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.

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.

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.

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. :)

Lois: A Paper Doll of the 1930s

Link to Lois, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1930s I love the styles of the early 1930s and I wanted to create a paper doll that showed them off, so here is Lois- a paper doll of the early 1930s. That is to say, everything in it comes from 1930-1932.

It’s common to speak of the last century of fashion as though it happened in neat decade compartments. In reality, fashion doesn’t care what decade it is. It moves based on cultural and social shifts, often subtly, and then you look around and notice that the silhouette has shifted. Rarely, fashion changes dramatically over a short period, but only very rarely.

So, when looking at the early 1930s, as this paper doll does, you might be struck at how close these dresses are to the late 1920s. In truth, they are very similar, because fashion just doesn’t change that quickly. The Great Depression will catch up with the styles of the 1930s, it just hasn’t yet. All of these dresses are drawn from images in the book Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs published by Dover. The Sears series from Dover is an inexpensive way to gather up books the show what people wore, rather than what fashion magazines thought people should be wearing. I own almost all of them.

Lois is a printable historical paper doll with two dresses, two hats, a coat, underwear and shoes from the early 1930s in black and white for coloring
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I have mixed feelings about my color choices. I knew I wanted to pick a color scheme where I hats could go with either of the dresses, but I don’t know how successful I was. I really do like how the white hat contrasts with her dark skin and I like how rich the red coat looks, but I’m not so sure about the yellow dress. The early 1930s is a very art deco influenced period and that makes me happy. I love the asymmetrical styles and the often surprising details.

Lois is a printable historical paper doll with two dresses, underwear, shoes and hats from the early 1930s in color
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Unlike my 1920s Pixie Lynn, I actually gave Lois some undergarments. She has a girdle decorated with flowers to go under her dresses. She should, technically, have a slip to go over that and panties to go under it, but its a start.

I would have to pour through all my posts to be certain, but I think this is my second 1930s paper doll ever. The first was way back in 2010 for my original Curves Series and is just called 1930s. I got totally distracted looking through those old paper dolls trying to find the 1930s set I was pretty sure was there. It’s strange to go back and look at things I drew four or five years ago.

Some of them paper dolls I still really like and others I don’t. It rather makes me want to take on a project like Julie’s toddlers where she goes back to older color schemes. I’ll have to think on it. I don’t want to “redraw” old things, but there are some ideas there that I think could be reexamined fruitfully.

Lynn: A Paper Doll of the 1920s

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s Let me state one thing first, on the record- Lynn’s underwear is not period. If I had drawn her period undergarments, than she’d never get to wear jeans. So, I chose to omit even a period slip for her in favor of fitting some fairly large hats onto a fairly small space. Pixies have big heads and therefore big hats.

I hope no one feels horribly cheated out of 1920’s undergarments.

It was really hard to give myself permission to do a small historical set for the Pixies. Normally, my historical Pixie sets are at least two pages and my Regency paper doll set was three. And I do have an 18th century set which has the dubious honor of being the largest collection I have ever drawn for the Pixies. It is literally five sketchbook pages. I’ve no idea how I am going to post it.

One of my big goals for 2015 was to draw historical paper dolls, because- frankly, I really like them.

But I also think if I always think “These sets must be huge” than it creates a lot of pressure to produce big sets. I think smaller sets can be just as fun.

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s in black and white for coloring
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Todays paper doll’s three dresses are from two different sources. The short sleeved dress and the one with the chevron patter are from this image on Flickr. The party dress is from the Met and dated 1926 through 1928. Her shoes were based on this pair from the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s in color
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The color scheme was fairly arbitrary. I do wish I had done something a little more fun with the shoes rather than playing it safe with black. I like to think that these three dresses cover day and evening wear fairly smoothly for Lynn. Long term, it is my hope to do more smaller historical sets for the Pixies. There’s no logical reason why they shouldn’t get to share in the single page historical paper doll fun.

I say this having just begun coloring the largest pixie set I have ever drawn of 18th century dress. I might be unable to keep this single page historical Pixie set concept alive.

Jai: A Fantasy Paper Doll

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress This isn’t an accurate depiction of Tang Dynasty dress. Though at times it seems to me that this would be obvious, most people (myself included) aren’t very familiar with the dynasties of China, let alone what they were wearing. Oddly, I never feel like when I draw stuff like this or this or this, I have to say it’s not accurate historical European dress, so perhaps my ned for a “disclaimer” is partly an assumption on my part about what my readers are familiar with.

So, anyway, these gowns were inspired by Hanfu and Tang Dynasty dress if anyone is keeping count. Of course, they aren’t accurate and they aren’t meant to be. I just had a lot of fun looking up gowns like this one and this one on Pinterest.

I find balancing research intense projects with non-research intense projects really helps keep me feeling sane. So, fantasy often seems to counter balance historical sets. I just finished, for example, penciling the largest 18th century set that I have ever drawn and then drew a space princess with a ray gun.

It’s all about contrast.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll in black and white for coloring inspired by historical Chinese dress
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I went with a muted color scheme that I found on Design Seeds. I wanted it to feel a little less bright and more nature inspired than a lot of my color schemes tend towards. I have a lof of bright colors. I think the gray greens and soft lavenders go a long way to keeping things feeling soft and delicate.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress in color. Part of the Pixie series, Jai can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
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I swear I had a reference from a contemporary Asian historical drama film when I drew her hair, but now I can’t seem to find the picture on Pinterest. Normally, I’m quite compulsive about saving these things, so I’m a little surprised to be so flummoxed.

Oh well… perhaps I shall find it later.

In the meantime, enjoy Jai and her fantasy gowns.

Nicole: A Printable Paper Doll in Color or Black and White

Link to Nicole, printable paper doll in color and black and white Back in Novemeber, I got a email from a reader who asked if I could name a paper doll either Lynn or Nicole for her. She wanted a paper doll named after herself. Now, originally, she asked for a Mini-Maiden or a Marisole Doll, but I have pretty strict naming patterns for those dolls.

I offered a Pixie instead and she said that she’d be cool with that option.

Today, I am pleased to present the result. A Pixie paper doll named Nicole with some layered tops (as requested). I was sort of obsessing over different bird illustrations for a while and so I decided to adapt some of them into a t-shirt design for Nicole. For those interested, her bird shirt was inspired by the work of Dante Terzigini, Inaluxe and Scott Partridge to name a few.

Link to Nicole, a printable paper doll in black and white for coloring with a contemporary wardrobe
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I love bright color schemes that feel a little unexpected. The orange red and very pale yellow are both acting as my neutrals in this set. She’s my first paper doll with glasses since April Showers in color & black and white back in May of 2014. That’s nearly a year. How embarrassing. I really do have to do more paper dolls with glasses.

Link to Nicole, a paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe. Part of the Pixie series, Nicole can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
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Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to remind people that to dress Nicole, you’ll need to cut long her shoulders under her hair. There are cutting diagrams that you can refer to if there are any questions about how to cut out the paper dolls.

Jayla: A Black Printable Paper Doll with Florals!

Link to Jayla, printable paper doll in color and black and white I have had a deeply frustrating month of February. My car was in the shop for a week and I got sick. I’m getting over it, but I haven’t been as productive as I would have hoped. We has a snow day on Wednesday and I was hopeful that I would get a bunch done.

Of course, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped.

Jayla is an older paper doll. I showed a preview of her with this set of Pixie preview posts. I think of her has being kin to my floral set for Monica. Both paper dolls have a girly style with lots of floral pattern.

Link to Jayla, a printable paper doll in black and white for coloring with a contemporary wardrobe
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I knew I wanted a “dark” background for my florals, but I didn’t want to incorporate too much pink. I tend towards pinks and reds naturally, so sometimes I have to fight that urge. Instead, I chose green, purple and blue as my color scheme. I really wanted to use the lime green with a warm purple, as I love lime and purple.

Link to Jayla, a black paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe. Part of the Pixie series, Jayla can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
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Jayla’s wardrobe is not the most mix and match friendly. I think she really has about 11 or 12 outfit combinations that make sense and then 13, if you don’t care if things match. Personally, I think she could borrow some shoes from Adannaya who has the same skintone or some pants and skirts from Clarisa or a dress from Fiona. There’s plenty of paper dolls around I’m sure who would be happy to share.

Victoria: A Valentine’s Day Paper Doll

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color and black and white Over the years, I have done a lot of Valentine’s Day paper dolls. I think it might be the only holiday that I reliably get a paper doll posted for.

My first Valentine’s Day paper doll was back in 2011. Then in 2013, I did this black and white Valentine’s Day paper doll. In 2014, the Poppets got a Valentine’s Day themed outfit. This year, I wanted to do something a little different.

Inspired by Victorian and Art Deco valentines, I designed two 18th century inspired gowns with a Valentines Day theme. Hearts, of course, but also stripes and polka-dots. Plus ruffles. Ruffles are very important. Our paper doll got a wild up-do and a heart encrusted bodysuit to wear under her gowns.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
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Originally, I planned on using a traditional red, pink and white color scheme. However, I just didn’t like how bright that made the dresses. So, I went to ColourLovers and searched for a scheme that was a little more subdued. I ended up using Happy Valentines color scheme. I often use ColourLovers both to find inspiration for color palettes and to build my own color palettes using their tools.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color
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I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day. I am making stew for me and my boyfriend and we’ll be eating it while watching Box Trolls. I am very excited about both the stew and the movie.

Meanwhile, there’s supposed to be snow on Monday and I have become a true Southerner, buying milk and eggs, just in case. I certainly wouldn’t mind an unexpected day off work, since I don’t get President’s Day off.

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