Polinanise and Stomachers: 18th Century Gowns for Paper Dolls

Four different 18th century paper doll dresses in four different styles including a polinanise gown and a caraco jacket In my first page of gowns for my 18th century paper doll series, I talked a lot about different styles of gowns. I did not, however, talk about stomachers. So, a stomacher was a triangular shaped piece of cloth that was pinned or sewn in place to fill in the bodice of gowns. Most gowns had either an actual separate stomacher or something that looked like a stomacher. In today’s collection of gowns, they all have stomachers, except the polianse gown which is front fastening.

On the left side, the first gown is a polinase style based on this gown at the V&A. The lower gown was my rather poor attempt at capturing looped silk fringe which was very much in style in the 18th century. I believe this was the gown I started from, but I’m not totally pleased with the resulting outcome.

The first gown on the right was my attempt at the caraco jacket sort of garment with a stomacher. This example from the Met is a similar style. The gown on the bottom-right is based on this gown where the stomacher extends below the closure of the coat like bodice.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
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When it came time to color these gowns, I knew I was going to color the polinase gown the same way as the source gown which made things quite simple. The gown below it was inspired by the green in the stripes of the original. I chose brown for the top right gown to match the more casual nature of the caraco jacket style. While the bottom right gown is based a vibrantly colored gown, I chose a white and pastel gown from the 1770s as my color inspiration.

A paper doll with fashions from between 1740 and 1750. Her hair is styled in a tight series of rolled curls known as a
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The two different sized caps on the page are needed to accommodate the difference in hairstyles between Joy and Faith. There will be a third Pixie doll for this series, but she won’t be up for a while. After this there is another page of gowns, I think. I have four pages of gowns and three pages of dolls, so you can see there’s a little bit of a challenge as far as going doll, gowns, doll…

If you’ve missed any of this collection, here’s the 18th century Pixie series thus far.

Prima Ballerina: A Ballerina Paper Doll in Color

A black and white printable African-American ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Firebird. So, one of my first jobs while working in library school was to assist with the digitization of a massive collection of costume design drawings from a group known as the Motley Group (not to be confused with Motley Crue). This let to me eventually finishing my library degree and going onto a degree in Theater History with an emphasis on the history of technical design work.

All branches of theatrical design are about communicating information to the audience seamlessly. In Romeo and Juliet, for example, it is traditional to costume the warring families in different colors. Romeos family might be all in reds, oranges and yellows while Juliet’s family might be in greens, blues and purples. This is useful, because it communicates with the audience immediately which character is associated with which group- important in a play with about 20 characters. Opera and ballet also have costuming traditions. In a medium where people don’t speak and the plots are often rather odd, identifying characters by their colors and style is even more important.

So, when I was selecting colors and costume designs for my ballerina paper dolls, I was well aware that there were traditions that I needed to take notice of. I did my best to keep these costumes fairly “traditional” with the exception of the Firebird. I didn’t like either tutus or the unitards that seemed to be common, so I went with something a little more contemporary.

A black and white printable african-american ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Firebird.
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Working left to right, the first costume was from the ballet Coppélia- usually costumed in a “folk” style which is also often used for the first act of the ballet Gisselle or any ballet where there seems to be milkmaids and/or county fairs. Next is a costume for the Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker. This is a costume I entirely invented when I didn’t like any of the versions I was seeing online. For my firebird, I chose to do a more modern costume, rather than a traditional tutu. If I was going to costume something no in a tutu, the firebird seemed like the logical choice. Monica is dancing the part of Odette in Swan Lake- next week’s paper doll, Mia, will have a costume for Odile. It is traditional that the part is danced by the same ballerina, but I wanted to split up the costumes across two sets. For Swan Lake, I settled on a traditional sort of costume with some feather detailing and a headdress. From Sleeping Beauty, Monica is dancing the part of the Lilac Fairy. Obviously, her costume was going to be lilac.

Joy: An 18th Century Historical Paper Doll Set

A Link to Joy, an 18th Century historical paper doll with a riding habit and historical undergarments. Today’s 18th century paper dolls is my second of three. Joy, all of these paper dolls will have virtue names, is from between the 1760s though 1780s. She has underwear and a gown in the polonaise style. Poloniase gowns had a skirt that is raised up and bunched over the petticoat. Usually a gown could be worn either with the skirt looped up in the polonaise or with the skirt down- offering some versatility to the 18th century silhouette. The polonaise gown sticks around into the 19th century and is sometimes mistaken for a bustle.

Joy’s gown was based on this pink silk gown circa 1770-1780 housed at the LACMA. Her shoes are based on this fashion plate from 1778. Her undergarments are based off a set held by the V&A museum dated to 1778.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
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As with the rest of this series, I based her color scheme off my 18th century color pallet which I introduced in the first part of this series. After seeing this gown from MFA in Boston I knew I wanted to do something in a rich red color. Despite myself, I tend to think of the 18th century as being muted in colors, but nothing could be further from the truth.

A paper doll with fashions from between 1740 and 1750. Her hair is styled in a tight series of rolled curls known as a
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It has been so much fun to share this paper doll series over the last few weeks. We have four more pages with one more doll and three more sets of gowns. The whole collection, so far, can be seen here.

Since we’re talking the 18th century, I thought I would call attention to a cool project I discovered this week. The University of Michigan has begun to translate and make available online the Encyclopédie edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert in the 18th century. The section of primary interest to those of us obsessed with dress is the plates on the Tailor of Suits and Bodices, but I’ve used the Encyclopédie to show students furniture manufacture and paper making circa 1790. I love this book and can get lost in it for hours.

Prima Ballerina: A Ballerina Paper Doll

A black and white printable african-american ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Firebird. For years I avoided drawing a ballerina paper doll. I was asked a lot, but I always shied away.

Mostly, because the idea of drawing tutus frightened me. I work in ink. Ink is great for a lot of things, but I have always struggled with transparency and tulle (that stuff they make tutus out of) is known for both its transparency and its texture. That alone was enough to scare me.

Then, on a fateful day last year, I had no choice. I had to draw a tutu for a contest winner. I hated the outcome of my first tutu attempt, but I swore I would tackle tutus again.

I learn to draw tutus (and I still am learning), I have had to learn to let go a little of my natural instinct for controlled linework. I’ve had to embrace the risk of messy linework. That’s been a struggle and while my tutus still aren’t perfect, they are getting better.

A black and white printable african-american ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Firebird.
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So, for my ballet costumes, I chose to do some classic ballets that I love. The characters are Swanhilda from Coppelia (or Gisselle before she dies, either way), The Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker, Odette from Swan Lake (though if you color it black, it could be Odile), the Firbird from The Firebird, and the Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty. I chose Monica for this set, because I was thinking about Misty Copeland and also that I’ve only seen one African-American ballerina paper doll before. That would be one doll in Dover’s book- Ballet Dancers. So, here is a second African-American ballerina paper doll. She’ll be in color next week.

Enjoy!

18th Century Gowns: Round-Gown, Brunswick, and Sack-Back Gown

A Link to a page of 18th century gowns for paper dolls in full color Today, we have out first set of 18th century gowns for the paper dolls, including a round gown, a brunswick and a robe à la française.

Until the introduction of high-waisted dresses at the very end of the 18th century, most women’s garments consisted of a skirt or petticoat and a bodice. In garments like round gowns, less formal and/or worn by the middle classes, the bodice would fasten in the front and there would be a separate skirt. The far left paper doll costume is a round-gown, based on this round gown from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Sometimes, the bodice would come down partly over the skirt creating a jacket like affect. These mid-thigh length bodices were called caraco jackets. Here, for example, is an extant caraco jacket from the LACMA. Later in this series, there will be caraco jackets, but our middle gown is not a caraco jacket, but rather a brunswick. Brunswicks were traveling garments, often hooded, that had long sleeves. Though relatively practical, they were made of fine fabrics like silk- which makes one wonder about the whole “traveling” thing. Anyway, you often see Brunswick’s in art, but the V&A has a rare extant version which would have had removable sleeves. I based my Brunswick’s on two portraits- Lady Mary Fox and Alexander Roslin’s Portrait of the Girl Holding a Spaniel.

If the bodice and skirt were attached to each other in the 18th century, the skirt would be open in the front to reveal the petticoat underneath. This style of gown was called a robe à l’anglaise, closed bodied gown or an English gown if the pleats in the back of the bodice were stitched down. However, if the pleats were allowed to fall open and loose than the gown became sack-back gown or robe à la française. In modern times, this gown has been called a Watteau back or Watteau gown, after a painter who painted a lot of this style. The dress to the far right of today’s paper doll set is a sack-back gown, but I think the style is easier to see through extant examples like this robe à l’anglaise and robe à la française, both from the Met’s collection.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
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Along with the gowns, today’s set includes a pair of slippers with overshoes based on this set from the Powerhouse Museum Collection. Over shoes were worn to protect the shoe from mud and muck, though I wonder how much protection a brocade and leather pair could have granted. I’ve also included several different styles of hats. My goal with the hats in this paper doll series is less to match specific dresses, but rather to provide enough variety for there to be plenty of choices. Women did not always wear their hair covered, but usually did.

A paper doll with fashions from between 1740 and 1750. Her hair is styled in a tight series of rolled curls known as a
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My color choices for these gowns were taken from my 18th century color pallet which I showed off in last week’s paper doll post. I chose pale blue for the round gown, since the source gown is blue striped, bright yellow for the brunswick, and a rich teal-blue color for my first robe à la française. That is certainly the most formal of the gowns from today’s set. The shoes were done in a neutral light brown color to go with any of the dresses.

In case you missed part one of this series, here is the entire collection so far. Next week, we will have our second paper doll- Joy.

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll in Color

Ragamuffin Girl- Steampunk paper doll inspired by Newsies in full color You’d think after having done hundreds of paper dolls that I would actually never struggle to come up with color schemes. And yet… I still have trouble.

The problem with steampunk or anything steampunk inspired, is that there’s a lot of brown. (This is actually the same problem I have with gothic things as well- too much black.) So, I selected several diverse shades of brown to use and then set them off with some ochre, orange, olive green, and teal. Pale blue was added so that every shirt wouldn’t be cream. I wanted to avoid red or pink- these are both colors I love and colors I tend to fall back on when I am trying to come up with color schemes and I also thought they were too girly for this menswear inspired set.

The tiny braids in Mia’s braided hair created a new series of challenges. There’s three choices when highlighting a feature like that- go darker than the main hair color or do lighter than the main hair color or go a radically different color than the main hair color. I knew I didn’t want to do option three and I decided the lighter braids looked better than darker braids.

Ragamuffin Girl- Steampunk paper doll inspired by Newsies in full color

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I will confess that this set took forever to color and while I really like how it turned out, doing the layout of all these pieces was a pain as well. I need to remember my “10 to 11 pieces plus 2 pairs of shoes” rule when I’m drawing or else doing the layout takes forever. This set was 13 pieces and 2 pairs of shoes, plus a lot of these pieces are big. Anyway, it might not seem like a big difference, but it does make a difference.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys Mia in her steampunk get up. Next Monday, there will be ballerinas. Actually, we’ll have a whole month of ballerinas- because I might have gotten a little carried away. :)

Debuting my 18th Century Historical Paper Doll Set with Faith

A Link to an 18th Century historical paper doll with a riding habit and historical undergarments. Sometimes, I get started on projects and they don’t seem “insane” and then a few weeks later I find myself further into them and I am thinking, “Was I crazy to start this?” and, of course, “Will this ever be done?”

So, over the next seven weeks on every Friday, I will be sharing pieces from a historical paper doll project that started with a simple, “I should draw some 18th century clothing for the Pixies.”

It kinda grew a bit unexpectedly.

My original plan was to do three Pixie paper dolls, all with different skin-tones, and each would focus on the first part, middle part and then last part of the 18th century.

No plan, as they say, survives contact with the enemy.

Instead of three clearly defined sets, I ended up with three paper dolls and four pages of dresses and only one set, my late 18th century set, seemed clear cut. So, I did what any rational paper doll artist would do, I said, “Meh. I’m just going to go forward anyway.”

Today I am pleased to present the first of my three Pixie paper dolls and for the next six weeks, each Friday, there will be another Pixie paper doll or a set of dresses for the 18th century Pixies.

As you can see from my 18th Century Color Palette graphic above, I knew I wanted to use a consistent color palette through all of these seven pages of paper dolls. I chose to based my colors on a stomacher, also from the V&A Museum. I wanted all the colors to be fairly soft, but also rich, reminiscent of what you see in portraits of the era.

Today, I am pleased to present Faith, the first of this seven week series.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
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Faith wear’s her hair in a style known as tête de mouton (or “sheep’s head”) and it was extremely popular in the 1750s. She, of course, has her hair powdered, through powder was not universally worn, despite what some people seem to think. Her underwear consists of stays and hoops. As with many of my forays into historical underwear, her undergarments won’t fit under all the dresses of this set. Her stays are based on Stays from the V&A Museum . These type of wide narrow hoops were usually used to support the wide skirted formal gowns of the 18th century, but Faith doesn’t have a formal gown on this page. Instead, she has a riding habit. Her riding habit is based on Riding Habit from the V&A museum dated between 1750 and 1759. Her small hat is a combination of a hat from the Met Museum and the hat in this portrait of Princess Marie-Thérèse-Louise de Savoie-Carignan which was sold at Christie’s.

A paper doll with fashions from between 1740 and 1750. Her hair is styled in a tight series of rolled curls known as a
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The colors of her garments were, of course, influenced by the original riding habit, but also by the stomacher I showed above. I wanted a consistent color scheme across all these paper doll pages, for maximum mix and matching possibilities. Playability, a word I am not sure is a word, is something that I value very highly in my paper dolls. While I rarely cut them out and actually play with them, I like to think about how people would cut them out if they were going to do so.

Tune in next Friday for a page of dresses and then the next week a paper doll and then a page of dresses and then… well, you get the idea. :)

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Paper Doll

Ragamuffin Girl. I previewed this paper doll back in April, but even when I previewed it, the paper doll set had been sitting in my sketchbook for a month or more. I was dreading work on it, not because I didn’t like the paper doll, but because the idea of coloring all the detail was terrifying.

So, last week, when I was finally out of everything else I had drawn for Marisole Monday & Friends that I could feed the blog, I found myself finally tackling this paper doll set. Sometimes I have to be forced into these things.

All right, so inspirations for today’s paper doll set include the film Newsies and that’s really about it. Though I confess I do rather see today’s version of Mia hanging out with my airship mechanic Marcus. I mean they both have tools and newsboy caps.

Ragamuffin Girl
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I try to create for all my Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls somewhat evenly. Currently though, this is only Mia’s second set this year. That puts her behind well… everyone else. So, she’ll get some more love soon though since I’ve got a ballerina set in the works for her and Monica. (Yes, I tackled my fear of tutus.)

Today’s paper doll set will, of course, be up in color next week and then… I have no idea what’s next, actually. Probably ballerinas.

Alien Fashions for the Ms. Mannequin Paper Dolls

Link to sci-fi inspired fashions from the Ms. Mannequin paper doll series. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, any of those paper dolls can wear these intergalactic fashions Yesterday, I posted Xylra my new alien paper doll and I wanted to get her fashions up today. Not just because I think they are neat, but because I have been rather neglectful of the blog this July and if I post these this week then I won’t feel so guilty.

Blog guilt is a powerful motivating factor in my life.

Xylra is a fashionable intergalatic astrophysist and I confess I have no idea how practical any of these pieces would be for someone studying astrophysics. Truth be told, I have no idea what an astrophysicist does all day, but then I suppose most astrophysicists probably don’t know what Special Collection librarians do all day which makes us even. (For those of you who haven’t read my about page, I am a Special Collection librarian when I’m not drawing paper dolls.)

Anyway, one of my rules with paper dolls is to avoid being bogged down by practicality or common sense when designing fantasy or sci-fi clothing. A rule I haven’t violated here.

Sci-fi inspired paper doll clothes from the Ms. Mannequin paper doll series in black and white for coloring. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, any of those paper dolls can wear these intergalactic fashionsSci-fi inspired paper doll clothes from the Ms. Mannequin paper doll series. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, any of those paper dolls can wear these intergalactic fashions
{Click Here for a PDF in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Click Here for a PDF of Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Black and White}{Click Here for More Clothes}{Click Here for Paper Dolls to Wear These Clothes}
I did want to take a moment and talk about the colors in today’s set of paper doll clothes. Originally, I was planning on a more traditional cyberpunk color scheme, but I wanted to see if I would work with colors that I actually didn’t like. Perhaps an odd mental exercise, but important, I think, to growing as an artist. I considered doing two coloring jobs, one with colors I liked and one with colors I didn’t, but once I’d colored the paper doll clothes with my “ugly color scheme”, I found that I actually rather liked them. Perhaps spending time with the colors softened me up towards them or perhaps I just didn’t want to recolor the whole thing. Either way, enjoy my foray into an “ugly color scheme” and if you don’t like it, well… there’s a black and white version for a reason. Enjoy!

Xylra: A New Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll from Space!

Link to Xylar an alien paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing or her own intergalactic fashion set Back in March I mentioned that I was working on an alien/sci-fi Ms. Mannequinn paper doll set and this is the first part of that paper doll creation. After all, you can’t do alien fashions without having an alien to show them off. So, today I present Xylra, a leading intergalactic astrophysicist who happens to be fashionably dressed, though you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see her outfits. I was going to say she was an intergalatic fashion model and spy, which of course she still could be, but I was reminded of something I read years ago on the Toy Box Philosopher when she reviewed the Nova Stars dolls by MGA.

Novi Stars were aliens who had come to earth to to “try new things, update the fashion trends, and make new friends.” The dolls were cute enough I suppose, but as it was pointed out by Toy Box Philosopher at the time, “Why, oh why, does fashion have to be such a huge part of every doll’s personality? I mean, I love a fashionable doll, but can’t they be, say, rocket scientists who happen to have a good sense of style?”

So, I decided that Xylra would not be an intergalactic fashion model. Of course, if you personally want her to be, than I say go for it! That’s part of the fun of paper dolls.

Xylar an alien paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing or her own intergalactic fashion set

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Xylra’s skin patterning was inspired by the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine race called the Dosi who show up in only one episode. Frankly, I think their makeup is a bit over the top for a Star Trek species, but I liked the patterns on their faces enough to adapt them. Besides, I see Xylra as being much more of a retro-space fantasy than anything even vaguely realistic. After all, how realistic can a paper doll with teal skin and pink eyes really be?

Xylra’s outfits will be up on Friday. :)

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