Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vintage Paperdolls

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, my Grandmother was an artist as well as a talented seamstress from a very young age, until her arthritic hands couldn't do it anymore. When she was a girl, she would walk up and down the streets, studying all of the pretty dresses in the store windows. She would sketch the dresses in her sketch book and then go home, make her own patterns and create the dress she saw in the store window by hand. Not only did my Grandmother teach all of her daughters how to sew, bust she taught me as well at around age 8. I learned on an antique Singer that she had growing up. It was just my size and worked like it was brand new! 

When she was young, for entertainment, she made her own paper dolls. She would cut a model out of an advertisement and use that for the doll itself. She would then draw all the clothes to fit the body, with great care and detail.  The dolls you see below are the ones that she did in the 1920's. She saved them in an old cigar box for when she had daughters of her own.

When my mom was growing up, she played with her mother's paper dolls, and also made her own. She modeled hers after Veronica, the curvaceous comic book character. The doll has disappeared, but we still have the fun outfits from the 1950s. My mother saved hers, along with my grandmother's in the same old cigar box for when she had daughters.

When my sister and I came along, my mother pulled out the paper dolls and we played with them all the time, and made our own as well. I kick myself now for selling mine in a garage sale, but can you imagine the style of clothing on my dolls?!!! Stirrup pants and shoulder pads! Good have to wonder about the fashion of the early 80's. Maybe it is better that they are gone along with that hideous fashion. :)

It is amazing that these dolls have held up so well after all of these years of being handled. I am now in the process of putting them in frames where I can display them and look at them everyday. They are after all, a work of art and if I ever have a little girl, I will teach her how to make paper dolls.


  1. such a sweet post! I just love stories of how talents are passed down--and that these paper dolls have lasted, wow!

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