Opal in the 1950s

A 1950s fashion paper doll in period underwear with three pairs of shoes. She can wear any of the Jewels and Gemstones paper doll clothing including the 1950s outfits.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I love 1950’s fashion. So, clearly I wanted to make a 1950s fashion paper doll. I think it is one of the most beautiful eras of women’s clothing and probably that’s because I have a very 1950s figure myself. I tend to look good in 1950s dresses. Besides that, I think it’s sort of the last era where there’s really an idea of dressing for an occasion. There’s very clear lines in what is “casual” and what is “formal” and where things can be worn.

While I very much don’t want to live in the 1950s (I like that I can’t be fired from my job for getting pregnant), I really do love the idea of having outfits for different activities. Maybe it’s because I never feel like I know what to wear to anything and would love it if it was more clear cut.

I chose Opal for the model, in part because I never saw non-white historical paper dolls as a child and I try to be more diverse, especially in my historical paper doll creations.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, let’s start with shoes, because I love shoes. The sources for these shoes were all from the Met except one pair. So, these shoes, these ones and these ones all come from there. The middle pair is the outlier and it comes from LACMA and these are the source image.

Now, let’s talk underwear. Our 1950s fashion paper doll, Opal, is wearing a girdle and strapless bra combination. In order to make sure she could share clothing with Sapphire from the 1950s, I matched the shapes of their underwear. Opal’s girdle is based on this 1950’s American one and her brassier is based on this 1950s French model, both from The Met.

Opal’s hair is a nod to Ava Gardner’s short hair style (she had a few) which you can see here and here. I’ll confess I don’t think it came out quite as I’d hoped it would.

Specific Source Images:There’s a lot here, so here we go- this girdle, this brassier, these shoes, these shoes, these shoes, these shoes and this hair.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More 1950s Fashion for Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Claricia Psalter from the Late 12th Century

Last Thoughts
I wanted to collect up all the 1950s paper doll dresses I’ve created for the blog and put them together, so you can easily grab some clothing for poor Opal here whose just in her undergarments. If you’re a 2 dollar and up Patron, there’s two more- a suit and a day dress both from the 1950s.

1950s Fashion Paper Dolls for the Jewels & Gemstones

Do you like the 1950s? Let me know in a comment. It is one of my favorite eras. Do you have a favorite decade for 20th century fashion?

12 Century Bliaut with Girdle

A printable paper doll with 12th century clothing including a bliaut, girdle, headdress, stockings and shoes. A great homeschooling history activity or just a fun paper doll for anyone who likes medieval fashions.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
So, I am still working on the 1100s, 1200s and 1300s paper dolls. The 1300s paper dolls aren’t even drawn yet. So, I’m sticking with the 1100s and 1200s. I’ll get to the 1300s when I have a moment.

Anyway, meanwhile, there’s this 1100s gown known as a bliaut. Can I confess that I’m not sure how to pronounce that word? Anyway, it’s the wide sleeved garment that most of us associate with the medieval era. Despite being popular in pop culture, it’s actually gown there’s a lot of debate about how it was constructed.

The bliaut was worn by men and women, often in layers. The length seems to have been regional. In France, they look really long, but in Germany there’s often a shorter bliaunt illustrated over a longer kirtle. So, there seems to be some variation in the regional styles.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, so I looked at a lot of pictures and a lot of statues and I read a bit. Here’s what I understand: The bliaut is the subject of a lot of debate, as I mentioned above. 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 (like this). Additionally, smaller statuary (like this one) doesn’t show wrinkles across the abdomen.

There are, at the moment, several theories as to why and how wrinkles abdomens got formed, from cutting the fabric on the bias and lacing the sides (to create wrinkles across the stomach) to making a separate bodice and attaching it to the skirt.

I chose to go with a more subtle wrinkled look in my illustration, because outside of the giant statuary outside French cathedrals,  the wrinkles just don’t seem the tight or distinct in the art of the time.

Specific Source Images: Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres Statuary (see this picture) & Stuttgart WLB, cod. bibl. fol. 57, origin: Zwiefalten abbey circa 1125-1130, f. 55 as pictured here (retrieved 9/9/2019).

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls, more paper dolls from the Medieval era, Topaz with her 1100s underwear
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress), an interesting webpage with lots of pictures, and an interesting site with lots of pictures in German (I think?)

Last Thoughts
While I don’t have a real opinion on how bliauts were constructed, I do find it interesting the amount of debate there seems to be out there on the topic. The only theory I find least plausible is the separate bodice with skirt theory. I’ve seen some illustrations that seem to back it up, but never with proper citation. Cite your sources people! Additionally, separate bodices  would have had to have been invented and then ignored for like 300 years and that just seems implausible. Not impossible, mind you, but implausible. However, I always love to hear from folks to know more than me on these topics, so share away in the comments.

(But do try to keep it polite. I’ve had strange debates and oddly angry emails over medieval clothing before which, odd the true, still boggles my mind.)

Mean while, on Patreon, there’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday! Plus previews of what I’m working on, polls and whole different paper doll series called Vivian. It’s a fun group. Check it out!

And if you need a paper doll with proper hair and undies for this era, grab Topaz in her 1100s underwear. The 1200s Lapis can also do in a pinch, if you’re more partial to redheads.

Topaz in the 1100s Undergarments and Shoes

A 12th century fashion paper doll with shoes, wigs and historical underwear.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I am super excited about this collection of paper dolls. I love costume history. Sometimes, I feel like despite my love of the topic (or perhaps because of it), I get a little paralyzed feeling like I have to do so much research before I can create something and worrying about the quality of my sources. This worries me less in eras I am confident in, such as the 19th and 20th century, and worries me more in eras I am not confident about.

But then I won’t learn or get better if I don’t practice drawing these periods, so I think it is okay to not be perfect. Even more importantly, I think you have to start with in perfection or you never move forward.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Like last week’s Lapis, this week’s Topaz is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380. Illustrations of women in just shifts are exceedingly rare, so even though this is 200 years after the 1100s, I am still using it. I made my version shorter and tighter than the originals probably were to facilitate the paper doll layering clothing over the shift. Paper dolls have to layer.

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. Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern by Georgine de Courtais was the book I used for her hair and headdress, along with this statue, Enthroned Virgin and Child, from The Met.

Specific Source Images: Roman de Giron le Courtois Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. NAF 5243 (f.87v) &  Enthroned Virgin and Child ca. 1130–1140, The Met, Accession Number:47.101.15.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More from the Ballet and Dancing collection
Around the Internet: Claricia Psalter from the Late 12th Century

Last Thoughts
I’d like to give a shout out to my Patreon supporters, because without you all, the blog wouldn’t happen.

Additionally, later this week there will be a gown from the 12th century (aka the 1100s) and I am excited to share that though I am also nervous about how little I know about this era. However, this is how I learn, so there you go!

13th Century Sleeveless Surcoat over Dress

Free to print, a historical paper doll outfit from the 13th century surcoat design with a headdress and shoes with stockings.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Today’s paper doll dress is a surcoat (over-dress) over another dress. As far as I can tell, this style came into fashion in the second half of the 13th century and sticks around in various forms for over 100 years. As I said when I was showing off Lapis and her 13th century undergarments, I am not an expert on this time period. At best, I am a dabbling amateur. However, one thing I did notice as I looked at many many pictures was that the 13th century is similar to the 14th century, if they hadn’t yet mastered curved seams and tailoring techniques.

So, while in the 14th century they have sideless surcoats over fitted kirtles, that is not what you see in the 13th century. You see their predecessors- a sleeveless surcoat over a dress where just the sleeves are visible and there’s no waist as far as the eye can see. This style does continue into the first part 14th century- here is an example. Later the armholes lengthen, these surcoats are in the later 14th century style.

Clothing rarely confines itself to neat time ranges, but rather tends to ease over years and decade markers.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
As usual, the shoe designs come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, in exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear. The surcoat is based on this illustration and this illustration while the headdress comes from here, but also from all the looking at headdresses I did when drawing Lapis.

Specific Source Images: Biblia Porta, Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (fol.178r),  Collection of poems in Old French, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal- Arsenal 3142 (f.292r), Romance of Alexander, England, Cambridge University Library- Cambridge MS O.9.34 (f.25v), this recreation of 13th century dress & this recreation of 13th century dress

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls, Lapis with her 13th century underwear & Everything I’ve Drawn from the 13th Century
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress is one of my goto places for illustrations), Manuscript Miniatures (a website that collects manuscript miniatures) & the amazing Gallica, the digital library of France

Last Thoughts
I previewed a lot of this collection over on Patreon. So, thank you to all my Patrons to encouraged me to continue even though I was a little nervous. Reminder: There’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday, plus previews of what I’m working on and polls and things. Check it out!

Rarely have I wished I knew more medieval Latin, but when I am looking for primary source illustrations of clothing I do. It’s very hit and miss, but I do my best with my limited knowledge. I respect people who do recreations of these garments, but I wish more of them properly cited their source images. It’s very frustrating to find a great illustration from an illuminated manuscript, but have no way of knowing where it came from. I won’t use anything that doesn’t properly cite a source. I’m a librarian, after all. I have some standards.

Lapis in the 1200s

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There are time periods where I feel like I know a fair amount and then there are time periods of fashion history where I feel (and I am) quite ignorant. The 1200s are one of those time periods. It’s not an era I have a great deal of natural interest in (sorry 1200s) and I don’t really feel like devoting the long hours of research to it. Also, I think the headdresses look funny.

So, all of that is to say that I noticed the basically the only different from the 1100s through the 1300s was headdresses and the undergarments all stayed pretty much the same. There are some documented differences in the 1400s, but I’ll get into that when I get around to drawing it. The result of this discovery was excitement when I realized I could draw the same shift and basically have a period underwear wearing paper doll for a 300 year time period.

This was very exciting. (Listen, I know this wouldn’t be exciting to normal people, but I make my own fun.)

So, this is the first of a series of paper dolls from the 1100s, 1200s and 1300s.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Lapis is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380. Yes, I realize that’s like 100 years later than this paper doll, but here’s the thing- illustrations of women in just shifts are exceedingly rare, so I am going to take what I can get. A few differences in my rendition are that 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.

Her headdresses are in the style of the barbette and fillet. 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 point I couldn’t quite sort out was whether the fillet was open or closed at the top. This manuscript illustration looks closed while this manuscript illustration it could go either way. These ones look closed while this one is definitely open.

In the end, I went with Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern by Georgine de Courtais where fig 13 on shows it closed and that was my decision. I maybe totally wrong. The book was originally published in 1986, which while not super current, is current enough for me to feel fairly confident in it. Unlike, for example, books on historical costume first published in the 19th century when I have serious doubts about the quality of the scholarship.

The designs for her shoes come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, in exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear.

Specific Source Images: Roman de Giron le Courtois Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. NAF 5243 (f.87v), Lausanne Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (f.93v),  The Old Testament The Pierpoint Morgan Library, MS M.638 (f.33v) & Decretals by Gregory IX, with the apparatus of Bernard of Parma, University of Oxford, Bodleian Library,  MS. Lat. th. b. 4 (f.168r)

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress) & a beautiful reproduction outfit here

Last Thoughts
I’m tossing this out to the audience today, because there’s a high chance someone out there knows way more about 1200s clothing than I do. That would not be hard. Was the fillet open on the top or closed? Because I can’t seem to get a clear answer on that one. Thoughts? (And if you tell me your sources on why you think one or the other, I would be eternally grateful.)

Over on Patreon, there’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday, plus previews of what I’m working on and polls and things. Check it out!

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.

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