"they're cutting paper dresses out for a little cardboard figure that's propped up on a stand between them."
These paper doll kits had been popular for many years - in fact, the first ones in boxed set form were produced in the early nineteenth century. In the late 1950s they were often themed - career girl, glamour girl, bridal for example - or were celebrity-branded and endorsed (there were several Doris Day kits, for instance). One or two were available for boys (cowboys, cartoon characters) but they were overwhelmingly aimed at girls. Sometimes paper dolls were offered as promotional items in girls' magazines and comics, with the clothes ready to cut out from sheets in the publication.