Hazel Visit’s the 1940s: The Doll and Her First Dress


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Hazel- a paper doll and her 1940s afternoon dress. She's the first in a series for 1940s paper dolls.

May I be honest with y’all? I like y’all, so I feel I can be honest.

I have been super busy in the last few days looking for an apartment. I have finally found a spot I like and am now starting to pack. So, during the chaos, I have fallen back on the Mini-Maidens. Frankly, they are the only series I can scan and prep in just one night.

I mean, I’d like to say I did this for purely artist reasons, but really it was a mental health decision.

Plus, I printed out some images from the 1940s as source material weeks ago and I decided to get the darn paper doll set done.

Anyway, today we have Hazel, one of the Mini-Maidens. She’ll be getting an early 1940s wardrobe. Because nothing says, stress relief like a 1940s fashion paper doll, am I right?

Why the early 1940s? Because the styles changed dramatically after World War 2. I wanted to look at the fashions for the first part of the decade, except for one purse that slipped in accidentally. You can check it out come Thursday where there will be an Accessory Thursday post. I know that will make some of you happy.

So, Hazel here has one dress for today. It’s based on this uncredited image from a magazine from 1940 that I found in the New York Public Library Digital Collections. I did my best on the hat, but I’ll openly confess that I am not totally pleased with how it came out. Still, you can’t please all the people all the time or even one artist most of the time. I struggle with hats, but I won’t get better if I don’t practice.

Thoughts on the 1940s? Is it an era you like? Or hate? I find people seem to be pretty adamant about this decade one way or the other.

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.

1940’s Vixen: A 1940’s Fashion Paper Doll

Bodacious & Buxom logo- 1940's VixenThere are some periods of fashion I’m naturally drawn too. I love the regency era and the 1870s. I have a strange soft spot for the 1920s and the mod looks of the 1960s. However, 1940’s fashions just doesn’t do so much for me. Still, one of my goals for my paper dolls in 2015 is to do more historical paper doll sets and to stretch myself into eras that I’m not naturally interested in.

As a result, today’s paper doll is clad in 1940’s fashion finery.

Truly, the 1940s is a fascinating time in fashion history. World War Two interrupts the middle of the decade and the end of the war welcomes in a whole new style of clothes thanks to Dior’s New Look. Prior to 1947, however, there is cloth rationing in many countries, most notable England, and an emphasis on “Make Due and Make Mend”. Magazines would publish articles on how to transform a man’s suit into a woman’s suit or how to turn dishtowels into aprons.

A printable paper doll with 1940's fashions including three diereses, three hats, purses and shoes. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com. {Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
Hats were still required for day wear. Our paper doll is sporting three different hats and two purses. Marie Claie UK published these wonderful photos of 1940s fashion on their blog- photo number 27 inspired one of her hats. Her black purse is from 1945 and is based on this purse from the V&A. Her shoes are from 1943, based on this pair at the Met.

A red-headed printable paper doll with 1940's fashions including three diereses, three hats, purses and shoes. Free to print in color from paperthinpersonas.com. {Download a PDF of this paper doll in Full Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Full Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}
All of her dresses come from vintage pattern covers- Vogue 5667, Simplicity 3296 A (one of my favorite designs, I used it here too) and Vogue 5802 A. My 1940s fashion Pinterest board contains more images that influenced this set.

A Quick Poll…

What historical era should B&B visit next?

  • Vikings! (AKA 800s) (28%, 18 Votes)
  • 1950s (20%, 13 Votes)
  • 1860s (17%, 11 Votes)
  • Regency (15%, 10 Votes)
  • 1300s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • 1700s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • Other, and I'll tell you in a comment (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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In the 1940s… Printable Historic Paper Doll

So, as usual the back and white version of this printable paper doll happened last week and this week we have the full color version. Somehow, in color, the paper doll looks less angry to me. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

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On a totally unrelated note, a reader posted some images of Little Pixie colored in a garden on a French forum. I think she did a fantastic job and she has a blog, so check that out. Sometimes when I see my paper dolls colored by someone else, I sort of forget that they are my work.

I am thinking of putting up a page to show off some of the work other artists have done based on my work, like Toria’s Showcase. Are there people out there with photos or scans who would be willing to contribute?

In the 1940s… Paper Doll Coloring Page

As I mentioned last month, I have been very interested in the 1940s lately. It’s not a period that I’ve been interested in normally, but watching a rather lot of Foyle’s War has infected me, I suppose.

The thing about the 1940s, which makes it a little difficult, is that in the middle of the decade there’s a rather important event known as World War II (though I tend to share the view of scholars who argue there weren’t two wars, but rather one war with a twenty year cease fire in the middle). The full skirted suit is of the style that came out of the war in 1947, thanks to Dior’s New Look. The other suit jacket and skirt are both based on the short lived fabric restrictions known as “Uility clothing” in England. In fact, these restrictions are one of the reasons vest for men fell out of fashion in the United States and England.

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I’m pleased about this set, though her hair isn’t quite right. I have trouble with hair and I think something about the style makes her look somewhat… angry.

Irma asked: How much time in a week do you spend drawing paper dolls?

I tend to work in bursts. Some weeks I do lots and lots of drawing and inking and other weeks I can go and never touch them. My goal is always to have the images, at least, ready far enough ahead that I don’t have to play catch up too much. I know there is no way I could possibly draw, ink, scan, color and post a set all in one evening. It just wouldn’t happen. I don’t have that kinda time, so I work in sections. For example, I already have the rest of this week’s paper dolls ready to post and, though I haven’t written the blogs yet, the images are prepped and uploaded to my server.

I tried to keep track of how long this set took me to get ready from scan to prep, so I could at least tell Irma that much, and I found that it took me four hours from the scanning to the posting, granting that I was watching an episode of the West Wing at the time and took a few breaks.

By the way, if you haven’t been to it, Irma’s blog is fantastic. I love her black and white paper dolls.

Curves: 1940’s

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I do love vintage fashion and though the 1940’s are not my favorite period, I drew this set of paper dolls around the same time I drew last weeks Curves post. In fact, it was exactly the same time, as with that post I used the Vintage Fashion Wiki to find pattern covers from the 1940s and then drew them.

Though I like the way it turned out, I am the first to confess that my interest in 1940’s costume can be linked entirely to my love of Foyle’s War another fantastic BBC drama. I love BBC dramas much more than I should. Plus I can get them from the library for free which when you’re a starving graduate student is a lovely advantage. To be fair, I’ve also been watching a great deal of The X-files, but I doubt I am going to drawing 1990’s suits a la Dana Scully. I’m just not that much of a fan of early 90’s suits.