A Mermaid Costume

A printable mermaid costume for the Jewels and Gemstones paper doll series. Can be printed in color or black and white.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I wanted to create a mermaid outfit that was a costume, not an actual mermaid. Usually when I draw mermaids, they are mermaids, not people dressing up like mermaids.

So, yeah, that’s a thing I think about sometimes.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I wanted to think in terms of what would a dress for a mermaid costume look like. I thought about as mermaid shaped dress, of course, and then I remembered Liana’s beautiful mermaid paper dolls and that was one of my big inspirations to draw a mermaid at all.

Specific Source Images: This Mermaid Costume from Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More Halloween Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Liana’s Paper Doll Blog is why this site exists. It hasn’t been updated in years, but the paper dolls are beautiful and the writing very funny. Check it out when you have a chance.

Last Thoughts
Tomorrow, my Patreon supporters who have signed up at a 2 dollar a month and more category, will get a super cute little Devil paper doll. She’s darling, if I do say so myself.

Also, I finally live in a place where there are kids! I’m super exciting to get to maybe actually have trick or treaters this year.

A Ghostly Paper Doll!

A ghost paper doll with long blue hair, pale blue skin and bloody feet. Free to print and cut out an play with.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
When I was brainstorming what I wanted to draw for Halloween, I worked out a list of themes for the Jewels and Gemstones dolls. I wanted to do a series of sort of cute monsters that were still a bit wicked. I settled on a ghost paper doll, a devil paper doll (for my patrons) and a Frankenstein’s monster paper doll for my set of three.

I’m super happy to be sharing the first- my blood footed ghost here.

I thought about designing all new faces for these dolls, since Pearl can’t really share shoes with the rest of the Pearl paper dolls, but I decided against it. Mostly, because I have such a nice range of Gemstone dolls, I didn’t really want to draw more faces just for the sake of it. I confess I was being a little lazy. No shame.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Her dress is a nod to the Chemise A La Reine of the 18th century. Here’s another one I’ve drawn and here’s one in the real world.

Her feet are a nod to murder.

Specific Source Images: Nothing this time.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & my other Ghost paper doll
Around the Internet: White Ladies and Some fun Victorian Ghost Stories

Last Thoughts
I love a good (and by good I mean creepy) ghost story. I just love them. I don’t know why they appeal so strongly, but they do. I hate horror movies, but I love ghost stories and therefore will watch a few IF they are previewed by my horror loving best friend and IF I can watch them at noon with the lights on and IF I can read a summary ahead of time, so I’m not too scared. The Others is a great ghost horror film I super enjoyed.

Tomorrow for most of my Patreon supporters there will be an additional paper doll outfit for the Jewels and Gemstones.

By the way, I really went back and forth about the toenails on this paper doll. I wasn’t sure if I should erase them. I couldn’t decide. Am I weird in that I really think toenails belong on ghosts?

Hip Hop Dance Clothing for the Paper Dolls

Printable paper doll clothing including a pair of leggings, cropped top and sportsbra halter top. Also, high topped sneakers.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
In a continuing theme of Rachel draws paper doll outfits based on topics of which she knows very little, I am pleased to share my latest dance creation. I made a big list of dance styles and one I knew I wanted to draw was hip-hop dance.

I also rapidly discovered I don’t know much about dance. However, I did my research (as much as Googling- Hip-Hop Dance counts as research) and went from there.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Anyway, here’s my attempt at a hip-hop dance outfit based on styles from Discount Dance, a dance supply store. Also, I know stage makeup is a thing, but children photographed in stage makeup look… surreal. Under bright lights, the makeup makes sense. In the regular world, it’s kinda creepy.

Specific Source Images: These costumes and these costumes from two dance supply stores.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More from the Ballet and Dancing collection
Around the Internet: Interesting articles on Amanda LaCount a plus-sized hip-hop dancer & Pretty Big Movement a plus-sized hip-hop dancing troupe

Last Thoughts
By the way, my Patreon supporters get extra paper dolls every Friday. So, consider subscribing if you’d like to help support the blog.

Friday there will be a round up of paper dolls I’ve created in Regency dress. I am running a little low on round up ideas, so anyone have something they’d love to see? Let me know in the comments.

12 Century Bliaut with Girdle

A printable paper doll with 12th century clothing including a bliaut, girdle, headdress, stockings and shoes. A great homeschooling history activity or just a fun paper doll for anyone who likes medieval fashions.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
So, I am still working on the 1100s, 1200s and 1300s paper dolls. The 1300s paper dolls aren’t even drawn yet. So, I’m sticking with the 1100s and 1200s. I’ll get to the 1300s when I have a moment.

Anyway, meanwhile, there’s this 1100s gown known as a bliaut. Can I confess that I’m not sure how to pronounce that word? Anyway, it’s the wide sleeved garment that most of us associate with the medieval era. Despite being popular in pop culture, it’s actually gown there’s a lot of debate about how it was constructed.

The bliaut was worn by men and women, often in layers. The length seems to have been regional. In France, they look really long, but in Germany there’s often a shorter bliaunt illustrated over a longer kirtle. So, there seems to be some variation in the regional styles.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, so I looked at a lot of pictures and a lot of statues and I read a bit. Here’s what I understand: The bliaut is the subject of a lot of debate, as I mentioned above. Statues of the time show a very wrinkled, almost pleated fabric effect (like this), but illustrations by and large don’t. When they do show horizontal wrinkles across the abdomen they tend to be more subtle (like this). Additionally, smaller statuary (like this one) doesn’t show wrinkles across the abdomen.

There are, at the moment, several theories as to why and how wrinkles abdomens got formed, from cutting the fabric on the bias and lacing the sides (to create wrinkles across the stomach) to making a separate bodice and attaching it to the skirt.

I chose to go with a more subtle wrinkled look in my illustration, because outside of the giant statuary outside French cathedrals,  the wrinkles just don’t seem the tight or distinct in the art of the time.

Specific Source Images: Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres Statuary (see this picture) & Stuttgart WLB, cod. bibl. fol. 57, origin: Zwiefalten abbey circa 1125-1130, f. 55 as pictured here (retrieved 9/9/2019).

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls, more paper dolls from the Medieval era, Topaz with her 1100s underwear
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress), an interesting webpage with lots of pictures, and an interesting site with lots of pictures in German (I think?)

Last Thoughts
While I don’t have a real opinion on how bliauts were constructed, I do find it interesting the amount of debate there seems to be out there on the topic. The only theory I find least plausible is the separate bodice with skirt theory. I’ve seen some illustrations that seem to back it up, but never with proper citation. Cite your sources people! Additionally, separate bodices  would have had to have been invented and then ignored for like 300 years and that just seems implausible. Not impossible, mind you, but implausible. However, I always love to hear from folks to know more than me on these topics, so share away in the comments.

(But do try to keep it polite. I’ve had strange debates and oddly angry emails over medieval clothing before which, odd the true, still boggles my mind.)

Mean while, on Patreon, there’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday! Plus previews of what I’m working on, polls and whole different paper doll series called Vivian. It’s a fun group. Check it out!

And if you need a paper doll with proper hair and undies for this era, grab Topaz in her 1100s underwear. The 1200s Lapis can also do in a pinch, if you’re more partial to redheads.

Topaz in the 1100s Undergarments and Shoes

A 12th century fashion paper doll with shoes, wigs and historical underwear.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
I am super excited about this collection of paper dolls. I love costume history. Sometimes, I feel like despite my love of the topic (or perhaps because of it), I get a little paralyzed feeling like I have to do so much research before I can create something and worrying about the quality of my sources. This worries me less in eras I am confident in, such as the 19th and 20th century, and worries me more in eras I am not confident about.

But then I won’t learn or get better if I don’t practice drawing these periods, so I think it is okay to not be perfect. Even more importantly, I think you have to start with in perfection or you never move forward.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Like last week’s Lapis, this week’s Topaz is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380. Illustrations of women in just shifts are exceedingly rare, so even though this is 200 years after the 1100s, I am still using it. I made my version shorter and tighter than the originals probably were to facilitate the paper doll layering clothing over the shift. Paper dolls have to layer.

Additionally, Topaz’s shoes all come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, a book on archeological footwear finds. It’s fascinating, but very densely written work. Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern by Georgine de Courtais was the book I used for her hair and headdress, along with this statue, Enthroned Virgin and Child, from The Met.

Specific Source Images: Roman de Giron le Courtois Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. NAF 5243 (f.87v) &  Enthroned Virgin and Child ca. 1130–1140, The Met, Accession Number:47.101.15.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More from the Ballet and Dancing collection
Around the Internet: Claricia Psalter from the Late 12th Century

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

Additionally, later this week there will be a gown from the 12th century (aka the 1100s) and I am excited to share that though I am also nervous about how little I know about this era. However, this is how I learn, so there you go!

13th Century Sleeveless Surcoat over Dress

Free to print, a historical paper doll outfit from the 13th century surcoat design with a headdress and shoes with stockings.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Today’s paper doll dress is a surcoat (over-dress) over another dress. As far as I can tell, this style came into fashion in the second half of the 13th century and sticks around in various forms for over 100 years. As I said when I was showing off Lapis and her 13th century undergarments, I am not an expert on this time period. At best, I am a dabbling amateur. However, one thing I did notice as I looked at many many pictures was that the 13th century is similar to the 14th century, if they hadn’t yet mastered curved seams and tailoring techniques.

So, while in the 14th century they have sideless surcoats over fitted kirtles, that is not what you see in the 13th century. You see their predecessors- a sleeveless surcoat over a dress where just the sleeves are visible and there’s no waist as far as the eye can see. This style does continue into the first part 14th century- here is an example. Later the armholes lengthen, these surcoats are in the later 14th century style.

Clothing rarely confines itself to neat time ranges, but rather tends to ease over years and decade markers.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
As usual, the shoe designs come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, in exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear. The surcoat is based on this illustration and this illustration while the headdress comes from here, but also from all the looking at headdresses I did when drawing Lapis.

Specific Source Images: Biblia Porta, Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (fol.178r),  Collection of poems in Old French, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal- Arsenal 3142 (f.292r), Romance of Alexander, England, Cambridge University Library- Cambridge MS O.9.34 (f.25v), this recreation of 13th century dress & this recreation of 13th century dress

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls, Lapis with her 13th century underwear & Everything I’ve Drawn from the 13th Century
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress is one of my goto places for illustrations), Manuscript Miniatures (a website that collects manuscript miniatures) & the amazing Gallica, the digital library of France

Last Thoughts
I previewed a lot of this collection over on Patreon. So, thank you to all my Patrons to encouraged me to continue even though I was a little nervous. Reminder: There’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday, plus previews of what I’m working on and polls and things. Check it out!

Rarely have I wished I knew more medieval Latin, but when I am looking for primary source illustrations of clothing I do. It’s very hit and miss, but I do my best with my limited knowledge. I respect people who do recreations of these garments, but I wish more of them properly cited their source images. It’s very frustrating to find a great illustration from an illuminated manuscript, but have no way of knowing where it came from. I won’t use anything that doesn’t properly cite a source. I’m a librarian, after all. I have some standards.

Lapis in the 1200s

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There are time periods where I feel like I know a fair amount and then there are time periods of fashion history where I feel (and I am) quite ignorant. The 1200s are one of those time periods. It’s not an era I have a great deal of natural interest in (sorry 1200s) and I don’t really feel like devoting the long hours of research to it. Also, I think the headdresses look funny.

So, all of that is to say that I noticed the basically the only different from the 1100s through the 1300s was headdresses and the undergarments all stayed pretty much the same. There are some documented differences in the 1400s, but I’ll get into that when I get around to drawing it. The result of this discovery was excitement when I realized I could draw the same shift and basically have a period underwear wearing paper doll for a 300 year time period.

This was very exciting. (Listen, I know this wouldn’t be exciting to normal people, but I make my own fun.)

So, this is the first of a series of paper dolls from the 1100s, 1200s and 1300s.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Lapis is wearing a shift based one illustrated in Roman de Giron le Courtois on Folio 87v. The manuscript dates from between 1370-1380. Yes, I realize that’s like 100 years later than this paper doll, but here’s the thing- illustrations of women in just shifts are exceedingly rare, so I am going to take what I can get. A few differences in my rendition are that the length is a little shorter and the style is quite fitted. Both of these changes were done to facilitate the paper doll layering clothing over the shift.

Her headdresses are in the style of the barbette and fillet. The barbette is the piece that goes under the chin and the fillet is the pillbox hat looking piece that wraps around the head. One point I couldn’t quite sort out was whether the fillet was open or closed at the top. This manuscript illustration looks closed while this manuscript illustration it could go either way. These ones look closed while this one is definitely open.

In the end, I went with Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern by Georgine de Courtais where fig 13 on shows it closed and that was my decision. I maybe totally wrong. The book was originally published in 1986, which while not super current, is current enough for me to feel fairly confident in it. Unlike, for example, books on historical costume first published in the 19th century when I have serious doubts about the quality of the scholarship.

The designs for her shoes come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz, an excellent, in exceedingly dry, book on historical footwear.

Specific Source Images: Roman de Giron le Courtois Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. NAF 5243 (f.87v), Lausanne Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, U 964 (f.93v),  The Old Testament The Pierpoint Morgan Library, MS M.638 (f.33v) & Decretals by Gregory IX, with the apparatus of Bernard of Parma, University of Oxford, Bodleian Library,  MS. Lat. th. b. 4 (f.168r)

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls
Around the Internet: Illumanu (a tumblr devoted to manuscript illustrations of clothing & dress) & a beautiful reproduction outfit here

Last Thoughts
I’m tossing this out to the audience today, because there’s a high chance someone out there knows way more about 1200s clothing than I do. That would not be hard. Was the fillet open on the top or closed? Because I can’t seem to get a clear answer on that one. Thoughts? (And if you tell me your sources on why you think one or the other, I would be eternally grateful.)

Over on Patreon, there’s an extra paper doll outfit every Friday, plus previews of what I’m working on and polls and things. Check it out!