Viola, A Paper Doll to Print from the 1890s

thumnail-edwardian-logoWe’re traveling to the turn of the century today for Viola, a printable paper doll with her wardrobe from 1895 and 1900. She can be printed in black and white or in full color. Viola’s name was  selected from the Social Security Baby Name Index as popular in the 1890s. Fashion in the mid to late 1890’s exists between huge puffed sleeves and the rather horrid pigeon breasted look. Not being a fan of either style, I never thought I would do 1890s paper doll, but I found I liked the fashions at the end of the century, so here she is.

Honestly, the way I look at history has been heavily influenced by the historical paper dolls I had as a child, sparking my interest in social history and fashion history. So, I think historical paper dolls are great printable paper dolls for kids and I’ve only recently discovered that a number of people who use my paper dolls for home schooling activities. All of this increases the pressure to get the paper doll “right”, lest some child’s understanding of 1890’s dress be damaged by my paper doll creation. (Not that I think this would be devastating for the child in question- there are far worse things in this world.)

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The mid to late 1890s wardrobe that Viola has is based on museum objects, primarily, and a few costume plates. The Met, The Museum at FIT and MFA Boston, as well as the UK National Trust were a few of my sources. When I am researching a new paper doll, I tend to collect my sources on my Pinterest boards (feel free to follow) and today’s printable paper doll is no exception. I gathered her clothing sources on my Turn of the Century board, before I started drawing.

edwardian-full-color-printable-paper-doll{Download a PDF to Print in Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print in Color of the Paper Doll}

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The Sources, Left to Right: The pair of shoes from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1898. Her corset was an amalgamation of several corsets which you can see on my Turn of the Century pinterest board, however, this corset from 1900 and another corset from 1900 were big influences. I chickened out of making the corset patterned, a fact I regret.

One of her parasols was based on this one, but the other I rather invented based on a lot of various parasols I looked at. The Met actually has a really large collection of parasols, who knew?

Her seaside or yachting costume was inspired by this dress from 1895. There seems to have been a real “sailor” trend in the end of the Victorian period during the bridge into Edwardian.

A visiting or afternoon dress based on a gown from the National Trust Collections of the UK.

The carriage toilette in green is from this fashion plate I found on flickr, though I confess to usually trying to avoid finding things on flickr, since I don’t always trust the accuracy of the sources.

Her gym suit is based on this French one with the shoes borrowed from this gymsuit from 1893-1898.

The ballgown comes from a design by The House of Doucet circa 1898-1900.

Were I to draw today’s historical paper doll again, I would have included a pair of gloves and another pair of shoes, but that would have made her three pages and I wasn’t about to that. Of course, should you wish to add gloves, than I will direct your attention to the Regency Pixie Paper Dolls whose gloves could certainly be adapted here.

Amaryllis, a Paper Doll in Evening Gowns

logo-amaryllis-paper-dollI don’t really do balance that well. I tend to work in the grip of obsession and then realize I’ve just spent five hours looking through images of medieval manuscripts in the hope that one of them might show a 10th century women’s neckline which, of course, none of them did. (By the way, you can read all about my adventures in the 10th century here and see the paper doll result.)

So, when I want to draw and I don’t want to get wrapped up in fretting about whether or not my choice of red is the right shade for Turkey red of the 1800s, I often turn to contemporary fashion magazines, as I know I have mentioned before. I find these paper dolls are fun, because in many ways they are easier than fantasy or historical dolls. I can just draw what I see, which is simpler for me than trying to draw from my minds-eye or from actual historical garments.

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Amaryllis’ evening gowns are based on actual evening gowns of the “real world”. I wanted to use a spring color scheme that wouldn’t be to heavy and dark. I feel like Clarissa, my last Pixie, had an awfully dark color scheme for a summer paper doll post. I wanted to make Amaryllis’ shoes neutral enough that she could wear them with other outfits in case she wanted to borrow some evening gowns from another paper doll or felt like rocking some jeans. 🙂

One last thing, the latest drawing is still open. Consider entering if you like. 🙂

Pixie Paper Doll In Jewel Tones Named Clarisa

jewel-tones-logoThis is a more wintery than summery paper doll, I think. Clarisa is a version of the German name “Clarice” which means bright, brilliant or clear. Clarisa is the Spanish form of this name. I think it’s a beautiful name for today’s Hispanic paper doll.

Lately, I have been struggling on the blog. The hardest thing for me to learn how to deal with in the last year has been this:

Life is Not Ideal. Deal with It.

Though it might not be the most stirring life motto, I find I need it more and more. Every post isn’t going to ever be perfect. Every paper doll isn’t going to be perfect.

And maybe that is quite all right.

I started this blog, because I drew paper dolls and I thought it would be worth it to have an outlet for that art. I have to learn to accept that everything isn’t always ideal.

So, I might have concerns about the lace and how it turned out. I might have concerns about her lips. I might not really be pleased entirely with everything… I might have wanted to post a different series after last weeks Pixie paper doll…

But… life is not ideal. Deal with it.

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In my head, Clarisa is a Hispanic paper doll or Latino, if you prefer. Why? Because I was chatting with a friend whose half-Mexican, and she was complaining about how I didn’t do enough Hispanic paper dolls. So, this is for her. 🙂

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Originally I conceived Clarisa as being on her way to some sort of party- maybe a holiday party, but that was several months ago when I first drew this paper doll. Obviously, a hoiliday party is less likely in May, at least not one where such dark clothing would be appropriate.

Sporty Pixie named Adannaya

sporty-logoLike Jaunty Summer Styles and Minimalism, today’s printable paper doll was the direct result of me purchasing a bunch of fashion magazines in March. Adannaya is rocking the “sporty” look which is very popular. Sort of high fashion meets gym wear and if that seems like an odd match to you then you are not alone (it seems an odd match to me too). Her hair is based on this fantastic updo which I pinned to my hair board on Pinterest. Lurking around my Pinterest boards provides sneak peaks on what I am currently obsessed with. Feel free to follow me.

 

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Anyway, the name Adannaya is from West Africa, Igbo to be specific, and means “Her Father’s daughter” according to Behind the Name. I’m sure I’ve never used the name before. I liked that I could track it to a specific culture. I think calling a name “African” is just as absurd as calling a name “European”. There are about a hundred major African languages, so I wasn’t going to use a name if I couldn’t trace it back to the root language. For Adannaya the root language is is Igbo, mostly spoken in southeastern Nigeria. Someone who knows more than me about the region would know if it was a common name or not, I have no idea, but I liked how it sounded.

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Anyhow, I’m traveling today, so I’ve pre-scheduled this to rule in my absence. I’ve nearly worked my way through my backlog that I spent so much of February and March building. I suppose this means I’ll be drawing a fair bit over the next few weeks trying to get caught up again. What I really need is another snow closing… but I doubt that’s going to happen. 🙂

Regency Pixies and Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen

logo-regency Today, in honor of Han Christian Andersen who was born in 1805, we have two regency pixies and their wardrobe. This is the last big Pixie set for a while, though I do have some one page Pixie paper dolls in the works that I am looking forward to sharing. I don’t think I’ll do another multipage set for a while. They are a lot of work.

Theses paper doll’s dresses are from about 1800 to about 1815, or so. The latest one being the morning dress with the neck ruff looking thing for Lydia (or Emma, either doll can wear the dresses) which was popular for a while though I find the style a little absurd, myself.


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There is a tendency to make everything in this period white, as that’s what fashion plates usually show, but women aren’t stupid and there are plenty of dark fabrics with prints that were popular for day dresses. They don’t show stains as much as white (does anything show stains as much as white?) and they could go longer between washingings. There’s also a tendency to talk about women being out of corsets. This was sort of true, but as anyone with boobs can tell you, having no support is darn painful.

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Since bonnets were going to be featured in this set (and I do confess I’m not very good at drawing bonnets), I knew I had to keep both of the paper dolls hair close to their heads. Lydia, above, has a braid and Emma, also above, just has her hair pulled back somehow. I imagine it in a neat bun, but whatever.

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It was important to me to give these dolls some clothes, so I decided to do a separate sheet for their dresses. After all, one dress hardly makes a very fun paper doll. So, here is a riding habit, a few day dresses, a ballgown and one of the cropped spencer jackets which I’ve always liked. As for other regency paper dolls, there’s always Flora of the Regency, and two Marisole Monday & Friends sets- Empire Elegance and Regency Romance.

Thoughts? Do the Pixies need more historic outfits?

Steampunk Pixie in Pink named Shirin

shirin-logoThings to say about today’s printable paper doll… It is my first Pixie paper doll in a while. She’s two pages and has a distinctly steampunk inspired wardrobe. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember the sketchbook post back in April of 2013 when I showed off the inked version of this set.

Wow… this was a long time coming, wasn’t it?

Shirin, in my continuing search for names I haven’t used ever, is a Persian name meaning “sweet”. Continuing the theme, her coloring is based on the Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi, except with really curly hair, because I love curly hair and I’m trying to practice drawing it. You can expect to see more curly hair in the future on the blog.

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Oh, and her clothing has nothing to do with Persia. I tried to think of a connection after I decided to base her coloring on Nazanin Boniadi, but I don’t have one as her clothing is distinctly Western without a hint of influence from the Middle East and is mostly based on the clothing of young men in the early 20th century.

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Oh, and as sometimes happens when I saved these images for the web, Photoshop did odd things to the colors. I recommend looking at the PDF version of Shirin and Shirin’s Wardrobe to see what I really intended the color scheme to look like. Partly this was a challenge to do a steampunkish set without the color brown. Harder than it looks, actually… because the line between goth and steampunk is often one of color, not design. That, however, is a whole different discussion for another day.

Delaney… A Little Bit Sweet and a Little Bit Punk

delaney-logoI have to confess that it is getting harder to name these paper dolls. I nearly called this doll Zoe, before I remembered I’ve already done a Zoe (and we won’t talk about the three different Flora paper dolls problem), so I have been trying to come up unique names that I’m certain I haven’t repeated. Hence the Delaney choice.

Delaney’s style is a little punk and a little sweet. I have been noticing more of this look around lately and I thought it was worth exploring. I didn’t draw her really any accessories and I’m kinda regretting that now. I think she needs some… oh well, sometimes that’s how it goes. I’m also thinking I really should have made her lips pink rather than that bright red… anyway, not every paper doll is perfect.

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Since I was feeling a little rockabilly with these pieces, I decided to go with a sort of sweet color scheme of pale blue, pink, light green and white. I wanted to contrast the content of the skull prints against the colors of the outfits. My favorite piece might be her punk combat boots. Everyone needs bright pink combat boots.

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Weather in Alabama has been crazy. It took me eight hours to get home from work on Tuesday afternoon. My work has been closed for two days. There’s snow on the ground and ice and things are insane. Stay warm, dry and safe everyone.