At the Seaside: 1890s Paper Doll Children’s Clothes

Poppet logo. 1890s historical paper doll children's clothes. First of all, Merry Christmas to anyone who celebrates. Today we have a completely non-thematic set of paper doll clothes. 🙂 This is what happens to me at the end of the year. I’m just all about getting the stuff I have done posted, so today we have some 1890s beachwear for the Poppets with a sailor suit and a swim suit.

Sailor suits were very popular in the 1890s and they were worn by all different ages of children (and some adults). You can find examples all over the place if you happen to be looking. I used the book Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree” which happens to be out of print, but is a great resource. Both the swimming costume and the sailor suit come from the illustrations in this book.

One of the interesting things about sailor suits is that they didn’t change in style much. Here is an example from La Semaine De Suzette in 1908. (La Semaine De Suzette was a French children’s magazine that published sewing patterns for the doll Bleuette through out its many year run. There are passionate collectors of the dolls who make the wonderful patterns. Someday I would love to do a paper doll of some of the amazing Bleuette patterns.) Some more examples from various eras include this sailor suit from the 1920s, a magazine illustration from 1890 and an extant example from 1905. Clearly, the sailor suit stuck around for a long while, making them a great subject for paper doll clothes.

A set of 1890s paper doll clothes for the Poppet printable paper doll series. Free to print in color from Paperthinpersonas.com A set of 1890s paper doll clothes for the Poppet printable paper doll series. Free to print from Paperthinpersonas.com

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Our paper doll’s swimsuit is also from Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree”. Swimsuits in this era never look like they would be very comfortable or easy to swim in to me. Still I liked the little ruffles on the sleeves.

Posey is the paper doll modeling today’s 1890s outfits, but Peach probably has the most historical hair style of the bunch with her curls.

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas with family or not, as you prefer. 🙂

Greta’s Trousseau: Traveling to the Seaside

First paper doll of 2015! Yay!

Okay, so as I mentioned, I’ll be posting some stuff in the next few weeks with the 2014 date on it. That’s because I date things from when I save them, not when I post them on the blog and I’ve got some backlog to go through. Never the less… first post of 2015 and I am going to celebrate that.

In 2015, Greta’s Trousseau is steadily growing. She’s traveling to the seaside with her paper wardrobe to deep sea dive, swim and also, you know, walk around looking fashionable.

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Her costumes are, left to right, a diving suit (because who doesn’t have one of those in their wedding trousseau?), a traveling suit, slightly fancier than the last one I posted, a swimming costume with flippers and a spear for fending off aggressive sea-life and a walking dress, because sometimes a girl just wants to look good while walking along the beach.

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For those counting this takes Greta’s Trousseau to just over sixty pieces and 21 distinct outfits. Wow. Of course, she can share with her friends Isadora, Hazel and Faye. It’s not like she’s the only one who can wear these outfits.

Next up for her paper doll wardrobe is probably going to be more sporting outfits, including golf, croquet and tennis. I also have a set with a morning dress and a nightgown in the wings.

Here is the rest of Greta’s paper trousseau for those who’d like to see it. Also, there’s a drawing/contest open at the moment, so check that out.

Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

logo-margot-victorian-1880Oh 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.


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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.


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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.

Paisely Summer, Printable Paper Doll in Full Color

logo-paper-doll-paisley-summer-colorSometimes, I struggle to get started on things, especially when I don’t really want to do them. Saturday night came around this week and I really didn’t want to work on this paper doll. I admit it, the orange dress was giving me fits and I was starting to loath my Pantone Spring 2014 Color Report inspired color scheme.

So, I literally set a timer.

Instead of blowing it off, I took out my cellphone and set a timer for 25 minutes. I told myself I would work on today’s Monica paper doll set for 25 minutes and then I would go do something else. Surely, I could suffer through 25 minutes of coloring. Of course, once the 25 minutes was up, I was so far along that I decided I might as well finish.

And here she is, all colored and everything.

I use a timer to do all sorts of things. From cleaning my apartment in fifteen minute bursts to inking for twenty minutes, I find that once I have done something for a short period of time intensely, I often keep going since I’m already in the middle of it. I hate not finishing things, but sometimes I struggle to get started on them.

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As I mentioned before, this set’s color scheme is based on Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report and includes several of the Pantone colors. I’m not totally in love with the color choices, but I wanted to stretch myself beyond the colors I tend to naturally gravitate too. Plus, I have done other Pantone inspired color schemes like my Seagulls and Seaside that used the 2013 color report and my Fashion Girl set from 2010 that used the 2009 and 2010 Spring Reports.

Paisley Summer, A Printable Paper Doll

logo-paper-doll-paisley-summer-bwHappy Monday everyone. Today’s paper doll is a beachwear set, which has been a very common request. It is modeled by Monica who I’ve felt is rather neglected over the last while. I try to give all of the Marisole Monday and Friends paper doll styles some love. Monica is the newest member of the family and therefore has the fewest doll sets to her name.

So, today’s paper doll has a fair bit of paisley. I wouldn’t have attempted these patterns until I was comfortable using Photoshop to make complex patterns since redrawing the same paisley shape would have been killer. Instead, I drew one of each design and then placed them using photoshop. Paisley is one of the classic patterns, up there with polkadots and plaids. Paisley originally comes out of Persia, but it’s been being used around Europe as well for centuries.

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I have to confess that while I am happy at how the patterned pieces in this set came out, I am not looking forward to the complexity of coloring those detailed patterns. I wanted the pants to be like the loose patterned pants which seem to be popular this season, but I rather think they came out just looking fairly clownish.

Never the less, it’s not uncommon for me to dislike one or two pieces of any paper doll set. I guess if I have to dislike one piece than this isn’t such a bad piece to dislike. Also, I didn’t give her any heels which is very odd for me. I rather like heels, but I suppose even paper dolls need to be comfortable sometimes.

Lastly, the current contest/drawing for a custom paper doll is open until Midnight Central Time on the 18th. Enter if you like.

Faye Visits the 1920s

logo-1920-period-paper-doll-mini-maidenFaye has decided to do a little time traveling and visit the 1920’s. I love drawing 1920s paper dolls and this one was no exception. Inspired by Anna May Wong (the first Asian-American famous film actress), I knew I wanted to use Faye, my Asian Mini-Maiden in this set.

(I did not give Faye Anna May’s wonderful bangs because every time I tried to draw them they looked… off somehow. Bangs and I just don’t always get along.)

Faye has shoes, stockings, a girdle, a house dress, two day dresses and then a swimsuit. She should probably also have a swimming cap, but I didn’t really think about that until after I finished the set and then it was too late. But she’s got a pretty good set of 1920s clothing to print and color, I think.

Oh well…

I really had fun with this set since I just bought a few more books about 1920’s clothing and wanted an excuse to play with them.


Inspired by Asian-American actress Anna May Wong, here's a black and white printable Asian paper doll with a 1920s wardrobe to print and color. She's free from paperthinpersonas.com.

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I’m trying to give more information on where I do my costume research when I say something is historically accurate, so I’m including a sources list, in case anyone else wants to dabble in the 1920s. It’s not exhaustive. There’s some other great books out there, just what I happened to use for this set and have on my own shelves at home.

A Few Sources for 1920’s Fashion History

1920s Fashions from B. Altman & Company. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1999.
Atelier Bachwitz. Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2012.
Blum, Stella. Everyday Fashions of the Twenties as Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs. New York: Dover Publications, 1981.
Lussier, Suzanne. Art Deco Fashion. Boston: Bulfinch/AOL Time Warner Book Group, 2003.
Peacock, John. 20th-century Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook. London: Thames and Hudson, 1993.

Do people find this idea of sources lists useful? I don’t want to do them all the time, but for my historical stuff I thought it might be helpful for folks. Thoughts from my fabulous readers?

Poppets in a Summer Daze

logo-poppet-summer-dazeYes, I know it’s like 30 degrees outside and there’s frost on the grass in the mornings and I’m wearing a wool coat, because I have finally acclimatized to the warmth of Alabama. And I don’t personally wish it was summer. I like the winter. I like the cold. I like rain and grey skys and falling leaves.

However, I also really like cute red-headed paper dolls with shorts and colorful t-shirts.

It was recently pointed out to me that of my white paper dolls, I have a disproportionate number of redheads. This is true. I love red hair. I think it’s wonderful. I don’t have redhair, but I envy people with red hair. Therefore my paper dolls get red-hair more often than perhaps is genetically normal.

Oh, I should mention that I have thought that the sunglasses would work really well and you could hook the two ends together behind the dolls head. When I tried this out, it totally didn’t work, so I recommend taping the ends together and slipping them over the dolls head. My paper engineering skills are in need of some work. I won’t lie about that.

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Seventh night of Hanukkah tonight. I love the end of Hanukkah when all the candles are lit and the menorah glow is so bright and beautiful. As a reminder, these paper dolls are scaled to print out as a half page, not a full page. You are welcome to have your printer scale them up, just be aware that every printer does that differently. 🙂

Marisole Monday & Friends: Mia Goes to the Bathing Place… and gets some colors…

So, as I mentioned last time, I always liked the idea of multiple costumes for various activities that was such a part of the Victorian way of dressing. Personally, I think it would be rather fun to have a special outfit I wore while visiting or yachting, but jeans and a t-shirt seem to see me through nearly all of my social engagements. I suppose that says something, perhaps not flattering, about the nature of my social engagements.

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The outfits today, are, as I mentioned last week, a grey and teal skirt which can be paired with either the corset, jacket, and top hat to make a traveling or promenade suit or can be worn with the bodice trimmed in pleats for a dinner toilette. The yellow and white yachting costume is sort of practical (barely) and the bathing dress (a swimsuit to most of us) has matching slippers. All things considered I think Mia would do quite well for herself with this set on vacation. Of course, she can share her dresses with Marisole and Margot.

Personally, I just got back from gallivanting around Alabama for work and then finishing up my taxes (I hate doing taxes) and now I can consider all of my obligations for filled for the moment. As always, enjoy the paper doll and, as always, feel free to let me know what you think. Next week, there will be elves.

Marisole Monday & Friends: Mia at the Bathing Place…

Let me be clear: When it comes to Victorians, the coolest thing to me is the idea of changing your clothing for several times a day. Also, getting to put together a trousseau before you get married. Is it wrong that I love the idea of not having to think too hard about what I would wear for a year?

Anyway, today’s paper doll is a riff on that whole concept. I love reading through old fashion magazines to find out what was proper to wear for a carriage ride or afternoon tea. As a child, I loved the idea of having special outfits for riding or hiking or going for a walk. It felt exotic and fancy.

A jaunty collection of neo-victorian fashions for Mia. her mix and match wardrobe includes 18 pieces for a lady-like day at the seaside,. Free to print and color.

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My original idea was to do a bride and her trousseau inspired by the Victorian inspired styled I love so much. I always think of this as a chance to draw Victorian inspired fantasy clothing with no guilt about lack of historical authenticity. I realized, after I started that I wasn’t sure I wanted to draw that many items, so instead focused on a smaller set of “bathing place” costumes for Mia. Basically, Mia’s off to the coast for a vacation and she’s gotta be dressed appropriately.

So, there’s a yachting costume, a traveling suit with an alternate dinner bodice and a swim suit with slippers to match. All in all, she can handle a weekend in on the coast rather well, I think.

In the Mid-1860s… Civil War Era Paper DOlls in Color

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Here we are today with the colored version of last Monday’s post. Color for historical garments is complicated, because colors are very much a matter of taste and a matter of time. Just as the avocado and burnt orange polyester shirts of the 1970’s seem dated to us today, the colors of the past are rarely how we imagine them to be. I always picture the Victorians in tones of sepia, not because that was what they wore, but because I always see sepia photographs. I once had a professor point out that the way we picture the past has little to do with how the past actually was, but I enjoy my fantasies of the past as much as the next person.

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For this set of paper dolls, I chose to use colors from reproduction quilting cottons as a basis for the garment. They turned out to be a little muddier than perhaps I would have chosen on my own, but I wanted something different than the oranges, blue, pink, and green combination of colors I find myself most often drawn too. The ballgown in pink and black is based on the fashion plate which I drew it from, though I made a slightly darker version of the original.

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I’ll confess openly that I’m not entirely pleased with how some of these came out in color. I went muted and I think that was the right call, but I’m not sure that I didn’t lose some of the lusciousness and the vibrancy of the era. They also came out less romantic than I had hoped they would be. I do think Margot is awfully cute with her freckles and red hair (yes, I do have a weird thing for redheads). In truth, I am pleased with both the dolls. I think Marisole is a warm brown this time and I like how Margot came out. All in all, though I had some second thoughts about drawing a new face for Marisole, I am pleased with Margot and I think she’ll show up a bit more around the blog.

On an unrelated note, child paper dolls have pulled into the lead in the polling… a fact which I am very much surprised by.