Poppets Go Roccoco

poppet-princess-ruffles-logoOne of the big myths of costume history is that children were dressed like adults, but in miniature. While this is sort of true, I have yet to see a decade where there is not some, however slight, difference between children’s and adults clothing. The differences are often subtle and children were considered adults at a much younger age than we consider children adults today.

This is all by way of saying that I really wanted to make sure this fluffy dress (which has NO historical accuracy about it at all) felt like a child’s dress and not an adult’s dress. I think of the Poppets as between 8 and 10 years of age and I really hate it when I see child dolls dressed like adults, especially in historical outfits or psuedo-historical outfits.

So, to maintain the principle, I’ve shortened the skirts of her fluffy dress. See.. I have some principles (not a lot of them… but I digress.)

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Actually, I’ve been thinking about principle’s lately. If you read Liana’s interview from Friday (and if you haven’t than you really should), she talks a lot about the problems of paper doll poses and the complications of paper doll design. I think about these things when I design a paper doll as well, but I also find I think a lot about the principle of correctness. I made this principle up by the way, but for me I think it’s about the correct outfit for the correct paper doll at the correct time.

By my nature, I am scattershot personality. I tend to work on something in the grip of interest, give it up when I get bored, and then move onto something else. Paper doll designs, projects, work endevaors, whatever, all become mixed about in the messy world I exist in. If I’m reading up on women’s publishing, than somehow this filters into everything else I do. I am very envious of people who can have firm divisions in their heads between project A and project B, but I’ve never been wired that way. This means my paper dolls tend to be schizophrenic. Astronauts to mermaids all have happened over the years. I think this is sometimes the charm of PTP, but I also fear it’s a bad thing. I find I envy people like Boots who commit to a theme and then stick to it.

I can not imagine trying to limit myself like that.

Jaunty Summer Styles in Cheerful Color

logo-jaunty-summer-styles-paper-dollSo, interesting fact for your day… Today in 1945, Tennessee William’s play the “Glass Menagerie” premiered in New York in 1945. Not that I suppose anyone really cares about that fact, but I have a certain soft spot for the “Glass Menagerie.”

Anyway, back to our paper doll, she would not fit in a 1945 theater opening, but she certainly could go to a show today. I am strictly of the view that one should dress up for theater, out of respect for the nature of live performance. A part of me winces, when I see people show up to Broadway shows wearing shorts and flip flops. Have some respect for the theater, people…

Wow, that’s quite the off topic subject… let’s get back to paper dolls, shall we?


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I’ve decided, after quite a bit of dithering, to settle on Monica as my chosen name. I decided I liked the sound of Marisole, Mia, Margot and Monica. It’s different enough to stand out, but not different enough to be obvious. Minerva I think I should save for a fantasy paper doll and Miranda was a little hard at the end, but thank you everyone for your lovely suggestions. I really enjoyed getting to read all those M names.

Chic Chick from Buxom and Bodacious

chic-chick-logoSo, historically, I’ve been posting a black and white B&B paper doll and then a full color version the next day.

I’ve decided that this technique is not time saving in any real way, unlike my spacing of my Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls a week apart which saves me so many headaches, so I am going to start posting both and black and white version of the Buxom and Bodacious printable paper doll and the full color version on the same day. I hope no one minds this change, but I don’t think anyone will.

Anyway, to say something intelligent about the paper doll… I actually haven’t got much intelligent to say about the paper doll. This is one of those paper dolls the languished on my computer hard drive for weeks. I thought about working on it, got distracted and then moved on and eventually realized (like on Sunday) that all I really needed to do was layout and file formatting. So, feeling a little foolish I finished her up and here she is.


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I confess to not being completely pleased with her color scheme. It feels a little sedate for my usual taste, but not every color scheme is a winner and that’s why the paper doll has a black and white option for coloring yourself.

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Lastly, I want to give a shout out to Lina’s Paper Dolls. I’ve had her on my Links Page for a while, but keep forgetting to give her a little spotlight here. As I always say, new paper doll blogs make me happy. Check her out and drop her a comment when you have a chance. Paper doll bloggers need all the encouragement we can get. 🙂

Marisole Monday Visits the 10th Century

anglo-saxon-logoIt’s a Margot paper doll this Monday, the first for the new year, I think, and she’s sporting some stylish garb from the 10th century. Yesterday, I posted a pretty long ramble about 10th century Anglo-Saxon women’s dress and if you’re interested, I recommend reading that as well as this post, since the two rather go together in chronicling the epic research adventure this paper doll was.

One of my January drawing winners, Gwendolyn, who asked for this paper doll has been very kind as I slowly did my research and then set to work on drawing the set. I won’t pretend it hasn’t been both stressful and time consuming, because it has, but I am utterly pleased with the outcome and I hope she is as well.

Gwendolyn wrote me that:

I have actually thought a little bit about what I would choose if I ever won, so I can tell you now that I am interested in a Marisole-family doll, who is 10th century Anglo-Saxon. I would love a set or two of daily clothes, but I would also love a maille shirt and helm.

Speaking of the maile shirt, it is based on Anglo-Saxon finds in York and the helm is also based on the same thing. As women didn’t wear maile, I didn’t spend a huge amount of time researching the historical accuracy of such a garment. Personally, I’ll confess, armor doesn’t get me going like clothes do.

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So, let’s talk about the clothes. As I explained yesterday, 10th century Anglo-Saxon’s women dress consists of several layers of clothing. To begin with Margot (our Anglo-Saxon model with a French name…) wears a pair of leggings with windings around the calves and shoes. The shoes come from Anglo-Viking finds in York dating from the 9th Century. The windings around her calves are based on an illustration from the manuscript Psychomachia (British Library MS Additional 24199) which shows a barefoot women on horseback. Sadly, the manuscript hasn’t be digitized, but there is an illustration in Owen-Crocker’s Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. There is no way to know what the top of such leggings looked like. I made them like this so they could be worn with the maile shirt.

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10th-century-anglo-saxonThe shift’s neckline is based on an illustration of a male farmer’s tunic illustrated in Tiberius B v calendar (British Library MS Cotton Tiberius B v, fol. 4r) and the sleeves are wrinkled as I discussed yesterday. The necklines of the other dresses are also based on the necklines of men’s tunics in the 10th century.

The veils are based on manuscript illustration, though I had added visible pins. Pins are commonly found from this period and it seems logical they were used to hold veils together. The green veil with broach is based on an illustration of the Virgin Mary from the first half of the 9th century (see Plate 1). The brown “poncho” is based on several illustrations and I discuss these cloaks a lot more in yesterday’s post.

Lastly, the embroidery on the red dress is not based on anything specifically. I wanted to use some patterns I found online, but they were far to detailed to easily make tiny enough to work as illustrations at such a small size. I did not include girdles as there is almost no published information on them and I didn’t want to just invent stuff. The colors used in these garments are based on the colors of the famous Bayeux Tapestry (which is not actually a tapestry, but that’s neither here nor there).

Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed the last two days in the 10th century. I certainly have had fun researching and I hope to do some more medieval period paper dolls now that I know more about the eras in question. (I think my next one will be 1300s, a little easier than 900s.)

Sewing the Seventies… A Paper Doll For Jo

seventies-logo-marisoleThis is the paper doll set I abandoned last week and instead posted the doodles. I am so happy I gave it another week to be refined. Jo was one of the two winners of my drawing in January. She asked for a “groovy” late 60s early 1970s Marisole paper doll based on pattern covers from patterns she actually had sewn at the time. How cool is that?

You can see a PDF of the pattern covers Jo sent me here. I loved all of the pattern covers and I wish I had been able to draw them all, but, of course, that would be way more than a one page paper doll.

Normally, I do two pairs of shoes for each Marisole and friends set, but I wanted to focus on things the patterns had, so a simple pair of clogs did the trick. Tiny calico patterns were the “in” thing in the 70’s, so I created some to decorate these groovy outfits using a new method that I’m experimenting with involving Photoshops pattern making tools. I think they came out pretty well considering that I only sort of know what I am doing.

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I drew a new Marisole paper doll face for this set, because I wanted to try to capture some of the whimsy of the pattern cover’s faces. I don’t think I did a good job of that, but I did have fun. Jo asked for bangs and brown hair, or I would have given into the temptation and tried to do Farrah hair.

(Okay, I did try. I confess. It came out… weird looking.)

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I had so much fun dabbling in the 1970s, especially since I’m not very familiar with the clothes of this era. So, fans who remember the 1970s… how did I do?

Captain Mannequin

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes When I started the Ms Mannequin paper doll series, my goal was to draw primary contemporary clothing. I had high plans of doing stylish designers and other things. Maybe dabbling a little into vintage Dior, but mostly being contemporary. The dolls were designed to be models, not curvy at all, so they could wear the contemporary styles.

However, it wasn’t long before I was sketching and suddenly pirates reared their heads and demanded to be drawn. I ignored them for a while, but soon they were saying, “DRAW US.”

And I said, “Okay. No need to shout.”

And so this pirate set was born.

What can I say? I like pirates. I feel like there’s nothing “new” about this pirate set though, so I’m not sure it’s my best set. Still… sometimes you just have to draw pirates.

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By the way, I’m doing site clean up, sometime I do every Jan/Feb to tidy up categories, fix things that seem broken and a little spring cleaning is done. So, things might be morphing and changing around here in subtle ways. Nothing to worry about, just me tidying up my files. 🙂

Poppets go Medieval… sorta…

poppets-dragons-logoWhen I first drew the Poppets paper dolls, I knew I wanted to do historical costumes. This isn’t historically accurate by the way, but it does have a 1300s flair, I think. One of the reasons I steer clear of certain periods of history is that I feel like I don’t know enough about them. I am familiar enough with Victorian and 18th century costume that I feel fairly comfortable simplifying it without losing it’s authenticity, but I know very little about clothing in Europe before 1400.

As a result, I tend to categorize my forays into the “medieval” look as fantasy, rather than history. It keeps me from feeling guilty about not really knowing what I’m doing. However, Gwendolyn asked for a paper doll of a 10th century Anglo-Saxon when she won my drawing last week, so I guess I better learn something about the 10th century.

In the meantime, here’s a Poppet Medieval outfit strictly in the realm of fantasy being modeled by Petunia. I like to think she might be a princess, but I haven’t given her a crown, so the jury is out.

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I’m also really pleased to say I’ve recently stumbled across a new paper doll blog called Paper is Suffcient. It’d a new blog, so go over there, check it out and drop Natalie a comment. We need all the paper doll blogs we can get. 🙂