Marisole Monday & Friends in 1830s Fashion

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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: This 1830 fashion plate, Bonnets
A green 1830s paper doll dress based on a fashion plate from 1830 with a matching bonnet and shoes from

I’ve written before that the 1830s are a period of fashion I find a little absurd looking. Yet, the more I draw clothing from those years, the more it grows on me.

I am starting to almost like the era. Just almost.

So, a quick overview of the fashions of this era shows an abundance of sleeves and bonnets. If the three decades from 1800 to 1830 were the era of the column silhouette, than the 1830s were the era of the oval. The sloping shoulders, wide-sleeves, round bonnets, and full skirts all give a oval shape to the silhouette.

Plus, the wide skirts and sleeves also emphasized the desirable small waist, often accented with a belt.  The invention of metal eyelets in 1828 allowed for a much tighter fit on a corset. There was no longer the danger of the lacing cutting through the hand-sewn eyelet due to tight lacing. So, waists got smaller.

Like the earlier part of the century, people were still super into the Ancient Civilizations.  So, references to the Roman and Greek civilizations abound. Hairstyles have names like Apollo’s Knot, one of the dumbest looking hairstyles ever. The hair in this fashion plate is an Apollo’s Knot style and so is this. It was very popular. And, clearly, not one of my favorites.

Anyway, this 1830 fashion plate from the Casey Fashion Plate Index inspired today’s outfit.  As hard as it is to believe, I actually simplified the bonnet from the original drawing. Bonnets are not my forte, so I have mixed feelings about how this one turned out.

All in all, however, I think I didn’t do a bad job on today’s foray into 1830s fashion.

What do you think? More of this era in order? Not a favorite?

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An 1830s Historical Paper Doll Coloring Page Featuring Greta

1830s-greta-logo The 1830s is an era of Western fashion that I have generally found mystifying. Poke bonnets, giant sleeves, caplets are all features of this era of historical dress and none of them have ever really appealed that deeply.

And yet, I am nothing if not someone who like to learn about stuff and sometimes I try to challenge myself. I want to embrace periods of fashion that I don’t really like all that much and so I found myself deciding that this year, I was going to try out the Romantic period.

I would, I told myself, draw a paper doll with 1830s fashions and I would enjoy it!

(Or at least not totally hate it.)

The 1830s are an interesting time fashion wise though. The introduction of the metal eyelet in 1828 means that the 1830s are the first era when corsets were really capable of being laced terribly tightly (metal eyelets can take a lot more stress than handsewn ones) and to make matters more interesting, vulcanized rubber was used in clothing as well for the first time in the 1830s. Innovations all around.

The cage carioline which was used to support skirts in the 1860s doesn’t exist yet, so skirts are held out with horse hair petticoats and horsehair sewn in the hems. That means the silhouette isn’t as full as it would become in a few decades.

A historical fashion coloring page featuring a paper doll and her 1830s wardrobe. Exclusive to

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All right, so Greta, the paper doll modeling these 1830s outfits has a full set of underwear from this era which includes a chemise, corset, petticoat and sleeve supports. In order to fill out huge leg-o-mutton sleeves of the era, women used a variety of sleeve supports of various sizes. I made hers small so the underwear could easily layer.

She has two dresses. A day dress based on this garment and a ballgown. I swear the ballgown is based on something, but try as I might, I just couldn’t find the reference image I used. So… Trust me? Greta also had a poke bonnet and some false hair styled in the Apollo Knot style.

Women in the 1830s went a little nuts in the hair department. See this fashion plate and you know what I mean.

I hope everyone enjoys this little foray into the 1830s. This is an era I should stick around with? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Also, I am looking for questions to answer in a video about inking paper dolls. So, if you have a question that you’ve always wanted answered, put it in the comments. 🙂