Peony in the 1860s: A Paper Doll Dress from May 1860


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Paper doll dress from May 1860 based on a fashion plate from Le Bon Ton designed for the Poppet series. Also available in black and white from paperthinpersonas.com. This is the paper doll dress that started it all. One fashion plate from 1860 inspired this whole week of 1860s children’s paper doll dresses. Isn’t it funny how that can happen? I came across this fantastic plate from Le Bon Ton (another 1860s women’s fashion magazine) and I just knew I wanted to dive into this era. It helps, I suspect, that I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for Victorian children’s clothing.

Mostly, I think it is more true to say that I’ve always had a place in my heart for antique dolls and that has led me to a soft place for children’s clothing.

Just like yesterday’s 1860s dress, today’s paper doll dress features a dress over a guimpe. (Yesterday, I got into a whole definition of the guimpe which I am not repeating here.)

Fashion plate from Le Bon Ton dated May 1869. Originally found on the Casey Fashion Plate index.

As you might notice from the fashion plate to the left is that you can see her pantelettes or pantaloons. Tomorrow, there will be two pairs of 1860s children’s underwear, so you two can create that look along with two pairs of shoes.

The fashion plates from the Casey Fashion Plate Index which is such a great resource. I will keep repeating how much I love it probably until the end of time, or at least this week.

As a friendly reminder, the black and white versions are linked above with the PDFs. Also, if you need a doll, here she is from Monday.

If you love the blog, than think about supporting me on Patreon or leaving a comment. As always, I love to hear from everyone.

Peony In the 1860s: A Dress from August 1864


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Poppets paper dolls dress with pink and black color scheme from August of 1864. From paperthinpersonas.com.

It’s day two of our Civil War children’s clothing week. Today’s paper doll dress is a mix of two dresses from the 1860s. A fashion plate from August 1864 inspired the dress design. The color scheme is from a different fashion plate from June 1865. The pink and black combination from that fashion plate was so contemporary that I wanted to use it. I think it is easy to forget how bold the Victorians could be.

This dress would have been in several parts. It’s not clear from the illustration, but I think the bodice and skirt are meant to be separate pieces. Underneath the bodice, a guimpe is worn. While It is also possible that the bodice and skirt connect, like a jumper, that is not how adult women’s dresses in this era were made.

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The dress design comes from this fashion plate.

If you’ve never heard the word guimpe before, don’t fret. It’s not a word that gets tossed around in most conversations. A guimpe was a high necked blouse-like garment women and children wore underneath a low-necked dress. Think of it like like a dickie or a camisole today. A guimpe was never supposed to be seen without a something over it. Some weren’t even complete blouses, but were just dickies and matching sleeves. Part of the appeal of the guimpe, I suspect, was that washing it was more easy than washing the entire dress.

(If you ever have a time and interest, laundry practices of the 19th century are actually fascinating if, you know, you’re me.)

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The color scheme comes from this fashion plate.

Both of the inspirational fashion plates come from the same publication Magasin des Demoiselles. This French fashion magazine in the 19th century was very popular. Many of the 1860s plates from Magasin des Demoiselles include children, along with the ladies. It’s a great resource for what the fashionable girl, or, more rarely, boy, would have worn while running about and being a kid.

Not that running around being a kid was really condoned too much in this era.

Both fashion plates are from the Casey Fashion Plate index which is an excellent resource for 19th century fashion plates.

As a friendly reminder, the black and white versions are linked above with the PDFs. Also, if you need a doll, here she is from Monday.

So, what do you think of my pink and black color scheme? Too bold for the era or okay? I always love to know what you think. Love the blog? Consider supporting it by becoming a Patron, every dollar is lovely.

Promenade and Play: Victorian Paper Doll Clothes for the Poppets

logo-promenade-playSo, 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.)

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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.

Peach in the Park: A Victorian Printable Paper Doll

logo-peach-parkToday’s Poppet paper doll is all about Victorian children’s clothing of the late 1860s and early 1870s. I love Victorian children’s clothing. I just love it. I even love it in the 1840s when I generally think all the clothing looks really stupid.

I think it is a combination of my natural fascination with childhood studies and exposure to books like The Little Princess at a young and impressionable age. It is likely also because I have a fondness for the idea of antique dolls with little wardrobes of perfectly sewn clothing pieces. The Little Princess was full of dolls. Anyone else remember that book?

And I am not talking about the Shirley Temple movie version where her father wasn’t really dead. I’ve never forgiven them for changing that part.

Anyway, we have Peach, a new Poppet paper doll, with an elegant promenade costume from Godey’s Lady’s Magazine in 1969. Her fashion doll also has a Promenade costume from that same fashion plate. I couldn’t find a decent reproduction of the plate online. Because Godey’s plates folded out, when people digitize the bound volumes they rarely take the time to fold out the plates. The result is that the text is reproduced, but not the folded plate. This is one of my pet peeves about mass digitization projects.

Back to the paper doll- Peach has, of course, a French fashion doll with her who I have left unnamed. Her fashion doll has a walking dress of her own with a hat attached. I have rarely drawn something as small as the fashion doll and I am worried a little about the fit of the gown. I did a quick Photoshop fit test, but you might want to leave some black border for wiggle room on that one. I love the whole paper dolls with their own dolls which are also paper dolls thing. It is hard to pull off though.

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Anyway, I used several sources when working on today’s paper doll. The doll herself is based on the brown-complexioned bisque bebe dolls produced in France and Germany by companies like Steiner, Bru, Jumeau and many others. You can see some examples of these dolls on my Pinterest Board about Antique dolls. These dolls were most common in the late 19th century. As I mentioned above, her dress is from an 1869 Godey’s Lady’s Journal fashion plate. I used Dover’s excellent book- 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates, 1838-1880 (ISBN: 978-0486402222), now out of print, for the 1869 plate. I know there are lots of sources online today for fashion plates, but too many of them omit the context of the plates, since plates were often cut. That is why I like having books of fashion plates in my collection for reference.

Next week, I will share a related Poppet clothing set with some underwear from the 1870s- when even children wore staybands or corsets- and two more outfits and a ballgown for her doll. Also, another pair of shoes with stockings.

I really do have to draw more historical children’s clothing for the Poppets. I had far to much fun with this set.

Remember that you’ll need to cut along the shoulders of the paper doll, so that she can wear her dress.

Viola, A Paper Doll to Print from the 1890s

thumnail-edwardian-logoWe’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.)

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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.

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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.

In the Mid-1860s… Black and White Civil War Era Paper Dolls

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I have no real excuse for the lateness of this post, except that I was traveling yesterday and somehow I didn’t get as much done on for the blog on my vacation as I usually do. Something about traveling always makes me feel a little drained when I finally return to wherever is home. I’ve lived in several states and it always seems to takes me a year before one of them becomes home. As much as I love Alabama with it’s rolling hills (they call them mountains, but being from Alaska, I can’t honestly call them mountains) and it’s clear blue skies, but returning to Alaska still feels like going home. I suspect, eventually, Birmingham will become more homelike.

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Moving onto paper doll related matters, away from rambles about travel, today’s set is much larger than any set of Marisole Monday paper dolls that I have ever done before. It was not supposed to originally be three pages, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to remove anything from the sets and therefore decided to keep everything together. The result was that I ended up with an extra page. The swimming shoes repeat because, once the dolls are colored, they will be the only thing that exposes skin and I know I don’t want to do the two paper dolls in the same skin-tone. The corset and drawers repeat, because I feel strongly that both dolls should get a set of underwear. The hoop-skirt doesn’t repeat, because it’s big and, frankly, going to be white.

As some of you might notice, the second paper doll with the freckles is a different face than the original Marisole. I have named her Margot and she’ll be showing up from time to time along with the Asian version of Marisole who I’ve always thought of as Mia, though I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that on the blog.

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All of these dresses are based on garments from the mid-1860s, hence the title. Something about being in Alabama has made me want to draw huge hoop skirts. Not normally my favorite period in fashion history, but it’s growing on me. I had an Addy doll when I was a child, but I honestly can not recall any exposure to real Southern History outside the standard Civil Rights stuff and a little on the Civil War. Strange how moving here has made me fascinated by all things Southern.

Fashion Doll Friday: Florence’s Dinner or Wedding Dress

A wedding dress for Florence, a paper doll based on a French fashion doll of the 1870s.

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And so, today is the last Florence paper doll post. Actually, I can’t say its the LAST, because lord knows I might decide in five months that what I really want to do is draw the paper doll something new and then I will, but it is the last committed Florence post.

So, since we are on the eve of the New Year (which is quite exciting) and I am considering the future of PTP, I have decided a few things. One is that the short run dolls are ending. I don’t know how I will post my paper-dolls that aren’t serial, but I think some sort of gallery might be the right format for them. I ended up having to reformat them in strange ways to get them to fit with the rest of the site and I didn’t always like the outcome. For the moment, Sundays will be paper doll free- however, I will be working on a Gallery for the site. We’ll see how long it takes me to produce it.

If you missed the first Florence post (which seems not surprising since this is the last Florence post), that is where you get the Florence paper doll.

Victorian Printable Paper Doll from 1886

As a child, my favorite paper dolls were those of dolls themselves. So, here is an 1886 fashion doll and her three page paper doll wardrobe. Each of her gowns is based on a gown from a Dover book of fashion plate reprints from 1886. I remember checking the book out of the college library and spending hours pouring over it looking at the bustled costumes. A lot of fun.

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I’m still proud of this paper doll, even all these years after I drew her. She was drawn during my senior year of college while I was sharing a house with two roommates. I distinctly recall sitting on this ugly green couch we had and penciling her while watching Law ans Order reruns on TV.

Clearly, we were a mad partying group.

I have nothing else really to say today. Classes are going well and work on my grad stuff continues. I’m be so glad when this is all over, I think. I like classes, but I miss working a lot.

Fashion Doll Friday: Florence’s Tea Dress and Cashmere Wrap

It’s been a long week of writing a paper. It’s over through and turned in. I’m excited that its over. I’ve also been inking a fair bit today and working on something fun for Marisole for Monday which should be fun. I do like inking. It’s very calming after a long hectic day at work. Of course, working on the blog is a luxury which explains why I’m a little late today.

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I’ll be starting a new Fashion Doll Friday series on Dec 1st. Currently, the regency wooden doll is in the lead, but it’s open until next Sunday. I must confess I rather suspected the regency doll would be in the lead, though the fifties fashion doll may yet recover and pull a head. Both sound like they would be fun.

So, vote if you wish. Comment if you wish. Let me know what people think they would like.

Florence, the paper doll that wears all these clothes, can be found here.

Florence’s Morning Dress: Victorian Paper Doll Clothes

So I’m a little peeved at WordPress right now. This post was supposed to go up Friday afternoon. Obviously, it didn’t. So, I’m back dating it for the day it should have posted and getting it up today. Apparently, the world has decided against playing nice with me today. (On the upside, I got my homework done this after noon and bought a really cute pair of riding boots. So… things aren’t all bad.)

Today, we have a morning dress for Florence. We also have a poll to vote for the future of Fashion Doll Fridays. My intention is to draw another historical fashion doll and then work on drawing a full wardrobe for her much as I have for the last year and a-half for Florence. A few people have expressed sadness at the ending of Florence. I hope people will come to like whatever comes after as much as they have liked Florence. She will continue for four more weeks (cause that’s how much I have draw for her.) And her final post is quite cool. So look forward to that one.

An 1870s morning dress for the printable paper doll Florence.

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For me, the challenge of Florence was to draw a historically accurate French fashion doll based on the dolls produced by the Bru company (which I did, mostly… her head is more Gaultier or Jumeau in nature) and give her a wardrobe which she would have had from the period of the soft bustle. The question for the poll is, of course, what sort of doll should I draw next?

The options are, in date order, a Georgian doll from the 1700’s, a Regency era wooden doll, a hoopskirt wearing china headed doll, a bisque headed doll from the 1910s (I couldn’t find a good photo of this except for in books, think Titanic era clothing) or a hard plastic 1950’s fashion doll.

So, vote if you wish. Comment if you wish. Polls are open until Nov. 1 with the new doll series starting on December 1st.

Looking for Florence? You can find the paper doll here.