Hazel Visits the 1940s: Afternoon Dress from 1940


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I think it’s a little fitting that at the end of this 1940s paper doll to print week, we are returning to the early part of the decade with this 1940s afternoon dress, especially since we started with a 1940s afternoon dress on Monday. Today’s dress is based on this afternoon dress from 1940 which I found from the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

This dress has many of the details I associated with the 1940s including puffed sleeves, a natural waistline and a gored skirt that falls to the knees, but the ruching details on the bodice are very much of the 1930s. Fashion doesn’t change on a dime, so it’s a nice example of the transition of styles.

The truth is that the 1940s is a fascinating era for fashion. World War II influences everything, of course, but there’s also more women entering the work force, the end of the Depression and Rayon, invented in the 1930s, becaming mainstream. Paris, which was occupied by German forces, was no longer the center of fashion and New York came into its own.

Now you might be wondering, if all that’s true, where can I see more cool 1940’s fashions? Well, I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to the decade. I will confess it’s a little bit of a harder decade to research, because much of the material is still in copyright. However, you can still find stuff around if you dig.

Hazel & Her Wardrobe: A 1940s Paper Doll to Print & Color

In other news, I signed a lease, so I am now in the midst of hard core packing. I think I have enough backlog saved up that the blog will continue as usual, but I will be slow to reply to comments or emails and such until the end of September, I think.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I’ll be spending mine packing up boxes.

As always, I love to hear what people think in the comments.

Hazel Visits the 1940s: Girdles, Purses and Gloves, Oh My!


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Black and white printable paper doll coloring sheet with 1940s underwear, shoes, purses and other accessories for the Min-Maiden paper doll series. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

It’s Accessory Thursday! See, I didn’t have one last week, but it wasn’t abandoned for long. Today, we have some 1940’s girdles, a long-line bra, two purses, beads and a pair of ever important gloves. If you ever thought to yourself, “I need some 1940s underwear for a paper doll” than here you go!

(I find it hard to imagine anyone ever thought that, but maybe I’m wrong.)

The shoes on the left are based on a blue suede pair from 1941. The other pair is from the 1942 Spiegel Holiday Catalog. The “lower” purse is based on a Gucci model from 1949 while the other is from 1944. See, I said back on Monday one 1949 item slipped into this week’s early 1940s paper doll series.

Her 1940s underwear is based on two different 1940s gridles. The first is from 1942 and the second is from between 1942 and 1949. After I drew these, a freind remarked that he thought they were a bit racy for a paper doll, but I think paper dolls can be sexy if they want to be. Besides, it’s not that racy.

Now, if you need a paper doll to wear these lovely girdles, than Hazel from Monday has the hair for the era, but any of the Mini-Maiden‘s can pull off the looks, I’m sure.

By the way, if you are a twitter person (I am) than follow the blog’s feed and hear all about the movies I watch while I draw and other thrilling details on @paperpersonas. I’ve also been trying out Instagram, but I’ll confess I’m not very good at it yet. And of course, there’s always Patreon if you want to help pay the blogs operating costs.

And who doesn’t want to help with that?

So, what do you think of this weeks set? Are you enjoying this foray into the 1940s? Let me know in a comment!

Hazel Visit’s the 1940s: A Smart Dress from 1943


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A smart 1943 dress for my 1940s printable paper doll, Hazel. It's free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com.

Today’s dress for our 1940s printable paper doll is from another pattern cover. It is based on a Hollywood pattern from 1943. One of the things I liked about this dress was the two ways it was styled. In one option, it almost feels like a suit and in the other it is clearly a house dress. Just like today, people liked versatility in their sewing patterns.

Despite appearances, this dress is really made in one piece. Similiar styles are this 1944 Dubarry design, this 1942 Hollywood desig and this 1945 Simplicity version.

The pattern on the dress’s skirt is based on the fabric of this dress from 1942. It’s another example of the “two piece, but not really” dress style and I loved the fabric print which I simplified extensively to make into a paper doll version. Be sure to read the whole blog post, it’s totally fascinating.

Her hat is based on the hat worn by the fashion figure on the pattern cover, but small hats like this, sometimes called “doll hats”, were very popular. Here’s an example from 1940 and another example from 1940. I did my best to capture the look in a way that I still thought would stay on the paper doll’s head.

If you’re in need of a 1940s printable paper doll to wear this lovely 1943 dress, you can pick up Hazel in all her 1940’s printable paper doll glory from Monday’s post.

If you want an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of PTP, you can follow the blog on Twitter or become a blog patron. Blog Patron’s get their own special behind the scenes blog and sometimes extra paper doll outfits. (Just sometimes, because I do have a life. Mostly.)

So, is anyone planning on coloring today’s paper doll dress? What colors would you use? I’ve been thinking rust and navy, but that’s just me. Other people’s thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

Hazel Visits the 1940s: A Dress from 1942


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A 1940's paper doll dress with matching beret in black and white for coloring. The dress is based on a 1942 DuBarry pattern design and fits the Mini-Maiden paper doll series.

So on Monday, I posted Hazel and her afternoon dress from 1940. That was kind a formal 1940’s look, so I wanted to show of something maybe a little less fancy for today. This Dubarry pattern from 1942 is a great example of the masculine influenced dresses of the early 1940s and I recreated as a 1940’s paper doll dress to print and color.

To go with it, I drew a beret which was a very popular hat style, but I’ll admit- beret drawing is maybe not my great strength.

So, a few things about this dress. It’s based on a pattern by the DuBarry company. DuBarry was a branch of Simplicity Patterns that were made from 1931–1946 exclusively for Woolworths. The wonderful Vintage Pattern Wiki has a bunch more Dubarry styles available for browsing, if you want to pop over there to see them. Two of my other 1940s favorites from Dubarry are this wedding dress from 1941 and this dress from 1944.

Most of the dresses I have drawn for this week come from sewing pattern covers. Though not always an obvious source for fashion history, sewing patterns, like catalogs, are useful to see what normal folks had access too. Most people weren’t buying designer clothing after all and I like to keep my paper dolls a little down to earth… except when they’re aliens.

The downside of these sorts of primary sources is that it is impossible to know what people thought about the pattern design. Did they like it? Was it popular? Did people think it as ugly?

For example, here’s a Simplicty pattern for a strange lace up poncho. Will some historian in the future think we all wore lace up ponchos in 2016? Probably not… but it highlights some of the danger of not using multiple sources when making decisions about what to create for historical paper dolls.

By the way, what do you think of today’s 1940’s paper doll dress? Do you like it? Hate it?

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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.

Edwardian Mia: A Paper Doll Evening Gown


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A pale blue and yellow Edwardian paper doll dress. Also available in black and white for coloring. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

Somehow, it just seems fitting to wrap the week with a ballgown. I mean, everyone needs at least one ballgown. I struggled with finding an Edwardian era ballgown that I liked. Most of the ones I saw were just too lacy for my taste. Eventually, I came across one from the book Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from “La Mode Illustrée” published by Dover. As much as I love the internet, I do really like having a few good costume plate books around for reference, because they often give contextual information which is helpful. This particular ballgown was recommended for young matrons, which I assume means ladies who were just married.

I’ll confess right now that I don’t always get Victorian categorizations of age and/or class.

What I do know is that ballgowns were, short of court dress, the most formal gowns a woman would ever own. In fact, many women would wear their wedding gown after their wedding as a ballgown for the coming year. Can I just say that it makes WAY more sense to me to buy a gown you’re then going to wear to balls than to pay like 5,000 dollars for a dress you wear once?

That just seems insane.

And yes, these comments might come out of my odd fascination with “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Anyhow, back to paper dolls… Here’s the whole of this week’s set if you missed any of the pieces.

An Edwardian Paper Doll Wardrobe For Mia

So, in this new format, we have so far had five weeks of paper dolls ranging from Monica’s Neo-Victorian week to last week’s mermaids. I’ve been wondering what people might most like to see next. I have several sets “in progress” and I’m out of backlog (eep!), so this weekend I’ll be working on one of these sets. No promises I’ll get it done in time for Monday, but I am super curious what people might like to see next. 🙂

What should Rachel Work on this Weekend?

  • Marisole Monday & Friends Fantasy Gowns (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Sprites in Wonderland (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Little Red Ridinghood inspired Mini-Maidens (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Marcus as a Wizard (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequinn Hip-Hop Fashions (8%, 7 Votes)
  • B&B Medieval Inspired Fantasy Gowns (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-Apocalyptic B&B (4%, 4 Votes)
  • B&B Steampunk Outfits (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

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Note: I was a little surprised that “Mini-Maiden Little Red Riding Hood option” won by such a landslide, so I checked the voting logs. Seventeen votes came from the same IP address within the same time frame for that choice. Clearly, someone too the “vote early, vote often” mandate to heart, but since I noticed it, I have removed those votes from the system.

Edwardian Mia: Accessory Thursday


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Edwardian paper doll accessories including shoes, hats, purses, furs, gloves and a parasol. Who doesn't need a parasol? Free to print for the Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll series from paperthinpersonas.com.

Accessories are tough. I always struggle to decide how many pieces is “enough” pieces. Part of learning to work in this new daily format has been about deciding, “How much makes up a post?”

Anyway, that’s all by way of saying, I might have gotten a little carried away on this one.

I have a lot of sources to site for this eclectic collection of pieces. The shoes in this accessory set come from two different sources. The white pair of shoes comes from Philadelphia Art Museum. The boots are from this advertisement from The NYPL Digital Library. Both pairs are from 1908, sticking them right at the end of the era I’m interested in. The purses come from this particular page from the 1902-1903 catalog of the Chas. A. Stevens & Bros out of Chicago. Her parasol was based on this one, sort of. I think the resemblance is a little spotty.

The hats come from a range of sources. The lavender and blue roses trimmed hat comes from this image from the NYPL Digital Gallery. Her furs and another hat come from this page from National Cloak & Suit Co‘s 1907 catalog. The truth is that hats of this era were very flamboyant. That makes them fun and challenging to draw.

If you like the blog, than consider supporting it on Patreon. None of this happens for free and every little bit helps keep things rolling along here.

Lastly, just because I’m super curious, what are your favorite paper doll accessories? Hats? Shoes? Books? Swords? What makes your experience more fun?

Also, I swear I did nothing but scan last night, so I am trying to decide what to work on this weekend. There’s a poll!

What should Rachel Work on this Weekend?

  • Marisole Monday & Friends Fantasy Gowns (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Sprites in Wonderland (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Little Red Ridinghood inspired Mini-Maidens (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Marcus as a Wizard (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequinn Hip-Hop Fashions (8%, 7 Votes)
  • B&B Medieval Inspired Fantasy Gowns (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-Apocalyptic B&B (4%, 4 Votes)
  • B&B Steampunk Outfits (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

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Edwardian Mia: A Printable Paper Doll’s Promenade Dress


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A lavender paper doll promenade dress from the Edwardian era. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Today’s printable paper doll dress is a promenade dress from 1908.

The gown is based on this illustration from an 1908 Macy’s Catalog. Macy’s was founded in about 1858 and had a thriving mail order business. Their catalogs are just a great source of information. I chose to not try to illustrate the stripes on the original dress fabric. I confess I am not too pleased with how the pleating on the skirt turned out. It should look much stiffer than it does, as taffeta is a very stiff fabric.

Oh well, no dress drawing is perfect.

In fact, a big reason I picked the Edwardian period was because I don’t have a lot of experience drawing these styles of dresses. One of the great challenges of this era is to capture the “pigeon breasted” look of the era. Bodices had a great deal of fullness in the front and then came into a narrow waist. This is actually a pretty challenging thing for me to illustrate in paper doll form.

Still, you get better at nothing unless you practice. So, this is me practicing.

While I chose lavender for today’s dress, the black and white version could be any color. The catalog describes this dress as a two-piece jumper model available in blue, red, green, brown or lavender. I think it would be stunning in red, too.

As always, I recommend printing from the PDF versions at the top of the post.

If you love the blog, than please consider supporting it on Patreon.

Hope everyone has a lovely Wednesday and remember: Accessory Thursday tomorrow!

One last little thing, I am trying to decide what to work on this weekend. I’m out of backlog and have a ton of stuff in process, so to help me focus I am asking my readers what they think.

What should Rachel Work on this Weekend?

  • Marisole Monday & Friends Fantasy Gowns (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Sprites in Wonderland (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Little Red Ridinghood inspired Mini-Maidens (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Marcus as a Wizard (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequinn Hip-Hop Fashions (8%, 7 Votes)
  • B&B Medieval Inspired Fantasy Gowns (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-Apocalyptic B&B (4%, 4 Votes)
  • B&B Steampunk Outfits (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

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Edwardian Mia: A Paper Doll’s 1908 Walking Suit


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An Edwardian paper doll's walking suit in navy blue. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

Today’s installment for Mia’s Edwardian Wardrobe is a walking suit. I figure every paper doll needs a good suit, just like every person needs one good suit.

Suits were very much in fashion for ladies at the turn of the 20th century. This one is a navy blue wool and trimmed in gold braid and grey velveteen.

Here’s the 1908 suit that today’s paper doll outfit is based on a page from this 1908 Macy’s catalog. Suits could be ordered in a variety of styles and in a variety of fabrics. The fabric selection dictated the cost of the suit- a more expensive tweed made for a more expensive suit than simple wool.

I’ll confess this is not a literal re-drawing of the source material. I ended up simplifying the suit a fair bit and I sorta designed my own hat based on some others from the era. Hats in this period got to be a bit much sometimes.  In case, you’ve never made a hat like this, here are some instructions I wrote up a while ago.

If you missed the doll to go along with this paper wardrobe, here she is from Monday.

Also, as a friendly reminder, I have printing instructions here and you can find the black and white versions of the paper doll for coloring at the top of the post.

There, I think that’s all the housekeeping for the day.

Enjoy the paper doll! As always, I love to hear what you think. 🙂

Edwardian Mia: The Paper Doll and Her Underwear


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An Asian American paper doll with a set of Edwardian underwear. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

I was trying to decide which of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls would model this series of Edwardian dresses and I settled on Mia.

I was inspired to use her as the model when I found this wonderful photograph of an Asian woman, just called Alice, wearing a suit from probably the 1890s or early 1900s.

Today, Mia gets just a set of Edwardian underwear and, I confess, not even a complete set. Women in this era wore, in order, a chemise and drawers, or a combination, under a corset. Over the corset, she would have worn a corset cover and over that a petticoat. I decided to just show her corset cover and petticoat, thereby skipping a few layers. Seriously, ladies in this era wore a lot of underwear!

I based her underwear on this page from a catalog from 1902-1903. Her hair is the best I could do trying to draw a Gibson girl kinda bun like these. Drawing Gibson girl buns is clearly not my strength.

Though out the week I’ll be posting outfits for Mia and accessories on Thursday (as usual). I hope you all enjoy this little foray into the first decade of the 1900s.

By the way, if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. It’s really appreciated.

So, my question for all of you is, what to you think of this week’s theme?