Generally, I find myself feeling dismissive of “flower fairies”. Complicated and often dark folklore seems to always turn into light children’s stories over time, but I still am a purist when it comes to my fairies. I like them grim and dark and full of blood. Of course, the blood has mostly been taken out to make them more acceptable to most parents (not to children who, on the whole, seem to not mind blood so much). Despite my usual distrust of anything deemed “darling” or “cute”, I began this drawing because I wanted to practice drawing flowers. So, I did and the result is… a lot of flowers.
Keeping with my own slightly grimmer views on the world of fairies (and yes, I know I could spell it differently, but writing faeries would make my feel like a pretentious git with a need to spell out the digraph), I have done this Curves paper doll’s face very differently from her other paper doll friends. They are mostly human, after all, she is… Other. But as Other as she might be, I can’t stand her chin. I just… think it looks weird. It didn’t look weird when I sketched it…
Her hair is my favorite part inspired by the thirties and twenties when women wore their hair in finger waves tight to the skull like Josephine Baker who was an entertainer, exotic dancer, movie star, French Resistance fighter and all around amazing woman. Seriously, cool lady.
And I do regret that my fashions for her aren’t quite as fantastic as a paper doll inspired by the remarkable Josephine Baker deserves, still I had fun with them and I wanted to do something a little retro, but not an actual vintage piece. So… there you go then.
So, I’m be bit belated today. Okay… very belated and, to be honest to entirely pleased with either paper doll dress. I wasn’t when I first drew them and I’m still not. I liked the masquerade costume more then the ballgown. I was terrified of drawing the train and I still don’t like how it came out. Oh well, it just means I’ll be doing another ballgown for Florence. It’s been quite a few months since I did the old one, I think I could do it better now.
Trains are totally impossible for me. I need to keep practicing on them.
As some of you have no doubt already figured out, I draw ahead of time as much as I can. It’s easier to work in spurts when I have a few hours to devote to the blog rather then doing fifteen minutes here and twenty minutes there. So on Saturday, after I had run my errands and washed my laundry, I settled down in front of some old Star Trek episodes on DVD and drew paper doll clothes for a few hours.
For next Monday’s Marisole I had my fashion magazines out and windows from clothing websites up on my computer screen. To draw for Florence, I pulled out books of Victorian fashion plates and printouts of doll furniture. But when it came time to draw for Curves, all I had to do was find my thumbnail doodles and put then down next to my notebook. It was entirely liberating not to be bogged down with references.
Of course, it wasn’t as though I didn’t have some limits. The thing about Evil Sorceresses is that it’s a slippery slope and once you are one, you can’t wear just anything. Sure, some might say it’s a bit cliche or even over done, but the Sorceress has to maintain her reputation. And most Sorceresses don’t start bad, they just sort of slide that way. Something about being beautiful and powerful seems to just go to their heads. And once they are an accepted memeber of the Evil Soceress Guild, they can’t wear just anything.
What would people say, after all, if you showed up to a gathering wearing flannel or flowers? Well, flowers are okay if they’re evil flowers. Not, you know, daisies or something.
Strangely, the seaside walking dress is drawn from a fashion plate which depicts a woman standing on a cliff face, as though she’s been hiking. This leads me to suspect the dress was actually intended for seaside walks and the shorter skirt also hints at this option. I would doubt if women actually wore such a thing hiking, but I have seen photographs of women in the 1900’s wearing high heels standing on a Glacier, so I don’t doubt they did it.
The swimming costume has a cap with it to cover Florence’s paper hair. Though it was drawn after a plate, her hair style made it a little more awkward then it otherwise would have been. Still, as reader pointed out when I first posted the paper doll’s swimming costume I had forgotten to give her the swimming cap any Victorian lady would have worn over her hair. I have not omitted it this time proving I am trainable.
Here is Florence, the paper doll whose supposed to wear this fantastic swimsuit and seaside walking dress.
I’ve been working nearly full time to make up hours lost while I was in classes. It’s been time consuming, exhausting and I just kinda want to curl up and sleep. Still, I promised myself I would do better with paper dolls and the blog. I hope by trying to schedule more and have more things pre-planned that it will smooth some of the rough edges of things.
Anyway, it is late and I am tired. Enjoy the paper doll.
I almost didn’t post this paper doll dress for the Lady of the Manor. I felt like I had left her alone for so long that I wasn’t sure it was worth finishing her, but then I felt like I had this last dress and it was scanned, so I might as well post it anyway.
I might have more to write about it in the morning, but I am very tired tonight, so I think I’ll crawl into bed. Enjoy the ballgown.
Florence’s paper doll traveling costume is based on this fashion plate from the NYPL’s digital gallery (I say based on because it is fairly obvious where the paper doll clothes and the actual plate deviate). The dress is labeled in German and my German is practically non-existent.
I’ve been meaning to ask my German speaking co-worker to translate it for weeks and keep forgetting. I tried babelfish and it didn’t exactly work. It game me an answer, but the answer made no sense. Truth be told, I don’t know if its a traveling suit or not, but it looks fairly similar to others I have seen. Anyway, Florence is my paper doll and if I want to declare this her traveling costume, I darn well can. My life might be full of other sources of chaos, but my paper dolls do as they are told… sometimes.
Suits for women were in style in the 1870’s, so it seemed only reasonable to give Florence one, since she is the most fashionable of paper dolls. I also wanted to use the opportunity to make a few tops to go with the same skirt or several skirts. I expect I shall do this more often and a smart color-er of these paper doll clothes would be wise to consider this for future mix and matchable clothing options. It was common to have two bodices to go with one skirt during this era, so one bodice might be a formal dinner dress while the other bodice would be an afternoon or a visiting costume. The very smart lady (or paper doll, in our case) could, of course, turn an afternoon costume into a visiting costume by adding the right jewelry and a smart hat.
When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those cakes with the doll sticking out of it. You know, the kind where the skirt is made up by cake and the doll comes out the top. (Here’s a picture, for those of you who weren’t doll obsessed children in the early 90’s) Now, whenever I see the dresses of the mid-1860’s when the hoop was at its widest, I think of those doll cakes. Of course, all fashion is about swings. A item of clothing reaches its most extravagant and then slides out as something else enters to replace it, just as the length of shirts have gone from belly-shirts to tunics in the last fifteen years or so, the hoop skirt’s width moved from all around towards the back until it eventually transformed into the bustle. By the mid-1870’s, it was hard to see how it had ever once been a full hoop skirt.
The advantage of such a wide skirt is that it calls attention to a tiny waist and the women of this ear were well aware of the allure of that feature, so belts were much in vogue. Curves has traveled back in time for a moment, to embrace this gown from 1861.
Now, I knew I couldn’t fit Curves in period hoops and the size of the skirt on the same image, so I put the paper doll in a modern set of underwear. Perhaps, she is a Civil War re-enactor. That gets me out of the whole- why isn’t she wearing a corset and hoops and all the things a woman in 1860 wore under her dress.
I don’t think I’m very good at cute (though I am getting better), but I do think this is a pretty cute set. The clothing was inspired by the beautiful garments made by Boneka Company. I drew this paper doll while visiting my grandmother who doesn’t have Internet. So, I always get a lot of paper dolling, card playing and reading done when I go and see her. Also, I get my butt kicked at cribbage. Still, all fun and games with the family.