1860s Fashion Paper Doll & Her Dresses to Print

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My patrons on Patreon voted for the 1860s to be my next historical paper doll foray. (Join here if you’d like to vote next time.) I hadn’t drawn anything from this era in years, so I had some fun breaking out my costume history books, doing more research on 1860s fashion, and then crafting is 1860s fashion paper doll and her dresses. There’s another 1860s paper doll who will be the March exclusive for my Patrons.

My Newsletter this week will be a special issue all about 1860s fashion with sources!

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1890s Dress Up Time with Pearl

I couldn’t be more excited to share my second Jewels and Gemstones paper doll to have some 1890s dress up fun. A few weeks ago, I share Lapis with her At Home and bicycle outfits. Today, we have Pearl with her walking suit and tea gown. These paper dolls can, of course, share outfits.

While I was researching this era, I kept seeing floral patterned corsets. So, those inspired me. This pale blue one from the Chicago History Museum and this black one from Augusta Auctions. Drawers that inspired the paper doll’s underwear include this set, this set, and this combination set. All shoes come from Harpers Bazaar, but not from an online source. I used one of my fashion plate reprint books.

An 1890s dress up paper doll coloring page with two historical dresses, period underwear, hats and shoes. Fun way to learn about clothing history!

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Promenade or Walking costume from the Delineator from 1894. The actual illustration is here. One thing you see a lot of in the 1890s are tailored suits for women and I am a sucker for a good looking cut away coat. So, that was clearly my favorite.

The tea gown is also from 1894. The dress comes, again, from this plate in the Delineator. Teagowns might look super soft and comfortable, but that’s a lie! They were heavily boned, meaning they weren’t as relaxed as they appear.

An 1890s dress up paper doll in color. She has two historical dresses, period underwear, hats and shoes. Fun way to learn about clothing history!

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The color scheme is more pastel than I used for my Lapis 1890s dress up doll. At first, I was going more sedate with the colors. Then, to my surprise, something about the pale blue corset inspired the spring colors. Now that the paper doll is all colored, I keep thinking of Easter cards. Wrong time of the year, but I’ve never let that stop me before.

I really do recommend looking through Delineator Magazine if you have any fondness for historical fashion. It is a fun read.

Huge shout out to my Patrons, because they chose this era! And because I had a lot more fun illustrating the huge sleeve madness of the mid-1890s than I thought I would. Almost makes me want to draw the 1830s, another era of big-sleeve madness (also hair madness- 1830s hair was bananas.)

1890s Paper Doll to Print with Lapis

My favorite thing about the decade of the 1890s is that short period in the middle of the decade when sleeves become truly absurdly huge. I mean, like sleeves the size of your head. It’s utterly charming and impractical and I love it. So, if I am going to draw an 1890s fashion paper doll, she is going to be the middle of the era.

By the 1890s, there’s a bunch of fashion magazines being published by home sewing pattern companies. The sewing machine has made this a super lucrative field. So, most of these pieces come from the Delineator Magazine which was published by the Butterick Company. One of the reasons I like the Delineator is that their fashion plates were all available for sale as patterns. So they aren’t a dress someone imagines, but one you know people could have actually made.

A printable paper doll coloring page celebrating the 19890s with two historical outfits, shoes, underwear and hats. Super great way to show fashion history to kids.

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The 1890s underwear is a combination with a corset over it. Combinations were a “combination” of pantaloons and a chemise. They went under corsets while on top of them a woman might wear a corset cover and slip or a slip that combined those two garments. V&A has a nice photo.

Lapis, our 1890s fashion paper doll, has two outfits. The first is an At Home Costume based on an illustration from 1896. You can see it on this page of the Delineator. In the 1800s, there’s also a lot of interesting things going on with women’s sporting clothing. Bicycles were super popular in the 1890s thanks to the new “safety bicycle”. There’s many different styles of women’s bicycle clothing from this period, but I chose a Turkish trousers ensemble which comes from the Delineator Magazine in 1894.

A printable paper doll celebrating the 19890s with two historical outfits, shoes, underwear and hats. Super great way to show fashion history to kids.

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Colors are actually pretty vivid in the 1890s. Thanks to chemical dyes, there’s a lot of richness. I was really struck as I poured through museum collections at the number of dark colored corsets I saw. While bright purple seems sort of scandalous, jewel tone corsets really do seem to be a thing from the decade like this purple one and this pink one.

Her At Home Costume I did in pinks and corals. The bicycle outfit I thought would be more practical in blues and browns. After all, it wouldn’t make sense in a world where laundry isn’t easy to be biking around in white or pale blue. I’m sure people did, but I mostly saw brown and blue in my examples.

Anyway, I had fun with this paper doll and I hope others enjoy her as well. If you have a few hours to kill, pouring through Delineator Magazine really is neat. I also want to thank my Patrons, because I don’t think I would have drawn this era if it hadn’t won a poll. I had a lot of fun doing it.

Summer of the 1970s: A Fashion Paper Doll to Print

My patrons over on Patreon voted for what time periods I should draw. The 1970s was one of three winners with the 1890s and Tudor. So, today I’m sharing my second 1970s paper doll.

So much of the 1970s feels super current. It’s tiny details that define it. As I was researching this period, I was attracted to summery casual clothing. I kept thinking about those 1960s surfer movies. Wrong decade, but the human mind is strange.

In the 1970s, there’s a long flat ironed sort of look (think Cher). It felt appropriately casual for the summer. I kept it a bit shorter than I could have, but super long hair causes problems for paper dolls. Someday I should write a whole rant about the complexities of paper doll hair, but I’ll spare you.

A black and white printable 1970s paper doll with 12 different mix and match pieces. A fun coloring page for vintage fashion folks.

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Most of my inspiration came from sewing patterns, as I often do for things from the last 50 years. Simplicity 7479, McCall’s 5539, Simplicity 5413, McCall’s 5084, McCall’s 4920, and Simplicity 5633 were a few of the sewing patterns that inspired me. Her swimsuit comes from Style 1930 from 1977. There’s another swim suit at the Met from 1971 which is the same style. Her purse was from 1975 and also the Met. I forgot to put the date next to it when I was dating everything.

The pattern covers also inspired the colors in today’s 1970s paper doll. I picked white as my primary neutral, because I liked the summery feel. These colors are also mix and match with some of the colors in my 1970s Sapphire paper doll. When it comes to make up, the 1970s was super into really neutral lips and very little color. So, I tried to capture that look with Opal’s face.

A color printable 1970s paper doll with 12 different mix and match pieces. A fun way to teach kids about fashion history or for vintage fashion folks.

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I’ll openly confess I always forget how popular crop-tops were in the 1970s. Crop-tops go all the way back to the 1940s, but come in and out of fashion as the decades go by. I was a child of the 1990s, so I recall those looks with a mixture of sighs and nostalgia. Crop-tops have returned, but fortunately, really low hip-huggers haven’t. It’s a much more flattering look.

Hip-huggers have their origins in the 1970s. The rise on those pants is much higher than we’d associate with same style from the 1990s or today. Opal’s white pants and her shorts are both in the hip-hugger genre.

By the way, all of Opal’s clothing can fit my 1970s Sapphire paper doll as well. So, if you would like to give Opal here a more office look or take Sapphire to the beach, you have that option. Truthfully, all the dolls can wear the clothing. Opal’s swimsuit might show under some of the other clothing out there.

If you’d like to vote on my future paper doll endeavors, head over to Patreon and join us!

Fashionable Lady Of The Regency: Paper Doll To Print

Some of you may recall that in 2019, I posted a Regency Fashion Week. I’ve taken some of those pieces and reformatted them into a paper doll with Regency dresses. I specifically chose pieces from the 1810s as a starting place. I am always conflicted about calling this era Regency. The styles we think of as “Regency” stretch from about 1805 through about 1825 when the waist line begins to drop. It lowers steadily through the 1820s before settling at the natural waist around 1828 or so. The actual period is 1811 to 1820, only about 19 years.

 A Quick Primer on Regency Fashion is a nice overview of the era, I think.

A beautiful paper doll with regency dresses to print and play with. This fun coloring page has one doll and six different clothing pieces.

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Now let’s talk clothing! There’s a myth that in the early 19th century women didn’t wear corsets/stays. This is not true. Women totally wore corsets/stays, but since the styles were changing rapidly, there wasn’t a single silhouette. No woman with actual curves wants to not wear some sort of bust support. It is true corsets weren’t boned as heavily as they would be in later decades. This pair from the Met 1811 and this fashion plate from 1813 are the sources for her stays/corset/whatever you call it. Under that, she wears a shift like this Shift from the MFA.

Shoes at the Met like this pair and this pair inspired her shoes. These boots from the London Museum inspired her walking boots. Her two dress come from the late 1810s. This Dress from 1818 inspired the evening gown and the walking dress is based on this Dress from an 1817 fashion plate at the London Museum. The bonnet is from the same fashion plate.

A beautiful colorful paper doll with regency dresses to print and play with.

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The original color scheme came from specific items that inspired the paper doll outfit. Turkey red was a very popular color in this early era. Another popular color was cerulean blue, which was a very unstable color that tinted towards green. More about regency colors on this website.

Anyway, one of my personal missions has always been to draw historical clothing for paper dolls (because I love it) and especially for models that aren’t white (because it bothers me that history tends to be depicted as all white people until 1950). I think we’re getting better about this, but there’s still a long way to go.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy today’s paper doll with Regency dresses. There’s more where this came from, but I haven’t yet decided how to put those outfits together into a set.

13th Century Women’s Clothing Paper Doll Featuring Lapis

This was my second foray into medieval clothing for the Jewels and Gemstones and, at the time, my first foray into 13th century women’s clothing of Western Europe. I like to be specific, because this isn’t what folks were wearing in Asia or the Middle East in this era.

I tend to call these sorts of paper dolls “clothing” not “fashion.” While the idea of dress as a social marker existed in the 1200s, it wasn’t really fully defined yet. It wouldn’t be until the 1300s, and then introduction of tailoring, that you really start to see trends. By the 1400s, headdresses provide plenty of space for people to engage with fashion.

A paper doll celebrating 13th century women's clothing with several dresses and headdresses.

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Okay, I took really good notes while I was working on this paper doll, so I have a mess of sources.

Lapis is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois (fol. 87v).  I made the length is a little shorter and the style is quite fitted. Both of these changes were done to facilitate the paper doll layering clothing over the shift. The source material is 100 years post this paper doll’s era, but illustrations of women’s shifts are super rare. So I’ll take it.

As usual, the shoe designs come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, if exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear. I love this book, but man… it is not a fun read. The illustrations are great though.  Sources for the dress on the left include Biblia Porta, Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (fol.178r) and  Collection of poems in Old French, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal- Arsenal 3142 (fol.292r).

You can see barbett and fillet headdresses in the Romance of Alexander, England, Cambridge University Library- Cambridge MS O.9.34 (fol.25v)

I based the right dress off of this dress from BNF Arsenal 5211 Bible de Saint-Jean d’Acre (fol.069v). The book dates from 1250-1254. The other inspiration was this dress from U 964 – Biblia Porta, housed at the Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire. The brooch at the throat comes from this illustration in Morgan M.638 Maciejowski Bible (fol.33) dated 1244-1254.

A colorful 13th century women's clothing paper doll with two dresses and three headdresses.

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So, I did have some issues with her headdresses. They are such a defining part of 13th century women’s clothing. The barbette is the piece that goes under the chin and the fillet is the pillbox hat looking piece that wraps around the head. One thing I’m not sure about is whether the fillet was open or closed at the top. This manuscript illustration and this manuscript illustration it looks closed, but this one is definitely open. Anyway, I settled on closed, but I’m still not 100% sure that’s right.

Anyway, disclaimers aside, I hope you enjoy today’s 13th century paper doll! One of her dresses was a Patron piece from last year and I encourage you to head over there if you’d like to get more paper dolls every week.

1970s Fashion Paper Doll- Sapphire

Occasionally, I ask Patrons to vote on what they would like to see. Last time I did it, there was a three way tie between Tudor, 1970s and 1890s. Today’s creation is a 1970s fashion paper doll. When I usually think of the 1970s, I think of psychedelics prints and bellbottoms. When I actually spent some time looking at images from the era, I noticed quickly that while that was one trend of the era, it wasn’t the only trend of the era.

I fell in love a little with the more conservative business attire I kept seeing for women. Well and one jumpsuit, because the 1970s is full of amazing jumpsuits. I couldn’t exactly draw the clothing of the period and not include a jumpsuit. My sources were vintage sewing patterns (this one and this one) and several books I have on 20th century fashion.

A 1970s fashion paper doll coloring page for printing out and playing with. Fun vintage fashion activity for kids featuring a black paper doll and her work wardrobe from the mid-1970s.

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I decided to go with a swimsuit rather than traditional underwear for this paper doll and my other 1970s paper doll. I just kept seeing swimsuit vintage sewing patterns. I settled on this one as my source material. The hip hugger boy-short bottoms with the belt felt very period appropriate.

The closer you get to the current era, the more it is small things that define a period style. For the 1970s, some of those small things include the shape of the collars, skirt length and pant shape. The last is color and that’s a big one too. Speaking of color, I chose avocado green (such a classic of this era), burnt orange and some deep coral. For the dolls makeup, I tried to keep with the “natural look” of the 1970s which required like 57 products, but was supposed to look like it didn’t.

A 1970s fashion paper doll printable. Fun vintage fashion activity for kids featuring a black paper doll and her wardrobe from the mid-1970s.

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I chose Sapphire for the model here, because before the 1970s, you almost never seen black women in mainstream catalogs or magazines. During the 1970s, there’s a wave of diversity. Also, I love 1970s afros. Sapphire’s was inspired by Pam Grier and her amazing curls. I tried to make this look like a looser afro than some of the others I have drawn, but I am not 100% sure it was effective. I’m still practicing my hair drawing skills a decade into this blog.

There is another 1970s fashion paper doll forth coming, but until then you can check out my other 1970s paper dolls or join Patreon if you want to get to vote in my next “time period for Rachel to work on” poll.

Topaz With 12th Century Clothing

In my second Topaz paper doll of the week, here’s some 12th century clothing to go along with the Tudor paper doll from Tuesday. If I had a chose a period of fashion I both really like and know very little about, it would be the 12th century aka 1100s. 12th century clothing in Western Europe is both super interesting to me (I love the sleeves) and very alien.

As much as possible, I try to work from primary sources, ideally illuminated by well written analysis by scholars who know more than me. However, the books I have tend to start in 1200 which is more well documented period and leave 1100s out entirely.

Perfect historical accuracy is impossible, so knowing that I did my best on this paper doll and her 1100s dresses.

A printable paper doll coloring page of 1100s dresses with a paper doll and two gowns.

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Topaz is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380 even though this is 200 years after the 1100s. Illustrations of women in shifts are just super rare, so you have to use what you can find. I made my version shorter and tighter than the originals, because paper dolls have to layer. Paper doesn’t fold like fabric.

Additionally, Topaz’s shoes all come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, a book on archeological footwear finds. It’s fascinating, but very densely written work. Her hair and headdress are based on illustrations from Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles by Georgine de Courtais. Her veil is based on the one seen on the Ushaw Virgin, a brass from the British Museum, as is the dress on the right. The statue, Enthroned Virgin and Child, from The Met, was another source for the dresses. I also used some of the manuscript images from this German site on the Bliaut. All the illustrations are properly cited and that always makes me happy.

A printable paper doll with clothing from the 12th century. Great homeschooling history idea.

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The bliaut is the subject of a lot of debate. Statues of the time show a very wrinkled, almost pleated fabric effect (like this), but illustrations by and large don’t. When they do show horizontal wrinkles across the abdomen they tend to be more subtle. I went with the more subtle option and the no wrinkles option. Inevitably, drawing fashions from history requires making editorial decisions, but I try to capture the silhouette of the period.

Books consulted in the creation of this paper doll included Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles by Georgine de Courtais, Medieval Dress and Fashion by Margaret Scott and Fashion in the Middle Ages by Margret Scott, though this last one was not helpful, particularly.

This is an era I’d like to learn more about. So, if anyone has a book recommendation I’ll happy accept it. Most of my books don’t cover this early period very well.

Today’s set was put together from pieces posted here on the blog last year and on Patreon.

A Celebration of Tudor Clothing

Today’s paper doll is my second Tudor clothing paper doll. My amazing patrons voted for Tudor as a historical era to explore, hence the focus on Tudor. Also, I realized I still didn’t know a lot about the clothing of this time period. My first Tudor clothing paper doll from the Jewels and Gemstones was Ruby and today’s paper doll is Topaz.

A little about this Tudor clothing- this portrait of a young woman from 1567 and this portrait of Susan Bertie inspired the dress on the left. The dress on the right is a Henrician gown. This portrait of Mary I and this portrait of Katherine Parr feature this style of dress in lighter colors than you usually see it. These portraits also show off French Hoods, a very popular headdress style. This portrait, often identified as Helena Snakenborg, is where I saw the court bonnet. I should note that the identification as Helena Snakenborg has never been proven.

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First rule, I gave myself was that I was not going to make any dresses black. Don’t get me wrong, black fabric was wildly expensive in the 1500s and therefore very popular for portraits and people of wealth. Black is, however, one of my least favorite colors. It obscures line work, so I only used it for her hair and the veil for the French Hood. I didn’t see any French Hood’s that had veils of other colors. Also, I have no idea if French Hood is a proper noun and should be capitalized, but I am anyway.

I wanted to use colors I knew were common/referenced in source materials. According to sumptuary laws of the time only nobles could wear blue and there’s references in The Art of Dress by Jane Ashelford to tawny colored gowns. That’s why I chose to make one gown blue and the other a sort of beige color.

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Topaz’s underwear is based on illustrations from the Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The bodies are based on the famous Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg’s pair of bodies from around 1598. All of her shoes come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz. Her underwear, as I noted on the paper doll, has been simplified to facilitate playing with the paper doll. An actual extant 16th century shift is at the V&A and you can see it here.

Other books I consulted about Tudor clothing were, in no particular order, were Tudor Fashion, The History of Underclothes, In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion, and Tudor Costume and Fashion. And you can see some of my reference image so on my 16th Century Dress Pinterest board.

You can see all my Tudor paper dolls here. Up next on the historical paper doll front will be the 1970s and the 1890s. That was the other winners when I polled my Patrons.

A Tudor Clothing Paper Doll

The last time I did a Tudor clothing paper doll, many years ago, I focused on Henrician gowns. You can see that paper doll here. This time, however, I wanted draw a few other styles from that period. So, along with the Henrician gowns I drew several later styles which were popular in second part of the 1500s, but don’t have easy names (or if they do, I don’t know them.)

Today’s Tudor paper doll has two dresses. The dress on the left is from the 1560s to 1570s. I could find a name for this style of robe with hanging sleeves over petticoat, but you can see styles like this in this portrait of a Lady of the Wentworth Family from 1563, this portrait of an Unknown Lady from 1565-1568 and this portrait of Elizabeth Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury circa 1560s. Her dress on the right is a Henrician gown with a matching partlet filling in the low square neckline. These portraits of Queen Mary 1 and Lady Mary Dudley (c.1530–1586) show Henrician gowns with parlets.

Her underwear is a shift, which has been extremely simplified to deal with the sleeves of gowns (the sleeves would have been much fuller and ended in a ruffle/cuff.) Her pair of bodies are a combination of a set from an effigy of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 and those in a famous portrait of Elizabeth Vernon circa 1600. A well cited article about Queen Elizabeth I’s effigy bodies is Sarah Bendall’s Elizabeth I Effigy Bodies Reconstruction. The paper doll has a Spanish farthingale- cone shaped hoops to support skirts that is separate. Spanish Farthingale’s gave dresses their distinct triangular look.

A printable tudor clothing paper doll coloring page with two dresses and period underwear. A great homeschooling history project.

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For much of Europe’s history, women covered their hair. In the Tudor era, women wore headdresses called “hoods”. As far I can tell from my reading, the popularity of hood styles switched in and out depending on the current Queen. With Henry the 8th, that’s a lot of queens. While the French Hood was worn before (and after) Anne Boleyn, it is definitely most closely associated with her. I chose go with the French Hood, but there was also the English (or Gable) Hood and several other styles.

Her hat is a taffeta pipkin- a narrow brimmed cap made of paper and covered in thin silk taffeta. To cover the hair a jeweled cap was worn, which is a style that was also common in Germany.

A printable tudor clothing paper doll with two dresses and period underwear.  A great way to introduce kids to Tudor history and clothing.

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So, let’s talk colors for a moment.

Black was one of the most expensive colors to dye fabric (in part because it look a lot of dye). Crimson and scarlet were also popular colors. I made one of her dresses primarily black and the other a very deep dark red, but it looks black depending on the computer screen settings I realized after I finished.

So, why a Tudor clothing paper doll, you might ask? Because my Patrons voted for it! The poll I shared with my patrons had a three way tie- Tudor, 1970s and 1890s. I’m still working on the 1890s and the 1970s.

I finished the Tudor clothing paper dolls first, because I had already been working on her underwear. Next up will either be 1970s or 1890s… I haven’t decided which one yet. Both are in progress.

If you’d like to get to vote on things like which paper dolls I draw, join us over on Patreon.