The Firebird: A Ballet Costume

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
The Firebird is a ballet based on Russian folklore that opened in 1910. There was a real fad for all things Russian in the early part of the 20th century. Sergei Diaghilev created the Ballet Russes in Paris in 1909 to take advantage of this obsession. While he was at it, he decided to commission a new ballet that would be very much Russian in themes. He hired Igor Stravinsky (at the time largely unknown) to compose the work.

The Firebird is a pretty short ballet (it’s only about 45 minutes) and it tells the story of a young man, Prince Ivan Tsarevich (the Russian version of Prince Charming) who captures the Firebird while she is eating a golden apple at night. She offers him a magic feather and warns him about Koshi (also spelled Koschei or Kochi) the Deathless, an evil sorcerer. In the morning, Prince Ivan spies thirteen dancing princesses and he falls in love with one of them. Like you do. So, he decides to rescue them.

Prince Ivan confronts Koshi and uses his magic feather to protect himself from Koshi’s magic. Then the Firebird is summoned, she casts a spell on Koshi and his followers causing them to dance until they collapse (this is a ballet, after all). Prince Ivan than destroys a magical egg which holds the key to the sorcerer’s immortality. Once the spells is broken, the princesses are freed and everything is happily ever after.

Listen, it’s a ballet with a magical dancing bird- no one said there needed to be a logical plot.

Koshi the Deathless, the Firebird and Ivan Tsarevich are all figures from Russian fairy-tales and folklore, but the combination of all of them is pretty much just from the ballet.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
In ballet costumes, there is tradition stacked on tradition. The Firebird, the principle dancer role in the Ballet, is strangely one where there isn’t so much tradition stacked on tradition. Perhaps because the character is a mythological beast, or perhaps because the Ballet Russes was always a bit cutting edge and innovative, the Firebird costume isn’t very standardized. You see all sorts of versions around from traditional tutus to unitards to other.

Specific Source Images: This one was a big influence on my Firebird design.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More from the Ballet and Dancing collection
Around the Internet: The Firdbird on Wikipedia and the Danish Royal Ballet preforming the Firebird on Youtube (their costuming is fantastically non-traditional)

Last Thoughts
I love and have always loved Russian fairytales. I grew up hearing them. My favorite was Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf which I made my mother read to me over and over again. She probably got so sick of that fairy tale.

I’d like to give a shout out to my Patreon supporters, because without you all, the blog wouldn’t happen.

Empress Fantasy Gown

A fantasy gown for the printable paper doll series Jewels and Gemstones inspired by the Tang Dynasty of China, but not historically accurate at all. Printable in color or black and white for coloring.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
One of my favorite things to look at on Pinterest are these fantasy versions of Tang Dynasty dress, an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. I don’t know enough about the history of Chinese clothing to even begin to consider drawing actual historical Chinese dress, but I really like looking. I think these gowns are all so flowing and elegant.

While I know enough about most eras of Western Fashion to at least approach them, Asian clothing (particularly China) is kinda a black box for me. I should do more reading on it, but sources are pretty difficult to find for anything before the Qing Dynasty. I own one book, but my collection is pretty limited in that area.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Occasionally, I like to dip into my own archives and draw a new gown based on an older paper doll set, especially if it’s a set that I really like. So, today’s paper doll gown was inspired by a set I did back in 2015 called the Elven Empress. While I didn’t actually look at any Tang dynasty reference images, this is definitely got some Tang Dynasty influences.

Specific Source Images: Elven Empress paper doll set from 2015

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & the Elven Empress set from 2015
Around the Internet: Tang Dynasty Dress example and a Tang Dynasty sculpture, Tang Dynasty style screen & another example of Tang Dynasty dress

Last Thoughts
As life has been nuts lately since I am moving at the moment, my goal has been one post per week for the foreseeable future and, of course, a Friday post for my Patrons over on Patreon. Thanks to everyone who supports the blog through Patreon!

Ballet Practice Clothing

A set of dancing clothing with two leotards, two skirts and two wrap sweaters with tights and toe shoes for the curvy Jewels and Gemstones paper dolls.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I love drawing pretty things like tutus, but I also wanted to draw practice clothing, because in reality many folks who dance, dance for the love of dance. They are not automatically dancing with the goal of performance before a crowd.

I have mixed feelings about ballet’s relationship with body shape, as I have said before. The stats on dancers and eating disorders are troubling. One 2003 study from the journal Psychopathology found that non-professional ballet dancers reported the highest prevalence of eating disorders (anorexia nervosa 1.8%; bulimia nervosa 2.7%; eating disorders not otherwise specified 22.1%) compared to gymnasts and bodybuilders, two other performative sports with high prevalence of eating disorders. I should add that the study looked at non-professional dancers, so I’m not saying these are the stats for people actually dancing in the National Ballet company or something.

Anyhow, I couldn’t in good conscious draw ballerina paper dolls for kids without feeling like I needed to mention the issues of body image and ballet. I try so hard not to preach on this site, but I know too many people in recovery from eating disorders, so I take that stuff really seriously.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I don’t do a lot of mix ad match sets anymore, but given that I couldn’t fit clothing and en pointe shoes on the same pages as the dolls I drew to go with this series, I thought I would make sure to give a variety of practice clothing to be mixed and matched. If you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice the en pointe shoes duplicate. I didn’t feel like drawing the same thing over and over again.

Specific Source Images: Dancewear Solutions and International Dance Supplies were two of the sites I used to find images of dance clothing.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & other Ballerina paper dolls
Around the Internet:Eating Disorders and Body Image Disturbances among Ballet Dancers, Gymnasium Users and Body Builders, Why Ballet Hasn’t Yet Caught Up to the Body Positivity Movement from Medium & Big Moves Dance Company: Beyond Body Positive Towards Fat Liberation

Last Thoughts

So, right now life is super crazy busy for me and I don’t see it slowing down for a while. I keep thinking- next month won’t be so bad and then next month rolls around and it is just as insane. So, thank you for your paitence as I work through everything happening in my life.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that becoming a patron means getting an extra paper doll/outfit every Friday.

I’m thinking I should also draw some non-ballet stuff. I specifically called this collection Ballet & Dancing. What other sorts of dance should I include? Leave me a suggestion in the comments.

The Music Frock with a Draped Skirt: Part of the Princess Trousseau

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Today’s dress is one of four I designed together to be classic “big skirted princess dresses” for the Jewels and Gemstones paper dolls. Two of them are Patron exculsives (join here) and two of them are going up on the blog here. I plan to create more, but at the moment, I just have the four.

Four dresses doesn’t make a full trousseau though, so stay tuned for additional dresses for this collection.

Princesses get a bad rep. It’s easy to look at the idea of a Princess and argue they have no automony, they get rescued and they are valued only for their appearance. Despite that, and despite being a feminist, I continue to draw regularly and often my Princess dresses.

It’s not that I’m not aware of the issues surrounding the concept of the Princess. It’s not that I don’t have serious issues with Disney and the commodification of girlhood. It’s not that I don’t occasionally prefer the idea of full-plate armor over full-skirted gowns. It’s that I don’t think femininity should in anyway be associated with weakness.

The only problem with Princesses is when they are offered to young girls as the only acceptable way to be.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I really did have a lot of fun designing this one. It pretty much came out of a doodling session on my phone using the Procreate app on my phone, which I am sort of enjoying when I don’t have pen or paper with me.

Specific Source Images: This doodle

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More of the Princess Trousseau (which at the moment is just this dress)
Around the Internet: I do keep a “Rococo/Big Skirted Absurdity” section on my Fantasy Pinterest Board

Last Thoughts
As my long time readers know, I have a strange obsession with the idea of different dresses for different activities. I think I read to many Victorian novels at an impressionable age. So, this is kind of an excuse to indulge in that fantasy.

Yes, I know actually having to change my clothing for each activity of my day would really be annoying. I don’t even like putting on gym clothes.

If you’d like an extra paper doll each week, check out Patreon. It’s a great way to get more paper dolls and support PTP.

Happy 4th of July!

A 4th of July patriotic paper doll gown with stars and stripes for the curvy Jewels and Gemstones paper dolls.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Growing up in Southeast Alaska, the 4th of July was a really big deal. There was always a parade, multiple barbecues and fireworks. I have many fond memories of spending the holiday with family and friends and at least one bonfire.

So, I always try to make a paper doll for the 4th of July. For the last few years, that has been just shorts and a thematic t-shirt, but this year I wanted to do something different, so we have a patriotic  evening gown.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Hmmm…. I drew this one super fast, so I’m not sure really where it came from. I didn’t want to do another pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

Specific Source Images: Nothing really this time!

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & more 4th of July Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: A fascinating History of Independence Day from PBS

Last Thoughts
I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!

Tomorrow, there will be a another paper doll outfit (a fantasy ballgown) for my Patrons. Join now!

 

A Super Pretty Empire Fantasy Gown

A pretty fantasy gown with an empire silhouette and over the shoulder puffed sleeves. Printable in color or black and white for coloring.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Occasionally, I just kinda want to draw a pretty dress. I mean, sometimes I like to draw complex things with nuance and stuff, but sometimes, I just want to draw a pretty dress. Years ago, I read an article about Oscar De La Renta (an amazing fashion designer) who when asked what he did, he said something like, I make pretty dresses.

And well, sometimes I want to draw pretty dresses. Nothing more, nothing less. Remember that I draw extra pretty dresses (and other things) for my Patrons.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
As I said above, I just kinda wanted a pretty dress. There’s something sort of 1980s fantasy princess happening here, I think, but I don’t recall a specific source of any kind.

Specific Source Images: Nothing that I remember.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls
Around the Internet: Hmmmm…. I’m not sure. If you want to see more pretty dresses, I do keep a board of Fantasy Clothing on Pinterest which is full of them.

Last Thoughts
Clearly, this isn’t my most “complex” blog post. Sometimes I think a lot about what I create and sometimes I just draw. Not everything has a complex history.

I’d like to take a moment here to thank everyone who pledges on Patreon. You make this little corner of the web possible and I am very grateful to you all.

By the way, at the moment, there’s a lot going on with my world, so please know that while I love the blog and I love creating paper dolls, I’m keeping a lot of plates spinning at the moment.

Ruffle Sleeves and Crop Pants

Summer time paper doll clothing with a coral blouse with ruffled sleeves, crop pants and a wrap skirt. Free to print from paperthingpersonas.com.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
You spend anytime watching fashion, as I do, and you pretty quickly see that sleeves are the THING at the moment. Sleeve details are everywhere. Personally, I think a lot of them are pretty fun- also a lot of them are pretty absurd.

Anyway, today’s post is, like the ruffled tunic, the preppy summer polka-dots (patron exclusive) and the tropical mini-dresses one I designed after looking at a lot of summer fashion magazines and wanting to make sure the Jewels and Gemstones got some fun summer fashions.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
As with the other paper doll outfits I’ve made in this summery collection. I based the colors off the Pantone 2019 Spring Color trend report. It predicted the coral would be the color of the season, so I wanted to make sure I used that color.

Specific Source Images: I used Instyle March 2019 issue– their big Spring Fashion report.  Sometimes it is super nice to get away from screens, you know?

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls
Around the Internet: Pantone’s Spring 2019 Color Report (I know I’ve linked to it before, but it’s kinda the reason I did these, after all.)

Last Thoughts
It’s been a super hot summer here in Alabama. I am not a heat person. I hate the heat. I grew up in Alaska. I am a cold weather soul. You can dress for the cold weather. At some point, you can’t take off more clothing (and not get arrested.)

By the way, while I am not prioritizing keeping blog posts regular (too much in my life), I am making sure I get my weekly Patreon Paper doll up, so head over there to join and see those.