Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on the historical period of 1880s in black and white or in color Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

Viola, A Paper Doll to Print from the 1890s

We’re traveling to the turn of the century today for Viola, a printable paper doll with her wardrobe from 1895 and 1900. She can be printed in black and white or in full color. Viola’s name was  selected from the Social Security Baby Name Index as popular in the 1890s. Fashion in the mid to late 1890′s exists between huge puffed sleeves and the rather horrid pigeon breasted look. Not being a fan of either style, I never thought I would do 1890s paper doll, but I found I liked the fashions at the end of the century, so here she is.

Honestly, the way I look at history has been heavily influenced by the historical paper dolls I had as a child, sparking my interest in social history and fashion history. So, I think historical paper dolls are great printable paper dolls for kids and I’ve only recently discovered that a number of people who use my paper dolls for home schooling activities. All of this increases the pressure to get the paper doll “right”, lest some child’s understanding of 1890′s dress be damaged by my paper doll creation. (Not that I think this would be devastating for the child in question- there are far worse things in this world.)


Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and whiteViola's wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and white{Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Click Here for More Pixie and Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

The mid to late 1890s wardrobe that Viola has is based on museum objects, primarily, and a few costume plates. The Met, The Museum at FIT and MFA Boston, as well as the UK National Trust were a few of my sources. When I am researching a new paper doll, I tend to collect my sources on my Pinterest boards (feel free to follow) and today’s printable paper doll is no exception. I gathered her clothing sources on my Turn of the Century board, before I started drawing.

Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full colorViola's Wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full color
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The Sources, Left to Right: The pair of shoes from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1898. Her corset was an amalgamation of several corsets which you can see on my Turn of the Century pinterest board, however, this corset from 1900 and another corset from 1900 were big influences. I chickened out of making the corset patterned, a fact I regret.

One of her parasols was based on this one, but the other I rather invented based on a lot of various parasols I looked at. The Met actually has a really large collection of parasols, who knew?

Her seaside or yachting costume was inspired by this dress from 1895. There seems to have been a real “sailor” trend in the end of the Victorian period during the bridge into Edwardian.

A visiting or afternoon dress based on a gown from the National Trust Collections of the UK.

The carriage toilette in green is from this fashion plate I found on flickr, though I confess to usually trying to avoid finding things on flickr, since I don’t always trust the accuracy of the sources.

Her gym suit is based on this French one with the shoes borrowed from this gymsuit from 1893-1898.

The ballgown comes from a design by The House of Doucet circa 1898-1900.

Were I to draw today’s historical paper doll again, I would have included a pair of gloves and another pair of shoes, but that would have made her three pages and I wasn’t about to that. Of course, should you wish to add gloves, than I will direct your attention to the Regency Pixie Paper Dolls whose gloves could certainly be adapted here.

Paisely Summer, Printable Paper Doll in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll Sometimes, I struggle to get started on things, especially when I don’t really want to do them. Saturday night came around this week and I really didn’t want to work on this paper doll. I admit it, the orange dress was giving me fits and I was starting to loath my Pantone Spring 2014 Color Report inspired color scheme.

So, I literally set a timer.

Instead of blowing it off, I took out my cellphone and set a timer for 25 minutes. I told myself I would work on today’s Monica paper doll set for 25 minutes and then I would go do something else. Surely, I could suffer through 25 minutes of coloring. Of course, once the 25 minutes was up, I was so far along that I decided I might as well finish.

And here she is, all colored and everything.

I use a timer to do all sorts of things. From cleaning my apartment in fifteen minute bursts to inking for twenty minutes, I find that once I have done something for a short period of time intensely, I often keep going since I’m already in the middle of it. I hate not finishing things, but sometimes I struggle to get started on them.


printable full color paper doll with summer beach clothing

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As I mentioned before, this set’s color scheme is based on Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report and includes several of the Pantone colors. I’m not totally in love with the color choices, but I wanted to stretch myself beyond the colors I tend to naturally gravitate too. Plus, I have done other Pantone inspired color schemes like my Seagulls and Seaside that used the 2013 color report and my Fashion Girl set from 2010 that used the 2009 and 2010 Spring Reports.

Marisole Monday: Secret Agent Girl Printable Paper Doll in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll Happy Monday all!

Today’s paper doll is, as expected, a Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll in full color with a stylish spy wardrobe.

My mother wanted me to mention, after reading my last post about Secret Agent Man, that she did not like Johnny Rivers and it wasn’t her fault that it came on the radio. And that in the days before playlists I should be happy that I get to pick what music I listen too.

Apparently suggesting that she was a Johnny Rivers fan was a deep insult to her hippy, anti-establishment ways.


Thumbnail of full color printable paper doll- Marisole as a Spy

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So, I went back and forth about the right color scheme for this paper doll set. Part of me thought that yellow and pink were a little bright for a super spy, but then it occurred to me that no one would expect a super spy to be wearing yellow and pink. By the way, the short hair style Marisole is sporting is actually her base hair. These days I often draw my base dolls bald which helps when I have to draw hair for them, but back when I drew Marisole I didn’t do that. In her first post ever, she is sporting this hair style. That was back in January of 2010, though I actually drew Marisole sometime around 2008. She sat in a pile of unused base dolls for years before I finally decided what I was going to do with her. I think that’s sometimes the odd thing about working with her. She’s drawn in a style that I don’t know if I would, or even could, use today as my art has evolved.

Oh, by the way, something I am curious about this whether people like colored paper dolls or back and white paper dolls better, so I have changed out the poll in the sidebar. Vote if you want and also consider entering my current contest/drawing if you haven’t. :)

Meet The New Poppet Paper Doll – Posey

Poppet Posey in her School Clothes Logo So, here I am kicking off June with a new Poppet paper doll named Posey.

I’d originally intended to give all my Poppets flower names beginning with P; however, I find I am rather running out of them. The only other two I can think of are Pansy (which I would use, except for that fact that it’s a rather derogatory name for an effeminate man and I just don’t like the connotation) or Peony which I will use one day, but calling the Asian paper doll Peony seemed horribly stereotypical. So, this leaves me with Posey for our new paper doll.

Anyone know of any other P flower names? I suppose I could branch out (pardon the pun) into other P girl’s names or simply other flower names.

Full color Poppet Paper Doll clothes

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Now, Posey’s outfit is based, very vaguely, on a some of the school uniforms I saw when I was studying in England, though it lacks the jacket. I drew the blouse first and I didn’t want to lose the sleeve detail by sticking it under a jacket.

Poor excuse, perhaps, but true none the less.

I confess that I’m not totally pleased with how the skin tone turned out… I recolored it at the last minute, because the other skin tone was horrible. Still, I don’t know how much I like it.

All in all, it’s really good to be back. :)

April Showers in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll First of all, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my sister without whom I would not have ever started collecting paper dolls. She is the one who bought me my Christopher Columbus Paper Doll Set when I was eight and suggested it was too nice to cut up. This started my uncut paper doll collection.

So, thanks Sis. I love you.

And, speaking of paper dolls… here is last week’s paper doll in cheerful full color. I am pretty pleased with everything about her, except my concerns about her mix and match limited wardrobe. I really like how the rainbow shirt came out and the rain-boots and the bright yellow rain slicker, but I’m still feeling that the mix and match options are a trifle limited.

On the other hand, I’ve done enough plain colored tops over the years that surely there’s something that would match. :)

The playabilty (is that a word?) of a paper doll set is always a major concern of mine. One of the reasons I work in series is because I think it’s more fun to have lots of little ladies and lads who can share clothing, than to have a bunch of paper dolls who can’t. (Of course, I also do it because drawing people is the hardest part of this gig.) There are times I confess that I fantasize about transforming this blog into one where I just posted one outfit a day, everyday.

Someone told me they thought that would be more work than what I do now… honestly, I’m not sure. I think it would depend on how much I had to write about the outfit in question. Post writing is sometimes harder than drawing, to be honest.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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Another little side project I’ve been working on is a magnetic paper doll for a three year old I recently met. Now, I need some help with this as I do not have children of my own…

How large would pieces need to be for a three year old to easily manipulate them? I want to be sure that she can play with her paper doll friend on her own without needing too much assistance from her mother. Thoughts from those with kids or experience with toddlers?

Lastly, there will be a contest coming up, probably towards the end of the month. So, keep your eyes open for that.

Pixie In Jewel Tones Named Clarisa

This is a more wintery than summery paper doll, I think. Clarisa is a version of the German name “Clarice” which means bright, brilliant or clear. Clarisa is the Spanish form of this name. I think it’s a beautiful name.

Lately, I have been struggling on the blog. The hardest thing for me to learn how to deal with in the last year has been this:

Life is Not Ideal. Deal with It.

Though it might not be the most stirring life motto, I find I need it more and more. Every post isn’t going to ever be perfect. Every paper doll isn’t going to be perfect.

And maybe that is quite all right.

I started this blog, because I drew paper dolls and I thought it would be worth it to have an outlet for that art. I have to learn to accept that everything isn’t always ideal.

Black and White fantasy paper doll

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So, I might have concerns about the lace and how it turned out. I might have concerns about her lips. I might not really be pleased entirely with everything… I might have wanted to post a different series after last weeks Pixie paper doll…

But… life is not ideal. Deal with it.

Sporty Pixie named Adannaya

Like Jaunty Summer Styles and Minimalism, today’s printable paper doll was the direct result of me purchasing a bunch of fashion magazines in March. Adannaya is rocking the “sporty” look which is very popular. Sort of high fashion meets gym wear and if that seems like an odd match to you then you are not alone (it seems an odd match to me too). Her hair is based on this fantastic updo which I pinned to my hair board on Pinterest. Lurking around my Pinterest boards provides sneak peaks on what I am currently obsessed with. Feel free to follow me.

Anyway, the name Adannaya is from West Africa, Igbo to be specific, and means “Her Father’s daughter” according to Behind the Name. I’m sure I’ve never used the name before. I liked that I could track it to a specific culture. I think calling a name “African” is just as absurd as calling a name “European”. There are about a hundred major African languages, so I wasn’t going to use a name if I couldn’t trace it back to the root language. For Adannaya the root language is is Igbo, mostly spoken in southeastern Nigeria. Someone who knows more than me about the region would know if it was a common name or not, I have no idea, but I liked how it sounded.

Black and White fantasy paper doll

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Anyhow, I’m traveling today, so I’ve pre-scheduled this to rule in my absence. I’ve nearly worked my way through my backlog that I spent so much of February and March building. I suppose this means I’ll be drawing a fair bit over the next few weeks trying to get caught up again. What I really need is another snow closing… but I doubt that’s going to happen. :)

Jinn in Some Bright Colors

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll If I was going to give out a prize for “set I colored the most times”, I think this one might be in the running for winning it. I think I went through four or five color schemes with this set.

I’m still traveling, so today’s post is a little late. I rather forgot it was Monday which tends to happen to me when I’m away from work and busy. I hope everyone had a lovely Easter sunday. I watched two little girls with matching Easter dresses ride their bikes up and down the street and concluded that they were, very possibly, the cutest things I’d seen in a long time.

Plus it wasn’t raining and that rarity in Southeast Alaska is a welcome change from the usual.

Meanwhile, we have our Jinn now fully colored with bright orange skin, blue hair and a colorful wardrobe. As I mentioned above, I went through quite a few different color schemes before I decided that I liked this one.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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To be entirely honest, I am still not sure I totally like the colors. I find the more complicated patterns that outfits have than the more confusing the color schemes become. Plus our Jinn has orange skin, which doesn’t really help in the coloring arena. I wanted to keep her copper colored skin and blue hair, as Jinn are supposed to be made up of smokeless fire and scorching heat.

This maybe the only post this week. I might manage another one. I just don’t know for sure yet… travel can be exhausting.

Ms. Mannequin in Skinny Jeans and Peasent Tops

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes One of the quirky things about working so far in advance is that sometimes I stumble across files I sort of forgot about. And today’s post is one of those files. Opps.

This set was completed last year and I actually thought I’d posted it, but when I was looking through my files, I realized I never had. After a few moment of, “Well, now I feel rather foolish…” I decided to put it up. After all, there’s no reason not to post it even if it’s a little old.

When I had started this series I had decided to stick to a pretty small selection of colors designed to provide the most mix and match options for outfits, but in hind sight, I seem to recall getting pretty sick of the color options before the set was completed.

black and white printable paper doll clothes for Ms Mannequin paper doll series

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