Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Ballgown


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A fantasy ballgown with a neo-victorian flare for a printable paper doll from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Friday!

It seems only proper to close out the week of steampunky paper doll goodness with a ballgown, don’t you think? I mean, after all, it is the most formal of the formal. Ballgowns were just below Court Dress on the formal scale and Court Dress was pretty much as formal as it got.

Plus Court Dress came with crazy rules like it had to have a train and at one point, it had to have panniers and… I could go on.

Since it amuses me (and that’s all that matters), let’s continue this week’s tradition of 19th century style explanations of Monica’s steampunk or neo-victorian outfits, here’s my ballgown description:

An elegant ball or evening dress suitable for a young matron or unmarried lady in pale leaf green trimmed in lavender. The bodice is two tones of green with a lavender side lacing and the skirt is cut in the mermaid silhouette with curved frills of satin flaring elegantly to the floor in pale blue, lavender and green. 

One of the great things about all the outfits this week is that they are in the same color scheme, so if you wanted too, you can mix and match say the bodice of yesterday’s dinner dress with today’s skirt for a whole different look. Or I think Monday’s walking suit jacket would look dynamite with yesterday’s skirt. And those are just the first two ideas that came to me.

Quick reminder: Black and white versions can be downloaded at the top of the post. 🙂

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe

I do want to address one other thing. I was asked my a few people (one comment, one email) if it would be possible on Friday’s to combine all the outfits of the week into one page for ease of printing. The answer is No, for two reasons. Reason 1: I actually started this format to get away from having to do layout work which is super time consuming.

Reason 2: (And this is the cool reason) These pieces wouldn’t fit on one page. Back in the old system, I would have draw two skirts and then four tops, two shoes and then a smattering of hats and other accessories. Over the course of the week we’ve had four skirts, four tops, five hats, two pairs of shoes, two parasols, one walking stick and a bag. That’s 15 pieces!

You are actually getting MORE paper doll content this way AND its less time consuming for me. Everyone wins!

By the way, I want to add that both people who asked these questions were super nice about it and I don’t mind at all getting questions and thoughts from you all. Please keep them coming.

So, on that note, questions? Comments? Thoughts? Let me know.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: Accessory Thursday With Shoes, Parasols & Hats


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Printable paper doll accessories including shoes and hats! Also available in black and white. From paperthinpersonas.com.

It’s Accessory Thursday! Yay!

But to come down from the high for a moment, it has occurred to me that I’m not really sure how to write a pseudo-19th century fashion plate description of these pieces.

So, instead, I thought I would wax philosophical about accessories. In the real work, I am not a big accessories girl, but in the paper doll world, I just love them. Back when I was a kid, I had a paper doll book called, The Victorian Cat Family. It was an amazing paper doll book with literally thousands of fantastic tiny accessories all of which I painstakingly cut out.

Oh, the memories… Still love that book.

Anyway, I’m not the greatest artist when it comes to non-clothing items, but I try to spice things up with parasols, hats and shoes. Part of the fun of hats is that they change up an outfit. Also, I just love love love drawing paper doll shoes.

(Yes, I realize that is a kinda quirky thing to love. No, I am not ashamed.)

If you missed Monday, you might need a doll to wear theses fun shoes. Here’s Monica all ready for her neo-Victorian wardrobe.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Dinner or Carriage Dress


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Printable paper doll steampunk inspired dress with a matching hat. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Wednesday!

All righty, Dinner or Carriage dresses were worn to evening of later afternoon events that were formal, but not formal enough to warrant full-dress. Carriage dresses are often identifiable, because they are are more fussy and formal than promenade dresses.

The basic order of formality is a walking suit is less formal then a promenade toilette which is less formal than a carriage dress. A dinner dress is less formal than a evening dress, but may also be worn to evening events like come concerts or lectures. Opera was its own insane category.

Who ever said Victorian dressing was simple?

Continuing my 19th century fashion magazines descriptions, here is today’s:

A pale blue bolero jacket with pale blue sleeve puffs worn over a lavender corset with brass button accents. The neckline of the corset is filled with a pale blue high-necked blouse. The matching skirt is lavender and trimmed in pale green with three rows of blue ruffles. The hat is a bowler style trimmed with dark purple fabric roses and a wide blue ribbon band. Without the hat, this ensemble would be a lovely dinner attire and with the hat would be appropriate for afternoon visiting or carriage rides.

I have to confess, I have never been one of those people who romanticizes history. I’m pretty much certain that I like air conditioning, indoor plumbing and antibiotics too much to want to live in the past, but sometimes when I’m working on fantasy romanticized history pieces like this series, I start to think, “Hmmm… it might be fun to get to put on fancy dresses and go to a ball!”

So tell me in a comment what era of history you’d like to visit sometime. I’ve never been able to settle on one, but I think it might be fun to visit the Library of Alexandria or the Aldine Press in Venice.

(My library geek is coming out in those choices.)

Thoughts from all of you? What time period would you like to visit?

If you missed Monday, pop over to that post for Monica and if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. 

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A House or Morning Costume


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A neo-victorian morning dress or house dress with a hat designed for the Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll series.

Today’s neo-Victorian costume for Monday’s Monica moves to a much lower rung of the formality ladder.

Today, Monica has a morning costume or a house dress. There really shouldn’t be a hat with this costume, because house dresses and morning dresses were not something women wore outside. Still, I drew a lot of hats with these outfits. So, I thought people might enjoy a spare hat today.

To once again channel my inner 19th century fashion magazine, here we go:

A lavender shirtwaist of the crispest cotton with a jabot at the neckline. The sleeves are long and go over the hands, replacing the need for gloves of any sort. Worn over the shirt waist is a decorative long corset of misty blue leather trimmed in pale green ribbon. The skirt is tightly fitted, as is the current fashion, and made to match the corset’s trimmings. There is a decorative band of tea green right before the knees and then asymmetrical layers of ruffles. The matching hat is green and trimmed in over-sized bows.

I am having way more fun writing these 19th century style descriptions of these outfits than I really should probably admit to most people.

Still, I kinda figure that if you’re reading the blog than you probably already know that I am a trifle quirky and such things shouldn’t bother you at all.

Black and white versions can be downloaded at the top of the post, as usual.

If you love the blog, please think about becoming a patron and, if you’re not up for that, leave a comment. I love hearing from y’all.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: The Doll & Her Visiting or Promenade Toilette


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Monica, an african-american neo-victorian paper doll with her walking suit. Also available in black and white for coloring. From paperthinpersonas.com.

So, here we are in week two of the new system for PTP. It’s very exciting. I am feeling excited. Also a little nervous, I must confess.

Monica is our model today. She is, of course, from the Marisole Monday & Friend’s series. This whole week will be a neo-Victorian/Steampunk inspired week with hats, skirts and jackets. As I know I’ve said before, I have a THING for the whole idea of different outfits for different activities. When I’m in Victorian fantasy land, I like to decide which outfit goes with which Victorian activity.

A lady of quality in the Victorian era had a variety of gowns at different levels of formality. At one end of the scale was the house dress or morning dress and at the other end of the scale was a ballgown or full-dress.

Monica’s suit today is a promenade costume, I think. To channel my inner-19th century fashion magazine (everyone should have an inner 19th century fashion magazine), here how I would describe it:

A promenade or afternoon visiting costume in purple wool with a matching jacket. Underneath the jacket, the model wears a lavender shirtwaist. The jacket is trimmed in pale teal and aqua velvet and satin. A wide band of lavender satin decorates the skirt and then several rows of aqua ruffles. The chapeau is dyed to match the suit and trimmed in rosettes of aqua silk, feathers and brass buttons. The entire ensemble is quite smart for street or afternoon wear.

Sometimes I am conflicted as to whether I like the term Neo-Victorian or the term Steampunk better. The truth is that I think this set is more Neo-Victorian in its styling. One of the tropes of Steampunk is high technology made through steam-power and there’s none of those aesthetics in this paper doll. However, no matter how I feel about it, I confess that the SEO for steampunk is far better than the SEO for neo-Victorian.

Thoughts from the audience on that one?

Oh, and a few “housekeeping” things. The link to the coloring page version of today’s paper doll is at the top with the links to the PDF. As always, I strongly urge you to print from the PDF copy and to print it however you have been printing them from the beginning. That will assure that the new stuff and the old stuff still fits.

Last but not least, please consider taking a second to support the blog by becoming a patron.

1930’s Historical Fashion Paper Doll With Maeghan

1930s-summer-logo Over the years, I have made several other paper dolls of the 1930s, but never a Marisole Monday & Friend’s set, so it seems fitting to rectify that in my goal of 10 historical paper dolls this year. Meaghan is modeling this set, though I’m sure she’d be happy to share with Mia, Monica, Marisole, or Margot.

The 1930s introduced beach pajamas for women, so Meaghan has a set of those with a striped sweater. Other trends of the era include bias cut evening dresses, of which she also has one. And no lady could leave her house without a fashionable hat and gloves, of course. Shoes wise, she has sandals, since this is a summer set and she needs sandals.

Whenever I see vintage fashions and I am jealous of them, I am reminded that I rather wouldn’t want to wear hats and gloves all the time.

A paper doll coloring page celebrating the 1930s with a five piece wardrobe, hats and accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Originally, I was planning a red, white and blue sort of nautical color scheme, but I didn’t like the idea of it once I actually started coloring. Once I was in the midst of the coloring, I decided to go with a coral, yellow and pale blue scheme. The colors are summery and bright.

There is no black at all in the set, I chose white as my neutral color instead. Something about white just screams summer to me.

A printable paper doll celebrating the 1930s with a five piece wardrobe, hats and accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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This is normally where I put down a list of sources. I confess that I drew these dresses so long ago, that I simply can not recall all of them.

I remember two inspirations though. This post from Wearing History from 1936 and this pattern cover from 1934.

I’ve only done two other historical paper dolls this year and so I need to get on the ball with that one, huh?

And I need your help…

What series should I post next week?

  • Mini-Maiden (51%, 59 Votes)
  • Sprites (23%, 26 Votes)
  • Buxom & Bodacious (13%, 15 Votes)
  • Poppet (7%, 8 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequin (6%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 115

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A Woodland Mage

woodland-mage-logoIt’s Monday! And that means a new printable paper doll!

I previewed this set last Wednesday. As I said before, this paper doll was inspired by the idea of woodlands, fauns and spirits of the forest. I wanted to create something that felt layered and collected, rather than planned or purchased.

When I designed these pieces, I was thinking of autumn. Of course, it’s not autumn here. Summer is officially here in Alabama, which means it was in the 90s today and horrible humid. I have been hot and miserable every-time I go outside. I don’t know who invented air conditioning, but I am so grateful to them.

Today’s woodland paper doll is being modeled by Margot. There’s sixteen pieces with today’s paper doll set which is a lot of mix and match options.

A woodland mage or perhaps a woodland fairy paper doll with a mix and match wardrobe.

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I went back and forth and back and forth about color options here. I wanted to do a autumn scheme at first with all oranges and browns and yellows, but that looked kinda dull. So, green got tossed in to the mix to add some zest and brightness.

The light browns were based on colors of deer, which I always think as being a big part of the forest. I’ve always loved deer, both as beautiful animals and as tasty chili. (Seriously, venison chili is amazing.)

woodland-mage-paper-doll-color

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Many of my paper dolls are really characters I invent in my head who come from well formed worlds. Today’s is less so. I was thinking maybe a fairy of some type or a druid or perhaps a mage who focuses on woodland magics.

In truth, I don’t really know who this Margot paper doll is, but perhaps you have an idea you’d like to share in the comments?

A Sincere Prince: A Fairy Tale Prince Paper Doll

There’s a wonderful line in Into The Woods where Prince Charming says, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”

Well, I prefer my fairy tale prince paper dolls to be sincere, thank you very much. Hence why I named today’s paper doll, A Sincere Prince.

Over the years, I have drawn a few different “prince” paper dolls (no relation to the rockstar) and I think of them as coming from different fantasy worlds, much like I think of my Princesses as coming from different fantasy worlds. Mostly, I group them based on vague time period associations.

So, today’s Prince Marcus has a sort of renaissance feel to it while Prince and Gentleman was more 18th or 19th century and Marcus the Warrior was more Anglo-Saxon or Viking inspired.

A fairy tale prince paper doll with a four piece wardrobe. Part of the Marisole Monday & Friend's paper doll series, he can share clothing with any of the other Marisole Monday & Friend's male paper dolls. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Picking out colors wasn’t that hard. I knew I didn’t want to use green. I tend to use a LOT of green in male paper dolls. I don’t know why, but I do. Anyway, so once I decided, “no green” than it was just a matter of picking some fun colors. I have done a Green Prince if you’re interested.

A black fairy tale prince paper doll with a four piece wardrobe. Part of the Marisole Monday & Friend's paper doll series, he can share clothing with any of the other Marisole Monday & Friend's male paper dolls. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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I’m a bit belated on today’s post. I managed to fall into that trap where I have a good bit of material ready, so I tell myself, “Oh, I don’t need to work on anything. I have time.”

But time has a way of flitting off when I am not paying enough attention.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys today’s fairytale prince paper doll!

Maiden: A Printable Princess Paper Doll

maiden-fantasy-paper-doll-margot-bw

logo-maiden-fantasy-bwAnother printable princess paper doll this week. Clearly, I was in the mood to draw fantasy dresses. I did think about trying to get some other sets done and then breaking up my princesses, but in the end, that just didn’t work out. So, May has become a month of printable princess paper dolls for the Marisole Monday & Friends crowd and people are just going to have to deal.

So, in the 12th century, there was this garment called a “bliaut.” Now, I’ll be honest, I am still learning about 12th century clothing, but in my limited research the “bliaut” was a wide sleeved gown with a full skirt. The most famous example, I know of, is from the sculptures on the exterior of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres. Another example is the Unshaw Virgin from the British Museum. I’m still mid-research to create a historical 12th century paper doll, so while I work on that, I thought I would draw a fantasy paper doll inspired by the 12th century.

A black and white printable princess paper doll with four gowns, two pairs of shoes and some accessories. She can share clothing with a lot of my other paper dolls as well. Free from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Along with the 12th century, Maiden here owes a bit to Norse things with her bone comb and her knife. I think she could be a generation or two removed from my Maiden of the North paper doll from last year or maybe from the same “world”, but a different geographic region. I also think Marcus as a Warrior fits in as well.

Now, I will confess that I did try to make something very different from Monica’s Dreaming Princess set here. Despite the fact that they are both fantasy paper dolls with a distinctly princess vibe, the styles are pretty different. Maiden here is all about the 12th century while Dreaming Princess was all about the early Italian renaissance look. Plus, while Dreaming Princess was modeled by Monica, Margot is the model for Maiden, a title picked entirely because it fit in the space I had left after rearranging this set like a dozen times.

For colors, I wanted to use shades that reflected manuscript illustration. While Dreaming Princess was me channeling my inner-8 year old. This paper doll was much more my taste which tends towards more muted colors when I think of fantasy gowns.

maiden-fantasy-paper-doll-margot-color

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Now, next Monday, there will be something completely different!

(Well… not really. It’s a paper doll, but not a princess paper doll.)

Also, if you’re wondering, “Who is this Margot person Rachel keeps referring too?” Than allow me to refer you to the Guide to Marisole Monday & Her Friends.

Questions? Comments? I’d love to know what you think of today’s paper doll.

Dreaming Princess: A Paper Doll Princess

logo-dreaming-princess-bw 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.

A paper doll princess coloring page featuring four elegant dresses and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com.

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The model for today’s gowns is Monica. You can find more paper dolls featuring her here. Confusion about which Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper doll model is which? I wrote a guide a few months ago.

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.

A black princess paper doll download featuring four colorful gowns and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com

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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.