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

black-white-1860s-marisole

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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.