Edwardian Mia: A Printable Paper Doll’s Promenade Dress


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A lavender paper doll promenade dress from the Edwardian era. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Today’s printable paper doll dress is a promenade dress from 1908.

The gown is based on this illustration from an 1908 Macy’s Catalog. Macy’s was founded in about 1858 and had a thriving mail order business. Their catalogs are just a great source of information. I chose to not try to illustrate the stripes on the original dress fabric. I confess I am not too pleased with how the pleating on the skirt turned out. It should look much stiffer than it does, as taffeta is a very stiff fabric.

Oh well, no dress drawing is perfect.

In fact, a big reason I picked the Edwardian period was because I don’t have a lot of experience drawing these styles of dresses. One of the great challenges of this era is to capture the “pigeon breasted” look of the era. Bodices had a great deal of fullness in the front and then came into a narrow waist. This is actually a pretty challenging thing for me to illustrate in paper doll form.

Still, you get better at nothing unless you practice. So, this is me practicing.

While I chose lavender for today’s dress, the black and white version could be any color. The catalog describes this dress as a two-piece jumper model available in blue, red, green, brown or lavender. I think it would be stunning in red, too.

As always, I recommend printing from the PDF versions at the top of the post.

If you love the blog, than please consider supporting it on Patreon.

Hope everyone has a lovely Wednesday and remember: Accessory Thursday tomorrow!

One last little thing, I am trying to decide what to work on this weekend. I’m out of backlog and have a ton of stuff in process, so to help me focus I am asking my readers what they think.

What should Rachel Work on this Weekend?

  • Marisole Monday & Friends Fantasy Gowns (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Sprites in Wonderland (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Little Red Ridinghood inspired Mini-Maidens (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Marcus as a Wizard (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequinn Hip-Hop Fashions (8%, 7 Votes)
  • B&B Medieval Inspired Fantasy Gowns (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-Apocalyptic B&B (4%, 4 Votes)
  • B&B Steampunk Outfits (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

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Edwardian Mia: The Paper Doll and Her Underwear


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An Asian American paper doll with a set of Edwardian underwear. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

I was trying to decide which of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls would model this series of Edwardian dresses and I settled on Mia.

I was inspired to use her as the model when I found this wonderful photograph of an Asian woman, just called Alice, wearing a suit from probably the 1890s or early 1900s.

Today, Mia gets just a set of Edwardian underwear and, I confess, not even a complete set. Women in this era wore, in order, a chemise and drawers, or a combination, under a corset. Over the corset, she would have worn a corset cover and over that a petticoat. I decided to just show her corset cover and petticoat, thereby skipping a few layers. Seriously, ladies in this era wore a lot of underwear!

I based her underwear on this page from a catalog from 1902-1903. Her hair is the best I could do trying to draw a Gibson girl kinda bun like these. Drawing Gibson girl buns is clearly not my strength.

Though out the week I’ll be posting outfits for Mia and accessories on Thursday (as usual). I hope you all enjoy this little foray into the first decade of the 1900s.

By the way, if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. It’s really appreciated.

So, my question for all of you is, what to you think of this week’s theme?

Roses & Violins: A Lolita fashion Paper Doll in Color!

logo-classic-lolita-colorLast Monday, I mentioned I used a lot of Lolita fashion blogs to do my research for my Lolita fashion paper doll, but I didn’t mention which ones specifically, so let me clear that up.

My favorite Lolita fashion blog was F Yeah Lolita which had a great post on Building a Complete Lolita Wardrobe. Her wardrobe template starts with sixteen pieces which can be mixed and matched into 14 different outfit combinations. I actually think her advice rings true even if you’re not trying to build a Lolita wardrobe. A few mix and match basics and a good pair of shoes, can get you through many a week of work, especially on a tight budget. Other blogs I found useful and interesting were Parfait Doll, Lolita Fashion(Tumblr), Ruffles & Steam (tumblr) and Portal of Fantasy (tumblr).

I also totally love Lolita Fashion Update where Lolita brand releases are posted (though it hasn’t been updated in a while 🙁 ). Store sites were hit and miss. As far as I can tell, a lot of these Japanese brands to pre-release sales and it seems like things sell out and therefore never get posted to their store sites. (Maybe I’m wrong about this, but that’s been my gut instinct), here’s the brands I based my designs off of Mary Magdalene, Victorian Maiden, Innocent World and Angelic Pretty (though they tend more towards Sweet Lolita).

Okay, so I was looking for photos of Classic Lolita style to link, so people would know what I was basing this on and I found this photo of two Lolitas on the street wearing Classic Lolita dresses from Tokyo Fashion and one of them has the Violin purse! Check it out.  I was so excited to see the purse “in the wild”, so to speak. The larger version is a bit more complex than Mia’s mini paper version.

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I’m a big believer in using color to tell a story. Years ago, a friend used to joke that Steampunk was “Gothic clothing colored brown” and there is some truth to that observation. Color has a lot of power. I could have gone Gothic Lolita or Sweet Lolita with these outfits if I had chosen another color scheme, but I liked the soft hues associated with Classic Lolita, so that was what I settled on. Also, I have a Sweet and Gothic Lolita paper dolls already which illustrate this principle by being the same set colored two different ways.

I’m still regretting that I didn’t draw her any hats or bows. It was totally my intention to, but then I forgot and then I didn’t notice I’d forgotten until it was too late. Sigh. A rose cover bonnet like these one would really fill out her look. Oh well, I’m just going to have to save for a different paper doll set, I guess.

There is an extra outfit over on my Patreon page– shoes, a parasol and dress. You don’t have to be a patron to download it and it will fit in with the rest of Mia‘s Classic Lolita wardrobe. Also give her some pink shoes to go with her more pink dresses.

If you like the Lolita fashion style, check out my Lolita tag for more paper dolls inspired by this style.

Please leave a comment if you like, because you know I love feedback. 🙂

Roses & Violins: Classic Lolita Fashion Paper Doll

Marisole Monday & Friends: Classic Lolita Fashion As I mentioned on Wednesday, I had to get this set of paper dolls done, or I wouldn’t have anything to be posted today. Anyway, as I said today’s classic Lolita fashion paper doll set was partially the result of a request from a patron and partly the result of me never being able to extract decent black and white version of my sweet Lolita and gothic Lolita paper doll sets.

So, I inspired by this violin purse from the Japanese fashion company Innocent World. While I will admit in a heartbeat to not being an expect on Lolita fashion, which is a Japanese street style based on Victorian children’s clothing, I have noticed that a lot of Lolita outfits (called coordinates) seem to be heavily themed. Once I settled on the purse, I knew I wanted the patterns of several of the pieces to have a music or violin theme.

I’ve also noticed that many of the Lolita fashion blogs I read while working on this set, seem to recommend buying JSKs (Jumper-Skirts, I think?) over full dresses, since these can be worn over various blouses. The paper doll pose makes that sort of layering tough, but the short sleeved dress on the far left is meant to be a JSK. I have a Lolita Style pintrest board where you can see way more of my inspiration.

A Classic Lolita fashion paper doll coloring page from paperthinpersonas.com.

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My one big regret about this set is that I didn’t do any hats or bows, which are a big part of  Lolita. Oh well… I suppose nothing is perfect. Mia is modeling today’s fashions, if you are keeping track of who is who in the Marisole Monday & Friend’s family.

I did kinda got carried away designing pieces for this set and I ended up with two many to fit on the page. Rather than just let them rot on my hard drive, I posted them over on my Patreon page. You don’t have to be a Patron to view or download them. You can see the extra dress, shoes and parasol here. Next week, I’ll post the color versions there as well.

I think if I end up with “extra” pieces in the future, my Patreon page will be a handy place to put them.

Thoughts on my foray into classic Lolita fashion? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Guardian of the Gate: Printable Paper Doll with Armor

warrior-guardian-color-logoThis holiday season I’m visiting family in Arizona. My mom and I went to Tucson to see the miniature museum called The Mini-Time Machine.

It was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

Anyway, onto paper dolls… I had a lot of trouble coloring this paper doll set. I didn’t want to do bright colors, but I also didn’t want to do everything grey and gold. I ended up developing a color palette based on mossy green and eggplant purple. I named it Watcher at the Gate. I knew I wanted the armor to feel as much leather as it did metal, so I added grey-browns. You can see all my palettes on ColorLovers, though I confess I only recently started saving them there.

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I have created a lot of different paper dolls over the years, as anyone who spends any time digging around the archives could tell you. My favorites are ones where I get to do something different that I haven’t really done before. I think today’s set falls into the category. I can’t think of another paper doll I’ve drawn for the blog which is quite like this paper doll.

So, on Wednesday, there will be a round up of every historical paper doll I have ever posted on the blog (kinda amazing list, actually) and then on Friday… well, actually, I have no idea what goes up Friday. I need to work on that. 🙂

As always, comments are always appreciated and if you would like to support the blog than consider becoming a patron. There’s fun perks like the Vivian Project and early previews of paper doll sets.

Guardian of the Gate: A Knight Paper Doll Coloring Sheet

Marisole Monday Logo. Mia knight paper doll coloring sheetNow, I think knights (and therefore knight paper dolls) come in several stripes. There’s the noble white knight on the noble white steed doing whatever noble white knights on noble white steeds do, but then there’s also the down and dirty, rough and tumble knight who will bite you if that seems like the best to survive the night. This knight

As you might have guessed, today’s Mia knight paper doll is definitely of the second variety.

You see, this version of Mia grew up in the rough streets of a fantasy city. Her choices were to become a criminal or become a Guard and she went the guard route. She’s a graduate from the school of hard knocks, but she’ll defend the city and take down anyone who doubts her ability to do so.

(I always feel a tiny bit absurd when I write this stuff about my paper dolls.)

A fantasy lady knight paper doll coloring sheet with six pieces of armor, weapons and a shield. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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Let’s talk about the design process, shall we?

I knew I wanted to do another warrior Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll. Not just a girl with some weapons, but an actual knight paper doll. That took a little thought, because I’ve done warriors in the past. I’ve got a ninja, a knight in color and black and white. Plus my Silk and Steel warrior whose a little bit absurd in color or black and white as well.

Given that I had already got quite a few warriors, I wanted to do something different. So, I pawed around Pinterest for a while looking for ideas and settled on a city-guard like character. Maybe I’ve ready to many Terry Pratchett novels, but I really liked the idea of a city-guard/policeman type character. That’s how we ended up with this particular paper doll design.

I am particularly pleased with how her chain-mail came out.

Now, I will confess that I had planned to end the year on a modern paper doll, but I asked my patrons on Patreon what I should wrap with and several of them suggested a fantasy set. Anyone is, of course, welcome to join the Patreon to support the blog.

En Pointe: A Printable Ballerina Paper Doll in Color

logo-mia-ballerina-colorMore ballerina paper dolls!

Okay, so this is the last one, but I did have fun with this little foray into dance clothes for the moment. Now that I have done these, I feel like I should do some tap dance clothes or something.

Anyhow, today’s Mia ballet set is in color. While Monica is the white swan from Swan Lake, Mia is the Black Swan for Swan Lake. Of course, traditionally, these parts are danced by the same dancer, but I thought it would be more fun to break up the two tutus across the sets.

Her Giselle costume is from the second act and therefore had to be white. After the character Giselle dies, the whole second act of the ballet is done in white costumes. It is sometimes called the “White Act” for this reason. I couldn’t exactly make it purple.

Don Quixote costumes are often based on Spanish flamingo dresses and this one is sort of in that vein. I settled on a golden bodice, black tutu and red roses. I’m not entirely pleased with how it came out, actually. I do think this tutu could also be for the Nutcracker’s Spanish Chocolate dance.  I chose teal for both Romeo and Juliet and Scheherazade (which I think I finally have memorized how to spell).

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For those of you who have been paying close attention, you have likely noticed that the en pointe shoes were copied for both sets. I thought about drawing two of basically then same thing and then came to my senses. The dolls leg positioning doesn’t really allow for “other” en pointe poses then this one. The leg warmers are also duplicated across both sets. Once again, I didn’t really want to draw the exact same thing twice.

Generally, I try to avoid copying from pervious sets- which is how I have draw way more pairs of skinny jeans than any person should- but sometimes I give myself a break and do it.

Lastly for those of my readers in the United States, Happy Labor Day! Let us all take a moment and be grateful for the people who fought hard to provide their fellow workers with a better way of life. Also, eat barbecue.

En Pointe: A Black and White Ballerina Paper Doll

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Today, my Monica paper doll ballerina is being joined by Mia, also getting to be a ballerina. Mia’s costumes are from (left to right) Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Scheherazade and Romeo and Juliet. I do feel rather that Monica got the better known ballets since most people have heard of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, but haven’t heard of Scheherazade, despite being an amazing piece of music.

When I was first compiling my list of ballets to draw for these paper doll sets, I wanted to show the range of ballet costumes beyond the tutu. Romeo and Juliet is usually costumed in a renaissance inspired style and Scheherazade is usually done as an orientalist fantasy set in the Middle-East. So, those are my two nods to the “non-tutu” look for these paper dolls. After all, not every dance costume is a tutu.

Mia has practice clothing as well- a simple wrap skirt, leg warmers, a long sleeved leotard, tunic top and flat soled dancing shoes. Of course, she can share her warm up clothes with Monica and between the two of them, I think there is a nice variety of options. I didn’t, to be frank, want to spend a lot of time on practice clothing. It is not nearly as fun to draw as fancy tutus.

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There are some mix and match options as well from Monica’s set. Monica’s Copellia tutu, for example, would also work for the first act of Giselle, before Giselle dies. I am particularly pleased with how the transparent overlay on Mia’s Giselle tutu came out, actually.

I have been spending a lot of time looking at the work of Charles Ventura and Pat Stall, both of whom had a mastery of black and white line-work that I can only dream of one day achieving. I have been collecting their work, along with other black and white paper doll artists, on my black and white paper dolls Pinterest board for a while.

Studying the techniques of artists you admire is a great way to learn how to try new things.

Does anyone know if Charles Ventura or Pat Stall are still alive? I really feel like I should write them and tell them how much I love their paper dolls.

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll in Color

logo-ragamuffin-colorYou’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.

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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. 🙂

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Paper Doll

logo-ragamuffin-bwI 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.

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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.