China, Parian & Paper Mache Doll Clothing

Types of China Doll Dresses

              TO SEE BELOW Samples of China Doll Dresses Available 

                  CLICK HERE for fabric selections


Women were constantly changing their clothing so it was only natural that dolls also reflected clothing styles.  The rule of thumb is thinking about dresses is that the dresses became tighter and fancier as the day moved on.

NOTE: For discussion purposes, china doll dresses had fitted bodices.  The sleeves varied with fashion in fullness and style as well as the skirt being more or less full, depending on the season and current style.  At times the skirts were full all the way around, other times less in front and more in back (bustle influence) and then finally form fitting and fuller toward the hem.


  • Starting out with the morning, a lady wore a wrapper. This is a dress that does not require a lot of under-clothing support of petticoats and corsets.  The dress is looser fitting to allow the wearer movement in doing chores around the house.  Fabrics would be more functional as in cotton or wool.


  • A typical day dress would be floor length with long sleeves and a neck-line that was fitted around the neck or a high collar. The dress is worn around the house, again, made with functional fabrics like cotton or wool.


  • Stepping out to do some shopping or a walk the walking dress would have a slight train and ankle length to allow for walking without tripping. The fabric would have been functional or more fine. The dress could also be an upgrade from the day dress where collars and cuffs are added as well as a cape or bertha.  A hat would have been worn. Full undergarments would have been worn under the dress (drawers, petticoats, hoops, corset, bustle).


  • Moving into late afternoon or evening, the dress would be more of a gown with finer fabrics with fancier trims. Sleeves would be shorter to reveal more of the arm and necklines were not as tight. The dress would be tightly fitting.


  • Going out in the evening to dinner, friends, a play or concert, the dress would have been more extreme.  Made of the finest of fabrics and trims, the neckline might reveal the breasts, little or no sleeves and have a lengthy train.  The finest the wearer has in jewelry would have been worn.
NOTE:  Because china dolls do not generally have standard size bodies, all dresses are custom made to measurements provided by buyer, therefore prices reflect the extended time it takes to make a custom item and antique materials used in the fabrication.
CLICK HERE to view a complete set of clothing a china doll or parian might wear.

China Doll Clothing

 Civil War Day Dress with Hemline Cording  Trim

These examples of a typical China doll clothing Day dress are similar, yet have slight style differences.   Antique Child has many Civil War era fabrics  in stock, as well as trims for china doll clothing that can be utilized to fabricate similar dresses for your china doll.  In addition utilizing old jewelry pieces for accent adds elegant and authentic touches, as well as antique and vintage trims currently in stock.  Because china doll bodies vary in proportions, each dress is individually assembled and customized to the your liking, color and taste.   Each sample has its own special focus when jewelry, bonnets (see samples in photos)  and additional details that make the dress special for your doll.  The dress you decide for your doll can be as elaborate or simple as you would like.

china doll clothing authentic bonnet for Civil War era trim on a Civil War dress
Civil War Day Dress china doll clothing Civil War doll dress in gray stripe Civil War Day dress in gray stipes for china doll clothing  cording used doll clothing
 Civil War era cotton doll dress

china doll clothing during Civil War

Civil War with Hemline latice & rayon trim
Day Dress Sizes
Please email style preferences

Mary Lincoln Doll Dress

Mary Lincoln doll dressThis china doll dress replicated from a Mary Lincoln wardrobe photo is made of vintage cotton velveteen and is authentic to 1800’s era china doll clothing.  (see Mary Lincoln section for details).   The Mary Lincoln doll dress bodice is fitted  with bell sleeves and cotton  ruching trim at the edge of the sleeve.  The doll dress skirt is tailored to be less gathered in front with more fullness in back for the pre-bustle effect.  The velveteen dress is lined in 100% cotton with a simulated lace collar at the throat and kerchief at the waist band. 
Cotton Velveteen with Collar

China Doll Dress with Bertha


china doll dress with bertha

Day dress with Bertha collar fabric and trim

china doll dress with bertha collar fabric and trim

Note trim and lace utilized in bodice

china doll dress with Bertha collar fabric and trim

Front View

china doll dress with Bertha collar fabric and trim

Back view showing belt, collar and trim

This  style of china doll day dress can be made in a wide assortment of cotton.  It features a full skirt with fitted bodice with removable Bertha shawl collar.  Due to the non-consistency of  a china doll body the china doll dress is usually custom made, accessories as in cording (see hem, sleeves, collar),  buttons, lace, and  trims are subject to personal taste of the customer.   The doll dress sleeves are slightly puffed and gathered at the cuff.    The collar is trimmed with the same antique style fabric and  lace as is utilized on the dress.  If you would like to order this dress and do not wish to send your china doll, a custom for for measurements can be sent to you for your special china doll dress.


Day Dress w Bertha Collar

China Doll Dress Set

china doll dress with taffeta jacket taffeta jacket with cording for china doll dressThis china doll dress works very well on a slim body china doll because the sleek lines of the style shows off a slim waist to advantage.  The china doll dress set features a fitted taffeta jacket with matching cording trim at the edge and buttons with a frog closure at the waist to provide a snug fit at the waist over the cotton dress underneath.   The china doll dress is made of Homespun brand 100% cotton plaid fabric which is  fitted at the waist with a flare to the hemline.  There is a nice matching cording at the hemline of the dress to tie in the colors of the dress and jacket for this china doll dress set.  This dset  is available in several assorted colors and fabrics in appropriate fabrics for the Civil War and post war periods.  

Homespun Dress w Taffeta Jacket

Box Pleat China Doll Dress

box pleat china doll dress bonnet for china doll box pleat china doll dress side viewThis box pleat china doll dress is considered a walking dress because it has no train and works well the china dolls that have a slim waist. 
This china doll dress is  made of 100% cotton with a  fitted bodice, 3/4 length sleeve.  The china doll dress  has a lined bodice for smooth fitting to the doll.  The china doll dress is accented with gathered antique lace on both the sleeves and neckline with a hook and eye closure.  This skirt is fully lined with a fitted waistband and full skirt.  The doll dress panels pleats can be done in any complimentary fabric.  I have a wide variety of fabrics to choose from so many color selections are available.  This dress can be done in other fabrics as well. 
Box Pleat Walking Dress

China Doll Shawl Dress

china doll shawl dressThis china doll shawl dress set includes a skirt, blouse and shawl and is available in your choice of many 100% cotton fabrics for your china doll. The china doll shawl set is considered a basic dress, not too fancy, for the doll that  requires no frills. The doll shown is an 1890-1930 vintage in which the owner had a piece of family jewelry she wanted incorporated into the outfit and was used as a broach.   Each china doll shawl doll dress outfit is made to order with accented antique lace and can also be fitted with a matching bonnet upon request.  Underneath the doll dress is wearing drawers and an eyelet cotton petticoat accented with 2 rows of pin tucks that can be purchased separately. (see slip, petticoat page for ordering and details).  
Blouse, Skirt, Shawl Set

China Doll Apron Dress

china doll apron dress

Curly Top China doll in Walking Dress

china doll apron dress

Side view showing lines of apron and bustle

The china doll apron dress was a typical style woman used in walking the streets for a stroll, shopping or visiting does not get any more elegant for a china doll or French Fashion. Appropriate for 1870-1880 this china doll dress is made of voile cotton and features a full skirt with front apron and back bustle constructed in long ties.  The fitted doll dress bodice is a straight line with puffed sleeves.  Finishing touches include tiny pin tucks on the doll dress skirt with antique and cotton lace for trim. Underneath is a hooped petticoat & drawers.   This china doll or French Fashion walking dress can be custom made in several fabric to highlight your doll’s best features. 

Walking Dress w Apron & Bustle

China Doll Day Dress

China Doll Day Dress backChina Doll Day Dress This 1880 style china doll day dress is done in  taffeta with hemline pleats & matching wrap for a china doll or Parian doll. Accents for this doll dress include hand done antique lace around the neckline and in tucks with a broach at the neck.   The doll dress bodice is fitted and gathered for fullness in back with a bustle.  The skirt has a front straight lined with fullness mainly in the back.   This version is taffeta, other fabrics available upon request. INCLUDES dress & shawl. 

Taffeta Day Dress w Shawl

1840 Custom Doll Dress

This custom doll dress is typical of an 1840 walking dress design and would be appropriate for a china doll or French Fashion doll of the era.  The custom doll dress features a pointed bodice is fitted with a button broach and the skirt has even gathers for fullness and would be appropriate for a china head doll or fashion doll. The dress is done entirely of real silk. The doll dress bodice features a complimentary pleated silk lapel over a bodice that is made of the same fabric as the skirt. Straight sleeves are utilized with antique lace at the cuffs. The skirt has wide stunning embroidery surrounding the lower portion.   To bring the doll dress essembly together, a silk bonnet is fashioned with antique velvet flowers, vintage tulle, and silk ribbon. (flowers and lace vary with availability) Underneath she wears a couple of petticoats, drawers and a corset.     Shawl and hat sold separately. 

custom doll dress with shawl

1840 bald china head doll

pin tuck design on custom doll dress

Bodice with tucked lapel and antique lace

silk bonnet to match custom doll dress colors

View of Silk Hat with antique details

details of embroider on custom doll dress

Closeup of detailed embroidery

1840 Silk Dress Sizes

Ready to Send Your Doll?


Janie Nafsinger
17122 W. Locust Lane
Caldwell, Idaho 83607

Process & FAQ
 Process & FAQ

CLICK here to find out how the process works from sending your doll, completion time, payment info and shipping.


The doll arrived today and she is awesome, I know Mom will treasure her as she did as a child. I want to thank you for your time...

Tim Stone