Regency Fashions: Dress, Spencer and Bonnet

A Regency era round gown from 1802 in printed cotton with a Spencer jacket and bonnet for the Jewels and Gemstones Printable paper dolls. You can print the paper doll set in color or black and white for coloring. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I’ve been a on regency romance novel reading kick. I just finished the whole Pennyroyal Green Series which was okay. I confess that when it comes to my regency romance novels (or historical romances in general), I really only expect one out of five to be really good. Two out of five usually fail the 50 page test. (This is, for the record, where I read 50 pages and if I don’t want to continue I stop reading.)

It’s just that there are so many regency (and historical, I’m flexible on time period) romances in the world that I don’t see any reason to waste my time with ones that don’t engage me.

Anyway, since I have been enjoying this particularly fluffy genre, I remembered I had one regency dress I made a while ago that I hadn’t yet gotten around to sharing.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
So, the red dress is round gown. This was a style that was popular in the every early part of the 19th century and really evolved pretty directly out of the Chemise A La Rein . A lot of round gowns have trains, but not all. Most have very high waistlines and rounded out skirts. The style sticks around until about 1810 or so when it is replaced by more structured garments. Making things a bit more confusing is the fact that the round gown can refer to 18th century styles that fastened in the front. So, this make the terminology a bit of a nightmare.

Generally, though not always, you can sort of get a sense of the era of a garment in this period by how high the waistline is. The higher the waist- the earlier the gown. But fashion trends moved a bit more slowly than they do today and, like today, a lot of people wore what they liked even if it was a year or two out of date. After all, not everyone wears skinny jeans now.

When I was picking source images for this collection, I wanted to stay before 1810, though I wasn’t super picky about year.

Specific Source Images: This 1802 English Round Gown, This Undated Spencer (it’s undated, but the very very high waist is indicative of the very early party of the 19th century), and bonnets like these from 1808.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More Regency paper dolls
Around the Internet: Here’s a few nice articles I found- one on the changing Regency silhouette, 18th Century Round Gowns (earlier than this one), and another nice example from The Met of the style

Last Thoughts
While I don’t really know if I have favorite periods of fashion history, I do have periods I seem to go back to more than other periods. I think part of why I like the regency era is that there were so many amazing fashion magazines of the time that make it really fun (and fairly easy) to get a good idea of what was in style.

It occurs to me that some might have missed all of the Jewels and Gemstones Regency paper dolls thus far, so here they all are. There’s also a Dinner Dress and a Morning Dress for my Patrons. If you enjoy the blog than consider becoming a patron, there’s an extra paper doll dress for my Patrons on Fridays.

The Jewels & Gemstones Regency Dress Thus Far

As usual, comments are always delightful and I’d love to hear what you think about today’s regency paper doll dress. Is there an era of fashion you really love?

1955 Summer Dress With Hat and Purse

A lovely Mid-1950s Summer Dress with hat. The dress is from Vogue in 1955. The hat is from Montgomery Ward in 1950. The purse is from Sears.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There’s a few silhouettes one tends to associate with retro 50s fashion. There’s the tight waisted, full skirt look (like this) or the narrow fitted suit look (like this). There’s also a few variations on this and one of those variation is the dropwaist version of the full skirted look.

A dropwaist is when the waist (aka seam where the bodice meets the skirt) is lower than the natural waist on a person. A highwaist is when the waist is raised above the natural waist, but below the bust. An empire waist is when the waist of a dress is located right under the bust.

More than you maybe wanted to know about fashion terminology. I digress.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Summer is coming rapidly to Alabama. I love the Fall in Alabama and I like the Winter. I could leave the Summer without any sense of guilt at all. It’s hot and humid and my allergies are exploding. Ugh!

Anyway, I always think women in retro spring fashion ads look so wonderfully cool and calm and it probably sucked living in Alabama in the 1950s when air conditioning was rare and petticoats were common. None the less, I loved the concept if not the reality.

Specific Source Images: Vogue 8596, Montgomery Ward Spring/Summer 1950 hats pages and Sears (I used Everyday Fashions of the Fifties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs)

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More 1950s Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Closet Historian regularly posts images from vintage catalogs in her collection and they are fascinating.

Last Thoughts
I’ve done two more 1950’s paper doll dresses and shared them with my Patrons. They are a 1950s suit and 1950s day dress. Join Us on Patreon if you’d like to support the blog (and get more paper doll content!)

Also, if you’re thinking- Well, I wish I had a 1950s paper doll to wear this stylin’ 1950s dress, I’ve made a version of the ever delightful Sapphire in 1950’s underwear. So, you can print her, but, as always, this dress will fit any of the Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls. Retro 50s fashion is so popular right now.

Suit From the Mid-1950s

A fitted suit from 1956 with bucket hat and matching necklace. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
When I think of the 1950s, I think of suits and dresses. Sure, pants and shorts existed, but I always think of crisp suits and soft dresses. So, I knew I wanted to do a suit or two.

There’s really two fashionable shapes for suits in the 1950s. One is tight and sleek. The other is a fitted bodice and a full skirt as in Dior’s New Look.

Personally, I love both.

Today’s suit though is of the tight skirted variety.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I was really intrigued by this pattern from Advance, because I am always am fascinated by the idea of separates in the past. It’s an idea that has been around for as long as I think women have been getting dressed. You can see the concept as far back as the 18th century when different jackets would be paired with different skirts. I suspect you could trace it back further, but I never have attempted too.

Specific Source Images: Advance 8114

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls &  more paper dolls from the 1950s
Around the Internet: Since I mentioned Dior’s New Look, you can read more here .

Last Thoughts
My lovely supporters on Patreon will be getting another suit on Friday. So, be sure to check that out if you’re a patron.

Additionally, I am considering doing another 100 day project this year. Last year, I drew 100 dresses and took pictures of them on Instagram. You can see them all here.

Sapphire & The 1950s

A curvy black paper doll with historical underwear from the 1950s and three pairs of shoes. Her underwear and shoes come from various museum collections. Her short black hair is styled based on black actresses and singers of the 1950s.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Some themes I know I want to explore from the very beginning of a paper doll project and this was one of those themes. I knew I wanted to do a 1950s paper doll.

I love 1950s clothing. Also, historical paper dolls are what I mostly collect and were my favorites as a child. So, it is a win-win all around for me.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I really wanted to start with a basic set of underwear (strapless to accommodate evening gowns) and four pairs of shoes. I wanted the shoes to be mix and match-able with the dresses I designed around the same time (I’ll be sharing those later.)

One of my favorite tricks for hair from this era (or any time in the last 90 years) is to chose from actresses in Hollywood. Not only did actresses set the hairstyles of their time, but they are often more racially diverse than models in magazines or catalogs (until 1970 when that improves a bit).

For Sapphire’s hair, I based her style off the hair styles worn by Dorothy Dandridge and Leana Horne in the 1950s. Dorothy Dandridge was an actress who died young, sadly. Lena Horne was a wildly successful singer who did some acting, but mostly was known for her singing.

Specific Source Images: These shoes, these shoes, these shoes and these sandals all from The Met. This corset from the V&A. Photos of Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge (Here’s the same hair again on Dorothy Dandridge in 1954). I like it when I see the same hairstyle on several actresses, because then I know it wasn’t just a quirk of one woman, but something several women chose to wear.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls &  more paper dolls from the 1950s
Around the Internet: Check out The Met and The V&A, both of which have great costume collections. Also, check out my 1950s fashion Pinterest Board.

Last Thoughts
I had a lot of fun creating a “set” of clothing for Sapphire, so tune in for the next few days. I’ll be sharing 1950s fashions. It’s going to be super fun.

Want an extra paper doll or dress each week? Than join us on Patreon.

Regency Fashion Week: Walking Dress

An 1817 walking dress design taken from a fashion plate in the Lady's Magazine for the printable paper dolls I create. There's a matching bonnet, boots and bag.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, so I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but I do. And this Walking Dress was one of my two favorite dresses I drew for Monday’s Regency paper doll.

My other favorite is a morning dress that is going up for my Patrons on Patreon on Friday.

Today’s walking dress was a form of half-dress, for those keeping track, which means we’re really only missing undress (the more informal of options), but if you’re a Patron, one of those will be up Friday.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Occasionally, I see something I just want to draw it. That was what happened with this amazing fashion plate. I was in love the moment I saw it. I was a little worried about the ruff at the neck, but I think it came out okay.

Specific Source Images: This Dress from 1817, these boots from the London Museum & this bag from the Met.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls & More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: The London Museum (where the fashion plat and the shoes came from), A Nice Collection of Fashion Plates from Candice Hern, & A Quick Primer on Regency Fashion

Last Thoughts
If you’re super observant, you might notice that the cuffs on this dress are the same as the cuffs on the day dress. This cuff style was super popular. When you see a style popping up on multiple garments, it’s usually evidence that people were into it.

Friendly reminder that if you want to see a morning dress tomorrow, join us on Patreon. 2 dollars a month gets you an extra paper doll dress every Friday.

So, which dress this week has been your favorite? Personally, I’m a big fan of today’s dress. Let me know in a comment.

Regency Fashion Week: Day Dress

A paper doll dress inspired by the regency era- it's a printed cotton dress from 1810 with a bonnet and shoes. The historical paper doll clothing is free to print and play with.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There’s a perception that the Regency era was all white dresses, white stockings and white shoes. Never mind the fact that there is still mud in the 1800s and there’s not the kind of laundry capacity we have now. I knew I wanted to do a richly colored day dress in patterned cotton.

Day dresses were a form of undress or half-dress (as I mentioned yesterday). This dress is a more middle class style and certainly casual. Printed cottons were very popular in the era and this color is called Turkey red. The “turkey” part of the name refers to the country of Turkey, not the bird.

Her bonnet is a bit earlier than the dress- it’s a soft sort of style that was super popular before 1810 and then seems to fall out of fashion a bit for harder stiffer styles. I have one of those bonnets for tomorrow.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
The dress’s silouhette comes from this gown from the V&A Museum. The print on the dress and the colors are from this swatch from Ackermann’s Journal. That was a fashion journal that included pasted in fabric/paper swatches.

Specific Source Images: These stockings, these shoes, this dress, this bonnet (bottom left) and this fabric.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls and More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Turkey Red from Wikipedia and Another Nice Regency Dress Overview

Last Thoughts
One of the challenges though of working in historical clothing is that I don’t know what would be considered “tacky”. Would it be tacky to combine blue stockings with green shoes and a red dress? Is this too much color? How would a woman of this period actually feel about this combination? I have no idea.

I just noticed there’s a tiny coloring error in this set. How embarrassing! I’ll get it fixed when I can. Probably not this week though (this week is a bit crazy).

I’m not planning to do a mourning dress, but how cool are these mourning dress fashion plates? I always think of the obsession with mourning clothing being a Victorian thing, but here’s the early stages.

So, what do you think of today’s dress? Love it? Hate it? Wish it was white? Let me know in a comment.

Regency Fashion Week: Evening Gown Circa 1818

A golden yellow regency ballgown for the printable paper dolls with matching bag and gloves. Free to print in color or black and white for coloring. Great history activity for homeschooling.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
This is the first day of gown for the Regency paper doll I posted on Monday. Part of why I made this the first gown is that the shoes that go with this dress are with that Regency paper doll.

In the world of Regency clothing, there were three forms of dress- undress, half-dress and full-dress. Undress was most casual. Full-dress was most formal. Half-dress goes somewhere in the middle, but isn’t as easily defined. There’s a nice overview on Full-dress here.

Ballgowns, like today’s paper doll dress, were definitely full-dress. They were also really really low cut. So low cut, in fact, that I had to make the neckline higher to cover the stays I created. Sometimes, I kinda wonder how ladies stayed in these dresses before the era of fashion tape. I mean, one wrong move and you’d be flashing everyone at the party.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
When I planned out my Regency fashion week, I knew I’d need a ballgown. And I love regency era ballgowns. I think they are so pretty! I chose a gown from 1818 in a rich gold color to illustrate and I accessorized with the required over the elbow gloves and a small bag which I’m not sure is really an accessory a women would have carried.

Specific Source Images: This Dress from 1818 and this bag.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls and More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: A great Full-Dress overview,A Nice Collection of Fashion Plates from Candice Hern, & A Quick Primer on Regency Fashion

Last Thoughts
I think I always picture the Regency as being nothing but white clothing, but really I kept seeing this rich yellow. I love color! So, any excuse to use it.

I want to give a shout out to my Patrons without whom the blog wouldn’t be around. Thank you to all of them. Join up if you’d to get extra paper doll content & support the blog.

What do you think of today’s ballgown? Your style or not? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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