Thursday, May 22, 2014

Paper Dolls with Real Clothes

Paper Dolls with Real Fabric Clothes Woman's Day August 1954
When I was a kid I played with paper dolls. I cut out Betsy McCall, pasted her to tagboard and dressed her with the fashions of the day... all in paper. Paper dolls, to my mind, left much more scope for the imagination (to quote Anne Shirley) than three dimensional dolls. And it was so much easier to design your own "garments" in two dimensions on paper. Add the little tabs and your doll is ready to go.

This 1954 Cut Out Dolly, from Woman's Day Magazine, includes Dolly and outfits made with fabric and photographed. Using each of the outfits as a guide, make your own fabric clothes for Dolly. This would be a wonderful Mother Daughter project, and with today's technology, you could print out photos of the two of you and make wardrobes that match. Download Dolly HERE. Prints on two 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.

Dressing in vintage fashions is easy if you sew. Find vintage sewing patterns for mom and daughter at my Cynicalgirl shop on Goodsmiths and Etsy.


  1. I remember Betsy McCall! We also used to make paper dolls by cutting out fashion photos from magazines, gluing them to cardboard (from my Dad's shirts), cutting around them, then gluing on a popsicle stick (used, of course, nobody bought stuff like that) to hold them up. Or maybe they were puppets.

  2. I recently found a stash of old handmade paper dolls from the early 1900s, some are magazine paper dolls and some are just cut outs from catalogs and magazines. The young lady wrote the names of her characters on the back of each one - so sweet!

    I chose several of them and framed them between glass for my bathroom. They are just lovely!

    Paper dolls were always my favorite, I had Mary Poppins with her lovely dresses, Tricia Nixon and her wedding party, big babies, teen girls, lovely adult women, and little red riding hood. I still have most of them, except the Tricia Nixon. Good memories!

    1. I had the Mary Poppins too! Dover has republished many of those so they are still available in close to their original form. Great idea about framing between glass.