Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a Suit from 1860s


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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Sarah Josepha Hale, 1860’s Men’s Clothing and Harvest Colors

A paper doll men's suit from 1861 featuring a cutaway coat and harvest colors. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

I’ve never done a Thanksgiving paper doll before. Personally, I have always struggled to come up with an idea that isn’t either cliche or offensive. The portrayal of Native American, for example, in paper doll form has generally been rather awful and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to do some mythical pilgrims.

So, why do a suit from the 1860s? Well, I wanted to honor Sarah Josepha Hale.

First of all, she wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb, which is pretty cool, but more then that she was the editor of the important publication Godey’s Lady’s Book, and was an advocate for Thanksgiving.

In short, Hale believed that Thanksgiving was about choosing a time to both unite as a Nation and to express our joy and gratitude for our many blessings. Given the current political climate, I cannot think of a better reason to have a holiday. Her advocacy for the national holiday began in 1846 and was successful in 1863 when Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, formally announced a National Day of Thanksgiving.

In celebration this year, I have drawn a suit from the 1860s, specifically 1861. I actually had a really impossible time finding a suit from 1863, so this will have to do. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, the suit is done in harvest colors. You’ll need a gent to wear this suit, so I recommend picking up one of the Marisole Monday & Friends guy paper dolls and outfitting him. Should you like him to have a lady date to his 1860s Thanksgiving Dinner, then here’s some 1860s clothing for the Marisole Monday & Friends lady paper dolls.

I don’t know nearly as much about men’s clothing of the Victorian era as I know about women’s clothing, so I am pretty nervous about how accurate this is, but I did my best and I think this is the first ever historical men’s paper doll outfit I have ever posted. So, please be kind to my first attempt. I also need to get some books on men’s clothing of the 19th century. Anyone got any recommendations?

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family, with friends or just with the day off.

I’d also like to take this chance to thank everyone. I am thankful for everyone who supports the blog on Patreon, who leaves a comment, who follows me on Twitter or who just comes to read. Trust me when I say, it is because of my great readers that PTP is still around.

Need a Marisole Monday & Friends Guy Paper Doll to wear today’s outfit? Pick One Out Here

Peony in the 1860s: A Dress from January 1864


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A paper doll dress from January 1864 based on a fashion plate from Le Follet. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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.

A fashion plate from Le Follet dated January 1864. Originally from the Casey Fashion Plate index.

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. 🙂

Poppets Visit the 1860s: Accessory Thursday with Shoes and Underwear


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Two pairs of 1860s underwear, shoes and stockings from the 1860s sized for the Poppets paper doll series. Available in black and white as well. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

Guess what day it is?

It’s Accessory Thursday!

The whole point of Accessory Thursday is to allow me to show off some of the smaller pieces that make up a paper doll collection.

For a child’s wardrobe in the 1860s, accessories meant shoes and underwear. Now, kids back in this era wore a lot of underwear, but I decided to focus just on a pantaloons and camisoles. Staybands where also very common. Staybands were like a corset, but they weren’t boned the same way. The idea was to keep the spine straight and help with development.

If you feel that you need a stayband, than check out Promenade & Play which features one from the 1870s.

Shoe-wise, she’s got brown leather boots with a bow detail and some black and white button up boots. I think I just like the idea of two-tone boots. I confess I don’t know how popular they actually were back in the day.

As always, I’d love to know what y’all think of the continuing trend of Accessory Thursdays!

Also, if you love the blog and want to help support it, consider joining my Patreon page.

Peony in the 1860s: A Paper Doll Dress from May 1860


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Paper doll dress from May 1860 based on a fashion plate from Le Bon Ton designed for the Poppet series. Also available in black and white from paperthinpersonas.com. This is the paper doll dress that started it all. One fashion plate from 1860 inspired this whole week of 1860s children’s paper doll dresses. Isn’t it funny how that can happen? I came across this fantastic plate from Le Bon Ton (another 1860s women’s fashion magazine) and I just knew I wanted to dive into this era. It helps, I suspect, that I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for Victorian children’s clothing.

Mostly, I think it is more true to say that I’ve always had a place in my heart for antique dolls and that has led me to a soft place for children’s clothing.

Just like yesterday’s 1860s dress, today’s paper doll dress features a dress over a guimpe. (Yesterday, I got into a whole definition of the guimpe which I am not repeating here.)

Fashion plate from Le Bon Ton dated May 1869. Originally found on the Casey Fashion Plate index.

As you might notice from the fashion plate to the left is that you can see her pantelettes or pantaloons. Tomorrow, there will be two pairs of 1860s children’s underwear, so you two can create that look along with two pairs of shoes.

The fashion plates from the Casey Fashion Plate Index which is such a great resource. I will keep repeating how much I love it probably until the end of time, or at least this week.

As a friendly reminder, the black and white versions are linked above with the PDFs. Also, if you need a doll, here she is from Monday.

If you love the blog, than think about supporting me on Patreon or leaving a comment. As always, I love to hear from everyone.

Peony In the 1860s: A Dress from August 1864


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Poppets paper dolls dress with pink and black color scheme from August of 1864. From paperthinpersonas.com.

It’s day two of our Civil War children’s clothing week. Today’s paper doll dress is a mix of two dresses from the 1860s. A fashion plate from August 1864 inspired the dress design. The color scheme is from a different fashion plate from June 1865. The pink and black combination from that fashion plate was so contemporary that I wanted to use it. I think it is easy to forget how bold the Victorians could be.

This dress would have been in several parts. It’s not clear from the illustration, but I think the bodice and skirt are meant to be separate pieces. Underneath the bodice, a guimpe is worn. While It is also possible that the bodice and skirt connect, like a jumper, that is not how adult women’s dresses in this era were made.

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The dress design comes from this fashion plate.

If you’ve never heard the word guimpe before, don’t fret. It’s not a word that gets tossed around in most conversations. A guimpe was a high necked blouse-like garment women and children wore underneath a low-necked dress. Think of it like like a dickie or a camisole today. A guimpe was never supposed to be seen without a something over it. Some weren’t even complete blouses, but were just dickies and matching sleeves. Part of the appeal of the guimpe, I suspect, was that washing it was more easy than washing the entire dress.

(If you ever have a time and interest, laundry practices of the 19th century are actually fascinating if, you know, you’re me.)

fashion-plate3-1865

The color scheme comes from this fashion plate.

Both of the inspirational fashion plates come from the same publication Magasin des Demoiselles. This French fashion magazine in the 19th century was very popular. Many of the 1860s plates from Magasin des Demoiselles include children, along with the ladies. It’s a great resource for what the fashionable girl, or, more rarely, boy, would have worn while running about and being a kid.

Not that running around being a kid was really condoned too much in this era.

Both fashion plates are from the Casey Fashion Plate index which is an excellent resource for 19th century fashion plates.

As a friendly reminder, the black and white versions are linked above with the PDFs. Also, if you need a doll, here she is from Monday.

So, what do you think of my pink and black color scheme? Too bold for the era or okay? I always love to know what you think. Love the blog? Consider supporting it by becoming a Patron, every dollar is lovely.

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.

In the Mid-1860s… Civil War Era Paper DOlls in Color

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Here we are today with the colored version of last Monday’s post. Color for historical garments is complicated, because colors are very much a matter of taste and a matter of time. Just as the avocado and burnt orange polyester shirts of the 1970’s seem dated to us today, the colors of the past are rarely how we imagine them to be. I always picture the Victorians in tones of sepia, not because that was what they wore, but because I always see sepia photographs. I once had a professor point out that the way we picture the past has little to do with how the past actually was, but I enjoy my fantasies of the past as much as the next person.

color-1860s-margo-day-dress

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For this set of paper dolls, I chose to use colors from reproduction quilting cottons as a basis for the garment. They turned out to be a little muddier than perhaps I would have chosen on my own, but I wanted something different than the oranges, blue, pink, and green combination of colors I find myself most often drawn too. The ballgown in pink and black is based on the fashion plate which I drew it from, though I made a slightly darker version of the original.

color-1860s-ballgown

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I’ll confess openly that I’m not entirely pleased with how some of these came out in color. I went muted and I think that was the right call, but I’m not sure that I didn’t lose some of the lusciousness and the vibrancy of the era. They also came out less romantic than I had hoped they would be. I do think Margot is awfully cute with her freckles and red hair (yes, I do have a weird thing for redheads). In truth, I am pleased with both the dolls. I think Marisole is a warm brown this time and I like how Margot came out. All in all, though I had some second thoughts about drawing a new face for Marisole, I am pleased with Margot and I think she’ll show up a bit more around the blog.

On an unrelated note, child paper dolls have pulled into the lead in the polling… a fact which I am very much surprised by.

In the Mid-1860s… Black and White Civil War Era Paper Dolls

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I have no real excuse for the lateness of this post, except that I was traveling yesterday and somehow I didn’t get as much done on for the blog on my vacation as I usually do. Something about traveling always makes me feel a little drained when I finally return to wherever is home. I’ve lived in several states and it always seems to takes me a year before one of them becomes home. As much as I love Alabama with it’s rolling hills (they call them mountains, but being from Alaska, I can’t honestly call them mountains) and it’s clear blue skies, but returning to Alaska still feels like going home. I suspect, eventually, Birmingham will become more homelike.

black-white-1860s-margo-day-dress

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Moving onto paper doll related matters, away from rambles about travel, today’s set is much larger than any set of Marisole Monday paper dolls that I have ever done before. It was not supposed to originally be three pages, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to remove anything from the sets and therefore decided to keep everything together. The result was that I ended up with an extra page. The swimming shoes repeat because, once the dolls are colored, they will be the only thing that exposes skin and I know I don’t want to do the two paper dolls in the same skin-tone. The corset and drawers repeat, because I feel strongly that both dolls should get a set of underwear. The hoop-skirt doesn’t repeat, because it’s big and, frankly, going to be white.

As some of you might notice, the second paper doll with the freckles is a different face than the original Marisole. I have named her Margot and she’ll be showing up from time to time along with the Asian version of Marisole who I’ve always thought of as Mia, though I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that on the blog.

black-white-1860s-ballgown

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All of these dresses are based on garments from the mid-1860s, hence the title. Something about being in Alabama has made me want to draw huge hoop skirts. Not normally my favorite period in fashion history, but it’s growing on me. I had an Addy doll when I was a child, but I honestly can not recall any exposure to real Southern History outside the standard Civil Rights stuff and a little on the Civil War. Strange how moving here has made me fascinated by all things Southern.

Curves: 1860’s

When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those cakes with the doll sticking out of it. You know, the kind where the skirt is made up by cake and the doll comes out the top. (Here’s a picture, for those of you who weren’t doll obsessed children in the early 90’s) Now, whenever I see the dresses of the mid-1860’s when the hoop was at its widest, I think of those doll cakes. Of course, all fashion is about swings. A item of clothing reaches its most extravagant and then slides out as something else enters to replace it, just as the length of shirts have gone from belly-shirts to tunics in the last fifteen years or so, the hoop skirt’s width moved from all around towards the back until it eventually transformed into the bustle. By the mid-1870’s, it was hard to see how it had ever once been a full hoop skirt.

1860s Curves paper Doll

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The advantage of such a wide skirt is that it calls attention to a tiny waist and the women of this ear were well aware of the allure of that feature, so belts were much in vogue. Curves has traveled back in time for a moment, to embrace this gown from 1861.

Now, I knew I couldn’t fit Curves in period hoops and the size of the skirt on the same image, so I put the paper doll in a modern set of underwear. Perhaps, she is a Civil War re-enactor. That gets me out of the whole- why isn’t she wearing a corset and hoops and all the things a woman in 1860 wore under her dress.