Peony in the 1860s: A Dress from January 1864


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I seemed to me that I should close up the week with a winter dress from 1864. A dress that speaks to snow and city streets. In my head, I picture Peony wrapping up in this velvet coat trimmed in soft white fur and heading out to shop for the holidays. I had looked for a plate from 1865 (that’s when the Civil War ended), but I fell in love with this winter dress from 1864. A year early, but I hope people don’t mind. Technically, the war ended in May 1865, so I guess I’m still safely in my Civil War era theme.

And to go with the coat, I had to create a muff. I love muffs, but don’t think they would be practical today since I need my fingers for driving and things.

I simplified the coat a bit, because I couldn’t seem to figure-out what was going on with the sleeves in the fashion plate. I thought they were maybe bracelet length, but then maybe not, based on her raised arm… Anyway, in the end, you can’t really see the sleeves thanks to the width of the skirt. One advantage of those wide skirts from Civil War era children’s clothing.

Fashion plate This particular coat comes from a fashion plate from Le Follet. Le Follet is yet another French fashion publication. It came out weekly from 1829 to 1871, making it useful for tracing 19th century French fashions. Like all fashion magazines, it is important to remember that the plates show an idealized and fantasy version of contemporary fashion.

Women didn’t actually dress in these outfits anymore than women today dress like what we see in Vogue. However, these images offer a window into what women aspired to look like. In short, the these images are a fantasy of the idealized world of glorious dresses and domestic life.

So, this ends our little foray into 1860s or Civil War era children’s clothing for the Poppet Paper Doll series. I’m a little sad to see it wrap as I have had a lot fun showing the fashion plates and talking about the era. If you missed a post, they are all linked below.

A Printable Paper Doll & Her Wardrobe of Civil War Era Children’s Clothing

I’ve had some questions about printing, so I want to mention this: When you print, you must make sure “fit to page” is NOT selected. That should give you the same size prints as before. I also do not recommend printing from the PNGs, because you can not control how your printer treats the file. This lack of control makes sizing a problem.

Importnat announcement: I’ve split up my personal and blog related twitter feeds. The new twitter feed for the blog is here. So, that will be home for the blog updates from now on.

As always, if you love the blog, consider supporting it on Patreon or just leave a comment. I always love comments. 🙂

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.

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.

Meet Paradisea: Printable Paper Doll

paradisea-logoToday’s printable paper doll is nearly the last of my 2014 backlog. Not to suggest I don’t have half finished paper dolls sitting around my hard drive waiting to be finished, because I have those dating back years and years, but this is the last piece of finished work from 2014.

It feels good to get her up and shared. I’m very pleased that the blog continues to chug along quite nicely. I got a lot of work done with my three day weekend. There will be some Buxom and Bodacious soon and a Pixie post, I think and some sketch book previews this week. All fun stuff.

Meanwhile, we have our latest Poppet paper doll here. She’s named Paradisea, one of the last of the P flower names that I have on file. I might have to switch to other names starting with P or to other flowers. I’m divided on which is a better solution.

I do love me my alliteration.

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Paradisea has a t-shirt and jeans. Her paper clothes are in the way color scheme as Petal’s clothing, allowing the dolls to mix and match. After all, paper doll friends should be able to share their clothes with each other.

Petal: A Printable Paper Doll of a Little Black Girl with Braids

petal-logoPetal is one of my new Poppet paper dolls. She’s got braids decorated with beads. When I lived in Illinois, the grocery store I usually shopped at was right next to a braiding place. The little girls coming out with their hair all braided and decorated with different colored beads were so cute. I chose white beads for Petal, since I thought those beads would match nearly anything.

Along with her braids, Petal has underwear, a skirt, a shirt and some shorts. I tried to base these clothes of things I’ve seen on the market for actual children. Since I don’t have kids of my own, I collect images of kids clothes on my Pinterest boards. Then I adapt them into paper dolls. I figure most people collect images for adapting into paper dolls. My image collections offer hints of things to come, though I have been known to keep projects on secret boards when I’m not sure I want them for public consumption.

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Meanwhile, I am working on polishing up my Search Engine Optimization. I don’t know much about this topic, but I have been trying to write better titles for my posts. Paper Thin Personas remains on the second page of Google search results for Printable Paper Dolls, a fact that I find increasingly frustrating. Oh well… I can’t win them all.

Also, in the realm of blog paper work, the Email Notification thingy on the sidebar should be back up and working. If you already signed up for email notifications when the site updates, you should be receiving them. If you’re not into email options, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I announce post updates there as well.

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to anyone whose celebrating. I’ll be making pie today and getting green beans prepped.

Meet The New Poppet Paper Doll – Posey

poppets-posey-school-logoSo, here I am kicking off June with a new Poppet paper doll named Posey.

I’d originally intended to give all my Poppets flower names beginning with P; however, I find I am rather running out of them. The only other two I can think of are Pansy (which I would use, except for that fact that it’s a rather derogatory name for an effeminate man and I just don’t like the connotation) or Peony which I will use one day, but calling the Asian paper doll Peony seemed horribly stereotypical. So, this leaves me with Posey for our new paper doll.

Anyone know of any other P flower names? I suppose I could branch out (pardon the pun) into other P girl’s names or simply other flower names.

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Now, Posey’s outfit is based, very vaguely, on a some of the school uniforms I saw when I was studying in England, though it lacks the jacket. I drew the blouse first and I didn’t want to lose the sleeve detail by sticking it under a jacket.

Poor excuse, perhaps, but true none the less.

I confess that I’m not totally pleased with how the skin tone turned out… I recolored it at the last minute, because the other skin tone was horrible. Still, I don’t know how much I like it.

All in all, it’s really good to be back. 🙂

Poppets in a Summer Daze

logo-poppet-summer-dazeYes, I know it’s like 30 degrees outside and there’s frost on the grass in the mornings and I’m wearing a wool coat, because I have finally acclimatized to the warmth of Alabama. And I don’t personally wish it was summer. I like the winter. I like the cold. I like rain and grey skys and falling leaves.

However, I also really like cute red-headed paper dolls with shorts and colorful t-shirts.

It was recently pointed out to me that of my white paper dolls, I have a disproportionate number of redheads. This is true. I love red hair. I think it’s wonderful. I don’t have redhair, but I envy people with red hair. Therefore my paper dolls get red-hair more often than perhaps is genetically normal.

Oh, I should mention that I have thought that the sunglasses would work really well and you could hook the two ends together behind the dolls head. When I tried this out, it totally didn’t work, so I recommend taping the ends together and slipping them over the dolls head. My paper engineering skills are in need of some work. I won’t lie about that.

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Seventh night of Hanukkah tonight. I love the end of Hanukkah when all the candles are lit and the menorah glow is so bright and beautiful. As a reminder, these paper dolls are scaled to print out as a half page, not a full page. You are welcome to have your printer scale them up, just be aware that every printer does that differently. 🙂