1940s Fashions with Jade: A Printable Paper Doll

A paper doll coloring page with a curvy 1940s black lady and her ten piece wardrobe.

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A paper doll coloring page with a curvy 1940s black lady and her ten piece wardrobe.

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I love drawing historical fashion for paper dolls. It’s a little more time consuming than some of the other things I do, but well worth the extra work I think. I tried to capture the broad shoulder of the 1940s with all these pieces and I think some of them were more successful in that than others. Color-wise, I wanted things to be super mix and match. Plus, of course, today’s 1940s Jade paper doll can wear any of the dresses for last week’s 1940s Topaz paper doll. For my patrons, there was a 1940s Lapis paper doll who can also share.

Jade’s hair is based on that of Butterfly McQueen. I often use actresses for vintage paper dolls hair reference images and I don’t have a strong collection of vintage black fashion magazines. Since I work with historical documents for a living, I have no desire to add piles of old magazines to my world. I do enough of that at my job. You can pop over to Pinterest to see more of my 1940s fashion inspiration for today’s paper doll. As always, I also used my books which are a big part of my paper doll research universe.

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Topaz in her Early 1940s Fashions

A black and white printable 1940s paper doll coloring page with vintage fashions to color. Four mix and match dresses, plus hats and shoes.

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A printable 1940s paper doll coloring page with vintage fashions. Four mix and match dresses, plus hats and shoes. The dolls wears a 1940s style swimsuit.

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When I am drawing a historical fashion set, like today’s 1940s fashion paper doll, I always struggle a little to find sources. Since most things after 1924 are perceived as being still in copyright, there’s just not as much out there on the internet. I won’t get into my personal opinions about that one, but I did discover an amazing resource when I was working on this 1940s fashion paper doll was this site called Christmas Catalogs & Holiday Wishbooks. It doesn’t just contain Christmas catalogs, but also have general Sears, Montgomery Ward, and a few JCPenney catalogs from the mid-20th century. Super fun to look through- one thing I noticed was the gradual decline of space given to the topic of hats for women in the catalogs from the 1940s to the end of the 1960s.

You can see more of my sources on my 1940s Fashion Pinterest Board. I also used my books, as I usually do. There’s going to one more from this collection. The first one was last month’s Patreon paper doll. I’m also doing a Patreon poll on the next decade I should do (I already have a 1960s and 1930s sets in the works). Currently, the 1980s is in the lead. If you are a patron, go vote!

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Aces & Queens: A Playing Card Inspired Paper Doll

A playing card inspired paper doll with dreadlocks and a mix and match wardrobe.

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A playing card inspired paper doll with multicolored dreadlocks and a mix and match wardrobe.

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This paper doll set was my partner’s suggestion for a playing card themed paper doll creation. When I think of playing cards, I sort of inevitably end up thinking of retro glam, show girls and a little bit punk. That maybe helps explain why this paper doll’s clothing is a little all over the place. However, I do think there’s some neutrals like jeans you could steal from Polka-Dots, Retro-Beach Summer or Flowers and Showers. I am realizing though, as I write this, that I haven’t done that many contemporary fashion sets for the Jewels and Gemstones 2.0 ladies.

By the way, I’ve had a few people reach out over my long absence. I was dealing with some family things. It’s all resolved and I have a wonderful support network. Thank you for your kind words and things will slowly be ramping back up here as I get more settled.

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DDJ: Retro Space Paper Doll Adventures with Dawn

An Asian paper doll coloring page with four dresses and a space suit in a retro-1960s sci-fi theme.
A color printable Asian paper doll with a space wardrobe theme, She's got four dresses, boots and a space suit in 1960s inspired colors.

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There’s something really fun about retro futuristic clothing of the 1960s and I had fun drawing it for today’s printable paper doll. I was tickled when I saw it mentioned in the latest issue of Paper Doll Review. Anyway, I’m always up for drawing paper dolls with retro space clothing. I’ve been watching Star Trek: The Original Series with my partner during the pandemic and it’s a hoot. So, here we have four space mini-dresses, a totally impractical space suit and some very important space boots.

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A Valentine’s Day Paper Doll For 2021

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Valentine’s Day is a holiday I always try to make a paper doll for, because of my grandmother who often sent Valentine’s Day cards with paper dolls in them to me and my sister. This paper doll has a small colorful mix and match wardrobe with some retro dresses and slip on shoes. Don’t forget to cut between the dolls shoulders and her hair, so the tabs fit better.

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1950s Dresses with Sapphire

If I had to pick one period of fashion that I think I would look pretty good in it would be the 1950s. In the real world, I might be a strictly hoodies and jeans sort of girl, but if I do dress up, the the 1950s tight waist, full skirt, is my go-to silhouette.

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. I did this series last year for the larger scale Jewels and Gemstones. It was fun to put them together as a set. I have even more 1950s stuff, so there will be another set of these.

Let’s talk some sources. Her dresses are Vogue 8596, Simplicity 3572 and Simplicity 4966. Two of the hats are from the Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1950.. All of the other Accessory inspirations are from the Met including- this purse, these shoesthis hat, and these shoes. Her underwear is this corset from the V&A. 

A 1950s black fashion paper doll to color with retro dresses and underwear. She has three dresses, three hats and two pairs of shoes.

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For Sapphire’s hair, I based her style off the hair styles worn by Dorothy Dandridge and Leana Horne two black stars from the 1950s. These photos of Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge (Here’s the same hair again on Dorothy Dandridge in 1954) were my inspiration.

They were also super interesting people. Dorothy Dandridge was an actress who was the first African-American woman to on the cover of Life magazine. She died quite young, sadly. Lena Horne was a wildly successful singer. She got blacklisted after being accused of being a communist.

A 1950s black fashion paper doll to print with vintage dresses and underwear. She has three dresses, three hats and two pairs of shoes.

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I tend to love the color red. However, for this set, I chose to try to avoid using it, even though I tend to always want to. Her only red is the lipstick. I love the idea of wearing hats, even though I don’t. So, the hats as universal as possible, so I matched them to shoes.

The show Lovecraft Country made me want to finish this set. The character Ruby has the most amazing outfits. I love seeing a curvy, black woman dressed up in the finest 1950s fashion. The actress Wunmi Mosaku does an amazing job with the character and I love the costuming choices like this dress and this dress. Seriously, I want her all clothes.

I don’t know if I’d universally recommend Lovecraft Country, because it is a horror show and there’s some pretty graphic violence. I like it, but I know it won’t be everyone’s taste. Plus, it is uneven- hits well when it hits, but when it doesn’t… (much like Lovecraft’s writing) it’s a little painful. There’s also some transphobic stuff which I found pretty troubling. I think the show has good and bad things about it.

I digress. Enjoy today’s paper doll and if you love the blog (and want more paper dolls) join us over on Patreon.

Retro-Beach Summer Paper Doll with Ruby

One of the interesting things about switching over to Jewels and Gemstones 2.0 has been getting to gather up related pieces from other sets and make them into new sets. I had fun collecting some of the summery clothing I’d drawn over the last year and transforming it into a new set for Ruby, though any of the dolls can wear the clothing. To my patrons, I’m sure these pieces look familiar, but I don’t think most of them have shown up on the blog before.

So, that’s kinda fun.

Paper doll coloring sheet with mix and match wardrobe from paperthinpersonas.com

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I went through several color schemes with this set. Before I finally settled on one that I reminded me of a retro 1960s surf movie poster color scheme. Of course, I didn’t actually look at any retro surf movies for inspiration, but that was my concept. Ruby basically has my hair color here, because I don’t see that color in paper dolls much.

Brunette printable fashion paper doll dress up page with 8 mix and match clothing options.

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In other fun news, I’ve got a published magazine paper doll. If you go grab the current issue of Doll Castle News, you’ll find my paper doll dedicated to “Doll-O-Ween” (shout out to my partner Adam for the title) in there. She was inspired by both BJDs and vintage Ginny dolls. Drawing dolls and not having them come out creepy is super hard. My respect for Diana Vining’s art grew immensely in that project. You can also see some pics on my Instagram.

Anyway, I keep meaning to do a longer post with photos of my sketches and such. However, in case that doesn’t happen (and who knows if it will) I wanted to share.

As always, if you love the blog, want to support it, and want more paper dolls every week- join us on Patreon. This is a one woman show, so any level of support is super helpful to keeping things rolling around here.

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!

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.

Cropped Sweater with Flared Jeans

Cropped sweater and flared jeans for my printable paper dolls in color for printing and playing with. Cropped sweater and flared jeans for my printable paper dolls in black and white for printing and coloring. Free paper doll clothing sheet.

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I wanted to draw some more contemporary clothing for the Jewels and Gemstones paper dolls. I’ve been thinking a lot more about creating print products and what that might look like. So, the desire to have a robust mix and match set that could be eventually turned into a printed set has been on my mind. 

To do that, however, I need more mix and match option for the Jewels and Gemstones- hence the desire for more contemporary clothing for them. 

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll Outfit

My sister wore an outfit like this one when I was visiting her for Thanksgiving this year. Cropped tops with high waisted pants are very much still in style- though I openly confess that it is not a look that I wear very often. My sister is more adventurous when it comes to clothing than I am.

Specific Source Images: Sweaters like this example and this example

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & more Sweaters for Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Hmmm… I don’t know. Not sure what to link to for cropped sweaters and jeans today.

Last Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll Fashion

I was a child of the late 1990s and early 2000s, so back when I was younger the look was cropped tops and low slung jeans. I do think the high waisted pants with crop tops is a bit more of a forgiving style, as the other is pretty hard to wear unless you have amazing abs.

(I do not have amazing abs.)

If you enjoy my paper dolls and want more paper doll goodness every week, head over to Patreon where I post an extra Friday paper doll outfit and have some other super fun project going including my 365 Day project where I am sharing a paper doll piece every day.

(Okay, almost every day, I’ve missed two days so far, but I’ve caught up. Progress, no perfection.)