fashion magazines including Harpers Bazaar and La Mode Illustre, which as French. I highly recommend Dover’s excellent books of fashion plate reprints when working on Victorian period fashions- they bring a richness to the process of research that is of great value. Plus it’s fun to draw surrounded by open books (at least, I think it is fun.)

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By the late 1860s, early 1870s, sporting activities were encouraged for children. Gymnastic’s costumes like the one in brown are often shown in magazines along with yachting and skating outfits. While it is hard to imagine a child really running around in the bustled up skirts of the era, it is possible to imagine them doing so in one of these more practical outfits.

I also think it is important to remember that while fashion magazines show perfectly coifed children, actual children’s garments are often more worn and simpler. Kid’s did get out in play even in the 1800s and parents did not dress them like little adults, despite what my fashion history teacher told me. The length of a girl’s skirt indicated her age. The poppets are, in my mind, between the ages of 8 and 11, so their skirts are mid-calve. The skirts would slowly lower until maturity when they would be floor length for many, thought not all, activities.

As a reminder, because I forget this sometimes too- any of the Poppet paper dolls can wear any of the other Poppet paper doll’s clothing. So, while I was thinking of Peach when I made these outfits, they could also be worn by Petunia, Paradisea, Poppy, Posey, Petal, or Primrose.

That is a lot of P names.

Anyway, enjoy the Victorian paper doll outfits.

Peach in the Park: A Victorian Printable Paper Doll

logo-peach-parkToday’s Poppet paper doll is all about Victorian children’s clothing of the late 1860s and early 1870s. I love Victorian children’s clothing. I just love it. I even love it in the 1840s when I generally think all the clothing looks really stupid.

I think it is a combination of my natural fascination with childhood studies and exposure to books like The Little Princess at a young and impressionable age. It is likely also because I have a fondness for the idea of antique dolls with little wardrobes of perfectly sewn clothing pieces. The Little Princess was full of dolls. Anyone else remember that book?

And I am not talking about the Shirley Temple movie version where her father wasn’t really dead. I’ve never forgiven them for changing that part.

Anyway, we have Peach, a new Poppet paper doll, with an elegant promenade costume from Godey’s Lady’s Magazine in 1969. Her fashion doll also has a Promenade costume from that same fashion plate. I couldn’t find a decent reproduction of the plate online. Because Godey’s plates folded out, when people digitize the bound volumes they rarely take the time to fold out the plates. The result is that the text is reproduced, but not the folded plate. This is one of my pet peeves about mass digitization projects.

Back to the paper doll- Peach has, of course, a French fashion doll with her who I have left unnamed. Her fashion doll has a walking dress of her own with a hat attached. I have rarely drawn something as small as the fashion doll and I am worried a little about the fit of the gown. I did a quick Photoshop fit test, but you might want to leave some black border for wiggle room on that one. I love the whole paper dolls with their own dolls which are also paper dolls thing. It is hard to pull off though.

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Anyway, I used several sources when working on today’s paper doll. The doll herself is based on the brown-complexioned bisque bebe dolls produced in France and Germany by companies like Steiner, Bru, Jumeau and many others. You can see some examples of these dolls on my Pinterest Board about Antique dolls. These dolls were most common in the late 19th century. As I mentioned above, her dress is from an 1869 Godey’s Lady’s Journal fashion plate. I used Dover’s excellent book- 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates, 1838-1880 (ISBN: 978-0486402222), now out of print, for the 1869 plate. I know there are lots of sources online today for fashion plates, but too many of them omit the context of the plates, since plates were often cut. That is why I like having books of fashion plates in my collection for reference.

Next week, I will share a related Poppet clothing set with some underwear from the 1870s- when even children wore staybands or corsets- and two more outfits and a ballgown for her doll. Also, another pair of shoes with stockings.

I really do have to draw more historical children’s clothing for the Poppets. I had far to much fun with this set.

Remember that you’ll need to cut along the shoulders of the paper doll, so that she can wear her dress.