Promenade and Play: Victorian Paper Doll Clothes for the Poppets

Victorian paper doll clothes So, life this week has been a roller coaster of sickness and travel, but I promised a second page of clothes for Peach in the Park to expand her Victorian paper doll wardrobe and I am pleased to say that here they are.

In no real order, in this set of paper doll clothes there is a promenade dress or afternoon dress, a gymnastics outfit and a set of underwear consisting of a chemise, drawers and a stayband or corset. She also has a pair of shoes with stockings and a ballgown for her doll. It is entirely possible that the doll’s little ballgown is my favorite piece of the entire set, though drawing that small was a challenge. (Seriously, the doll is like two inches tall in real life. I kid you not.)

I drew these designs based on illustrations from several different Victorian fashion magazines including Harpers Bazaar and La Mode Illustre, which as French. I highly recommend Dover’s excellent books of fashion plate reprints when working on Victorian period fashions- they bring a richness to the process of research that is of great value. Plus it’s fun to draw surrounded by open books (at least, I think it is fun.)

Medieval inspired fantasy outfits for the Poppet paper dolls coloring pagesVictorian Paper Doll and Dress from the 1870s in black and white for coloring
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By the late 1860s, early 1870s, sporting activities were encouraged for children. Gymnastic’s costumes like the one in brown are often shown in magazines along with yachting and skating outfits. While it is hard to imagine a child really running around in the bustled up skirts of the era, it is possible to imagine them doing so in one of these more practical outfits.

I also think it is important to remember that while fashion magazines show perfectly coifed children, actual children’s garments are often more worn and simpler. Kid’s did get out in play even in the 1800s and parents did not dress them like little adults, despite what my fashion history teacher told me. The length of a girl’s skirt indicated her age. The poppets are, in my mind, between the ages of 8 and 11, so their skirts are mid-calve. The skirts would slowly lower until maturity when they would be floor length for many, thought not all, activities.

As a reminder, because I forget this sometimes too- any of the Poppet paper dolls can wear any of the other Poppet paper doll’s clothing. So, while I was thinking of Peach when I made these outfits, they could also be worn by Petunia, Paradisea, Poppy, Posey, Petal, or Primrose.

That is a lot of P names.

Anyway, enjoy the Victorian paper doll outfits.

Cranach Gowns: A Paper Doll of Rennisance Saxony Dress in the Mid-1500s

Link to Cranach Gowns, a paper doll of a 15th century Saxony dress in Germany with two gowns, two hats, one pair of shoes in black and white or in full color for printingHappy Friday! Here’s a paper doll. :)

I first stumbled across Cranach dress or gowns in this rather gruesome painting of Judith with the Head of Holofernes months ago and her gown was fascinating. I didn’t know much about it, except that it was painted by Lucas Cranach. As it turned out, I discovered as I did more research, that the artist- Lucas Cranach the Elder- painted countless versions of this gown on countless both real and mythological figures.  Coming out of the Saxony area of Germany, Lucas Cranach was hired by Fredrick the Wise who to be the court painter of his court in 1505 and Cranach stayed there for the rest of his life. He was extremely prolific and his art is distinctly romantic and stylized. Even his portraits all rather do look the same after a while, I have to confess.

Around 1546, Cranach illustrated a manuscript for the Court at Saxony. This collection of portraits of Saxon princes and family known as Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 is fascinating. I was immediately struck by the illustrations of the Saxon princesses (image 220, f. 89) and I knew I wanted to draw these dresses.

Cranach Gowns, a paper doll of a 15th century Saxony dress in Germany with two gowns, two hats, one pair of shoes in black and white for printing
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However, there is a debate as to whether or not Cranach’s gowns actually existed in the real world. Here’s my view: We don’t have an extant one, but then we don’t have very many extant garments from this era anyway. Should we find one the debate would be settled, but until then we have to work with the primary sources we have.  The value of fabric and the expense of clothing was so great the people usually chose to be painted to garments they actually owned.

Lastly, I tend to approach history with the belief that in the absence of proof to the contrary, we should assume that people of the era were not trying to mislead people of the future. Why commission a family history with crests and portraits of your family, if you are not going to accurately render the people in the images? Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 is a collection of portraits of Saxon nobles. Why put the princesses in imaginary gowns?

The first question I struggled to answer was if the nets of pearls so often seen the women’s hair in these portraits were actually nets of pearls, or rather some sort of cap. This article on these caps lead me to conclude it was a cap, rather than part of her hair. Her shoes are fairly standard 15th century shoes with squared toes. Her hats are based on portraits of the era.

I picked out colors based on the main colors I saw in the portraiture which were red and black. I really wanted to do blue as well, like the illustrations of the Saxon princesses and so I did a blue gown as well. I did wonder, however, about the blue. Color is often symbolic in manuscript illustration and I wondered if perhaps blue was used to denote virginity (the Madonna was associated with blue) rather than to render the actual color of the gowns. Never the less, I thought they looked pretty and that was enough for me. I made her a redhead, because I have a thing for redheads and so did, it seems, Cranach.

ranach Gowns, a paper doll of a 15th century Saxony dress in Germany with two gowns, two hats, one pair of shoes in color for printing
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In my research, I am indebted to The German Renaissance of Genoveva , a blog devoted to recreating German Renaissance dress for reenactment and The Court Gowns of Saxony and article by Holly Stockley which was accessed via the Wayback Machine and The German Renaissance of Genoveva website.

Normally, this is where I would put my sources. The truth is that I was flummoxed in finding any really good secondary academic works on German Renaissance dress in English. I did use the Met’s collection of Cranach paintings, the Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on Lucas Cranach, this delightful bookplate from the National Gallery (USA), the National Gallery (UK) portrait of a noble woman, and this portrait of Princess Maria of Saxony.

The most useful document was Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 and I owe a debt to the library that digitized it. It it through this digital work that people like me can see the great artifacts of Europe and study them. I am well aware of the risks and time such projects, so I am grateful when libraries and museums undertake them.

As always, if you want to know when I update this blog, feel free to drop your email on the sidebar to be anded to the updates mailing list. You can also follow me on twitter where you can see when the blog updates (though I usually tweet after I post by a few hours) and get to read about what I might be making for dinner.

And, of course, thoughts in the comments are always valued.

Lois: A Paper Doll of the 1930s

Link to Lois, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1930s I love the styles of the early 1930s and I wanted to create a paper doll that showed them off, so here is Lois- a paper doll of the early 1930s. That is to say, everything in it comes from 1930-1932.

It’s common to speak of the last century of fashion as though it happened in neat decade compartments. In reality, fashion doesn’t care what decade it is. It moves based on cultural and social shifts, often subtly, and then you look around and notice that the silhouette has shifted. Rarely, fashion changes dramatically over a short period, but only very rarely.

So, when looking at the early 1930s, as this paper doll does, you might be struck at how close these dresses are to the late 1920s. In truth, they are very similar, because fashion just doesn’t change that quickly. The Great Depression will catch up with the styles of the 1930s, it just hasn’t yet. All of these dresses are drawn from images in the book Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs published by Dover. The Sears series from Dover is an inexpensive way to gather up books the show what people wore, rather than what fashion magazines thought people should be wearing. I own almost all of them.

Lois is a printable historical paper doll with two dresses, two hats, a coat, underwear and shoes from the early 1930s in black and white for coloring
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I have mixed feelings about my color choices. I knew I wanted to pick a color scheme where I hats could go with either of the dresses, but I don’t know how successful I was. I really do like how the white hat contrasts with her dark skin and I like how rich the red coat looks, but I’m not so sure about the yellow dress. The early 1930s is a very art deco influenced period and that makes me happy. I love the asymmetrical styles and the often surprising details.

Lois is a printable historical paper doll with two dresses, underwear, shoes and hats from the early 1930s in color
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Unlike my 1920s Pixie Lynn, I actually gave Lois some undergarments. She has a girdle decorated with flowers to go under her dresses. She should, technically, have a slip to go over that and panties to go under it, but its a start.

I would have to pour through all my posts to be certain, but I think this is my second 1930s paper doll ever. The first was way back in 2010 for my original Curves Series and is just called 1930s. I got totally distracted looking through those old paper dolls trying to find the 1930s set I was pretty sure was there. It’s strange to go back and look at things I drew four or five years ago.

Some of them paper dolls I still really like and others I don’t. It rather makes me want to take on a project like Julie’s toddlers where she goes back to older color schemes. I’ll have to think on it. I don’t want to “redraw” old things, but there are some ideas there that I think could be reexamined fruitfully.

A Lady at Court in Color: Printable Tudor Paper Doll

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe I confess the colors here were heavily influenced by the colors in the portraits that I used as inspiration. (Full list of those can be found in last week’s post.) That meant there was a lot of black. I confess that somehow Tudor clothing looks best to me in rich, vivid shades of red, gold and black, so I settled on that color scheme.

Most of the ways we think of history are influenced by our perceptions of the past, rather than the reality of the past. It’s easy to imagine the Victorian era entirely in sepia, because that is what we have available. I have been watching an excellent documentary by the BCC entitled Monarchy on Nexflix over the lat few days. It’s been fascinating, if at times a little confusing when I lose track of which Edward is which. Never the less, we’ve just gotten to Henry the 8th and I smiled when I saw the gowns of this era.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
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Over the years that I have been drawing paper dolls, few eras have seen has intimidating as Tudor. I’m very pleased that I was able to tackle this period. My next major research project will be preparing for my Viking paper doll set for B&B. I just received from Interlibrary Loan on Friday the book Woven Into the Earth about textiles from Norse Greenland. So, I’ll be curling on this week with that on my couch trying to make sense of Viking attire.

Once I’m done with Vikings (which will be a few weeks, I am waiting a on a few more books), I’ll need a new period to research. For this purpose, I have put together a poll. These are all eras that I have either never really studied or generally think I don’t like. I want to force myself to do things which I wouldn’t normally be drawn too.

What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)

  • Ancient Greece and Rome (33%, 32 Votes)
  • Rennissance Italy (22%, 21 Votes)
  • The Mod Look of the 1960s (21%, 20 Votes)
  • The 17th Century (16%, 15 Votes)
  • The 1830s (8%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 96

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A Lady at Court: Printable Tudor Paper Doll

A printable paper doll of Turdor era fashion Let me be clear here… this is not just a paper doll of the 1500s. Rather, my Margot paper doll is is showing off English Tudor dress from the mid-1500s, specifically Henrician gowns. This is an important distinction, because by the 1500s dress was highly regionalized, especially for people of wealth and status. My paper dolls nearly always have both wealth and status. (Mostly, because rich important people tend to get way cooler looking clothes.)

Both of Margot’s gowns are Henrician gowns, which are specifically gowns worn during the reign of Henry the 8th. She’s also got two french hoods (headdress A & C), one gable (or English) hood (headdress B), one pair of shoes and one set of underwear.

Please note that the underwear may not fit underneath the two gowns. I didn’t want to omit the smock from the underwear and smocks had really full sleeves that got crushed under the gowns and then were displayed through slits in the false sleeves and well… I didn’t want to deal with all that layering.

Moral of the story: She has under things. The underthings might not actually fit under things.

I should add that I knew very little about Tudor dress when I started researching this paper doll set and I am not about to claim that I have magically become an expert. I did my best to create an fairly accurate rendition of a noble woman’s garments of the 1540s through 1550s considering the restrictions of Margot’s pose.

A printable paper doll of Turdor era fashion as a coloring page
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As always, it is very important to me to be clear about what I studied at prior to drawing this paper doll set. Tudor clothing has always been very intimidating to me, but I wanted to challenge myself. A big part of my historical paper doll set goal is drawing things which “scare me”. Tudor dresses were one of those things.

Selected Sources:

Books:

Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. London: Macmillan, 1983.
Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes through History, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996.
Mikhaila, Ninya, and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th-century Dress. Hollywood, CA: Costume and Fashion, 2006.
Norris, Herbert. Tudor Costume and Fashion. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997. (Note: Norris’ book has some problems, since it was wirrten in 1927, but it’s useful as an accompaniment for other things.)
Reynolds, Anna. In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2013.

Websites:

There is a fairly large community of people who reconstruct Tudor clothing. I am always dubious of such cites, as they often lack citation (and y’all know that drives me nuts), but they can be excellent sources to corroborate primary and academic secondary documentation. As always with internet research, Caveat emptor.

Damsel in in this Dress: Tudor Kirtle and Gown from May 2014. (Accessed: March 2015)

Tudor Dress: A Portfolio of Images is clearly a product of the days of table’s on the internet, but still has good info. (Accessed: March 2015)

What did a Tudor Noble Lady Wear? is all about the layers of Tudor clothing. (Accessed: March 2015)

Elizabethan Costume Page is older, but quality. Plus there’s an old school Java paper doll game! (Accessed: March 2015)

Tudor Tailor is the website of the people who wrote the excellent book “Tudor Tailor.” Though I think the book is more useful than the website, it would be remiss of me not to mention that it does exist. (Accessed: March 2015)

Portraits:

From the National Gallery, I looked at a lot of famous portraits from Ann Boylen, late 16th Century, Queen Mary the First in minature, circa 1545, and Queen Mary the First circa 1544, Unknown Woman’s Portrait, circa 1545, Jane Dudley, circa 1600, Queen Mary the First, circa 1554 and Katherine Parr’s Portrait, circa 1545.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s portrait collection, I looked at Lady Lee (aka: Margaret Wyatt, born about 1509) circa 1540s, Portrait of a Young Woma circa 1540-1554,
Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d’Étampes, circa 1535-1540, and Lady Rich (Elizabeth Jenks, died 1558) circa 1540.

There are, of course, other sources of Tudor clothing and I am sure I missed some. I don’t think this will be my last trip to the 1500s. I really want to do a more “merchant class” tudor paper doll as well.

Tibbets and Kirtles in Color: A Printable Paper Doll of the 1300s

Printable paper doll of a lady from the mid-1300s in color Last week, we got to see my mid-1300s paper doll set in black and white. This week, here she is in color. Historical printable paper dolls always make me a little nervous. In inevitably, choices have to be made about what to include or not include and how to render a period’s fashion. These choices are easier the more you know about the period and harder the less you know. One of the reasons I often turn to Medieval inspired or Renaissance inspired rather than actual historical paper dolls is the knowledge that I don’t know enough to always make appropriate choices.

What I am not comfortable doing is always trusting the many sites out there that don’t cite their sources with enough detail to actually find the material if you needed it or want to confirm it’s authenticity. While I love the internet, I find that I don’t use it that much when I am doing this sort of research. I seem to fall back on my library training and rely on reputable secondary sources published in scholars with names in the field, backed up my own knowledge of solid collections of digitized medieval manuscripts where I can dig for source images, plus a few tumblers and blogs that seem to know what they are doing.

And this method worked great until I got down the problem of color. Now, I always think of the 1300s as being richly red and blue and gold, because those are colors I have seen in medieval manuscripts. Just because, however, they made a dress red in a book doesn’t mean the dress was commonly red in real life. Pigments used for illumination aren’t the same a pigments used for dyeing cloth and medieval art is heavy on analogy and symbolism.

A printable historical 1300s paper doll page
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What I really didn’t want to do was do a ton a research on natural dye processes, because a lot of people have written a lot on the topic. Textile fragments like this one, an incredible velvet cope or this equally amazing cope from the V&A Collections proved to me that colors were rich in the 1300 hundreds. So, I used those images along with this Medieval Colors article from Aux Mailles Godefroy. The resulting colors are a little more muted than was probably possible in the 1300s, but I just couldn’t get over my preconceived notions of muted tones despite seeing examples of bright yellows produced with natural dyes. The truth is that both linen and wool, common fabrics in the 1300s, take dye really well. The world was likely a lot more vibrant than my preconceived notions of history suggest.

By the way, most of my primary and secondary sources for this paper doll set are listed on the black and white version. It was a long list and I didn’t want to repeat it here. So go check that out, if you want to see what I used to create my mid-1300’s paper doll.

Tibbets and Kirtles: A Paper Doll of the Mid-1300s

Printable paper doll of a lady from the mid-1300s Today’s printable paper doll is from the mid-1300s when set in sleeves came into existence and fashion was all about layers and hanging strips of fabric off sleeves called “tibbets.”

There are topics upon which I can speak authoritatively and there are topics where I know basically nothing. I would say that I am fairly knowledgeable about certain periods of Western dress, but there are others that are beyond me. As someone who just isn’t that into the medieval period in Europe (though it is growing on me), I have never spent much time doing research. After last years adventures in the 10th century, I knew I wanted to explore some more early periods and the 1300s seemed like a smart choice.

I settled on the 14th century (or the 1300s), because I’ve been wanting to illustrate that period ever since I stumbled across the entire Roman d’Alexandre digitized from the Bodleian Library which is full of illustrations of ladies in fashionable dress. As I usually do, I cobbled together my decisions about this paper doll from a variety of secondary and primary sources. One website that deserves a shout-out is Illumanu which not only posts manuscript images, actually cites them properly. Makes the librarian in me so happy.

A printable historical 1300s paper doll coloring page
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A few specific choices I should note. The pattern on the sidecut surcoat was from Romance of Alexander from the Bodlein Library. The far left dress is based on this casket lid from the Met and the Romance of Alexander from the Bodlein Library folio 181 verso. The green dress on the far left seems to have buttons down the front and hanging sleeves. The other two gowns are mixtures of literally dozens of primary and secondary sources. You can check out below some of the sources I used.

The stockings are scrunched below the knee. I wasn’t able to find any records of garters being worn in the 1300s. The shoes are both from Stepping through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric times until 1800 which I would totally buy if I could find it for a reasonable price. I also designed a new face for this paper doll. I like it a lot, so it might become a regular member of the family. I haven’t decided yet. What do you all think?

Selected Sources:

Books:

Buren, Anne Van., and Roger S. Wieck. Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, 1325-1515. New York: Morgan Library & Museum, 2011.
Crowfoot, Elisabeth, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland. Textiles and Clothing, C. 1150-1450. London: HMSO, 1992.
Goubitz, Olaf, Carol Van. Driel-Murray, and Willy Groenman-Van Waateringe. Stepping through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric times until 1800. Zwolle: Stichting Promotie Archeologie, 2001.
Newton, Stella Mary. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1980.
Nunn, Joan. Fashion in Costume 1200-2000, Revised. Lanham: New Amsterdam, 2000.
Scott, Margaret. Fashion in the Middle Ages. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.
Scott, Margaret. Medieval Dress & Fashion. London: British Library, 2007.

Manscript Illustrations:

Instructions for Kings, in French
MS M.456, 55v–56r
France, Paris(?) circa 1330–35
Morgan Library and Museum

Jacques de Longuyon, Vows of the Peacock, in French
MS G.24, 25v–26r
Belgium, Tournai circa 1345–50
Morgan Library and Museum

Speculum humanae salvationis
Hs 2505, 37r
Westphalia or Cologne, circa 1360
Technische Universität Darmstadt

Giovanni Boccaccio, De Claris mulieribus…
Français 598, 134r
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
France, circa 1403

Roman d’Alexandre
MS. Bodl. 264, 47r, 97r, 97v, 120v, 121r, 127v, 163v, 169r, 168v, 171r, 172r, 172v, 173r, 181r, 181v, 191r, 196v, 197v, 204r
Bodleian Library
Flanders, circa 1344

1940’s Vixen: Vintage Printable Paper Doll

1940's vintage historical printable paper doll There 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, the 1940s 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 1940s 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.

Court Alchemist Paper Doll in Black and White for Coloring
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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.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
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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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Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on the historical period of 1880s in black and white or in color Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

Viola, A Paper Doll to Print from the 1890s

We’re traveling to the turn of the century today for Viola, a printable paper doll with her wardrobe from 1895 and 1900. She can be printed in black and white or in full color. Viola’s name was  selected from the Social Security Baby Name Index as popular in the 1890s. Fashion in the mid to late 1890’s exists between huge puffed sleeves and the rather horrid pigeon breasted look. Not being a fan of either style, I never thought I would do 1890s paper doll, but I found I liked the fashions at the end of the century, so here she is.

Honestly, the way I look at history has been heavily influenced by the historical paper dolls I had as a child, sparking my interest in social history and fashion history. So, I think historical paper dolls are great printable paper dolls for kids and I’ve only recently discovered that a number of people who use my paper dolls for home schooling activities. All of this increases the pressure to get the paper doll “right”, lest some child’s understanding of 1890’s dress be damaged by my paper doll creation. (Not that I think this would be devastating for the child in question- there are far worse things in this world.)


Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and whiteViola's wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and white{Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Click Here for More Pixie and Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

The mid to late 1890s wardrobe that Viola has is based on museum objects, primarily, and a few costume plates. The Met, The Museum at FIT and MFA Boston, as well as the UK National Trust were a few of my sources. When I am researching a new paper doll, I tend to collect my sources on my Pinterest boards (feel free to follow) and today’s printable paper doll is no exception. I gathered her clothing sources on my Turn of the Century board, before I started drawing.

Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full colorViola's Wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full color
{Download a PDF to Print in Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print in Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PDF to Print in Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Download a PNG to Print in Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Click Here for More Pixie and Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

The Sources, Left to Right: The pair of shoes from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1898. Her corset was an amalgamation of several corsets which you can see on my Turn of the Century pinterest board, however, this corset from 1900 and another corset from 1900 were big influences. I chickened out of making the corset patterned, a fact I regret.

One of her parasols was based on this one, but the other I rather invented based on a lot of various parasols I looked at. The Met actually has a really large collection of parasols, who knew?

Her seaside or yachting costume was inspired by this dress from 1895. There seems to have been a real “sailor” trend in the end of the Victorian period during the bridge into Edwardian.

A visiting or afternoon dress based on a gown from the National Trust Collections of the UK.

The carriage toilette in green is from this fashion plate I found on flickr, though I confess to usually trying to avoid finding things on flickr, since I don’t always trust the accuracy of the sources.

Her gym suit is based on this French one with the shoes borrowed from this gymsuit from 1893-1898.

The ballgown comes from a design by The House of Doucet circa 1898-1900.

Were I to draw today’s historical paper doll again, I would have included a pair of gloves and another pair of shoes, but that would have made her three pages and I wasn’t about to that. Of course, should you wish to add gloves, than I will direct your attention to the Regency Pixie Paper Dolls whose gloves could certainly be adapted here.

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