Whenever I meet young girls and ask them about paper dolls, which I confess I don’t do very often, they seem to often ask for Princesses. I don’t know what it is about paper doll princesses, but it seems to be a popular trend. As a child some of my favorite paper dolls were those of Peck-Grande which featured beautiful fairytale paper dolls with fantastic dresses (Here’s some images from their Beauty and the Beast paper doll or Sleeping Beauty paper doll). As far as I can tell, princess seems to translate to “amazing over the top gowns” and that works for me.
(The feminist in me always wants to give a lecture on the patriarchal nature of historical princess-dom right now, but the lover of pretty dresses in me doesn’t care.)
When I design complex patterns for paper doll clothing, I like to try to keep the outfits themselves fairly simple. I think it is easy to get the pattern “lost” in the lines needed for pleats and folds. So, when I decided I wanted to play around with complex patterns for these gowns, it wasn’t a hard decision to know that I needed a simpler silhouette.
Early Italian renaissance dresses (from about the 1490s) have always had a soft place in my heart. Someday I do want to do an actual “historical” paper doll from this period, but until then, I had fun playing with the silhouette in this paper doll princess set. These styles might look familiar if you remember Her Ladyship from 2014, she was inspired by the same time period.
Every time I design a princess paper doll download with these sorts of elaborate patterned fantasy gowns, I swear that I won’t do it again and then I do. Insanity is doing the same thing over again, expecting different results, they say, but here I found myself once more painstakingly coloring an insanely complex pattern and grumbling about it.
My original plan was to go very traditional with the colors here. In the actual Renaissance, the expense of dye meant that darker colors were more fashionable and expensive than lighter colors. So, that was my first plan- black, red and gold would have abounded.
But then I realized that if I was going to use a dark brown skin-tone for the doll (which was my plan all along) and then went black and red with the clothing, it was going to be a really dark paper doll set. Plus dark colors on these kinda elaborately patterned outfits obscures the black line-work. I spent to darn long coloring this to obscure the nuances of those patterns. So, gold, red and black when out the window for rose, lime and teal. Nothing says spring to me like rose, teal and lime.
Plus, I think the brighter spring colors are nice for a May set. It’s spring here in Alabama, after all.
If today’s Monica princess color page needs some friends or more dresses, there’s literally dozens of options, but I think A Noble Lady, Pattern & Grace, Queen of Dusk and Book Loving Princess all make nice accompanying black and white paper doll sets as they are in a similar silhouette. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with deciding today’s Monica freelances as a circus performer or pirate, but I thought if people wanted more “princessy” looks than the four paper doll sets I mentioned above would work well. As many of you know, versatility is very important to me in my paper doll related activities, so I try to point out where one set might interrelate to another set.
After all, I don’t expect y’all to keep track of the 500 paper dolls on the site, especially since I can’t always keep track of them myself.
In case you’re wondering why both the color and the black and white version of today’s paper doll are being posted, there will be a post explaining ALL on Wenesday, or at least MOST.
It is nice to be back.