Today’s paper doll costume is based off an 1872 dress housed in the V&A Museum which has a fantastic costume collection. I first saw the dress in a book describing it as a yachting costume which is not, I found out later, how the V&A describes it. I’m still calling it a yachting costume. After I saw it on the paper doll, I realized it should have been a bit shorter. Oh well.
I must confess I am getting a little weary of Florence. I have been drawing for her for over a year and a half. While I like the early 1870’s, I find my patience with the costumes is slipping. The stripes are much sloppier on this dress then they should have been and the bustle is awkwardly shaped. The paper doll has 22 dresses at the moment, not including hats and underwear. I have a list of paper doll dresses I still want to draw for her, but I worry I’m not really that interested in drawing them.
Of course, I have nothing to replace Florence with, so I guess for the time being she’ll continue. Still, I’m curious- If my readers could pick out an era to have a paper doll devoted too, which era would they choose? I might make a poll, but for now it’s just a casual inquiry.
In case you missed the first post of this long running series, here is Florence, the paper doll whose wearing this dress yachting.
So, there are a few scheduling changes happening which are explained over on the About Pages. Mostly, just me explaining how thing actually are working vs. how I thought things would work eight months ago when I started this mad crazy thing up after the site collapse. Oh, the adventures of a website owner.
Somedays, I love my scanner/printer thing. It does what I ask it. It doesn’t complain. It fills my heart with joy and happiness and then there are they days when it refuses to scan, scans at an angle or simply does weird and mystical things as though it were possessed. Outside of striking it with incense and casting out the demons, I have no idea what to do about it and I don’t plan on using the incense solution. Today was one of those days, but eventually the stars aligned properly and I got a scan to turn into a printable paper doll.
Despite by frustration with the scanner, or perhaps because of it, I’m just not pleased with this paper doll dress. I don’t like the fringe even though it is very very period and I don’t really like the folds of the bustle and I’m not pleased with the train and… Yeah, I could go on and on. I do think when I feel like I’m on a time press, I let myself get sloppier then I like. Still, they can’t all be winners, right?
Today was full of errands and craziness and being late with my Friday Florence paper doll post. These things happen. My classes start on Monday and I am looking forward to it. I do love class, but it’s also a little scary as I inch towards graduation.
Afternoon dresses were worn when receiving guests in the afternoon. They weren’t worn out, so they didn’t need a hat, but since they could be worn as visiting dresses, I decided to include a hat as well. I loved the boots which are based on these wonderful shoes with lots of little straps that button up the leg. I’ve always really liked them. The dress is based on a real afternoon dress from the V&A Museum.
It’s so humid here, I feel as though I live in a pond, under water, fully dressed. Kinda makes me unhappy. On the flip side, I have a riding habit here. I have to confess I’ve only ridden a horse two times in my life and am sort of scared of them.
They are very large. Also, they always seem to be planning something.
However, riding was a typical and socially acceptable activity in the Victorian era and a good excuse to wear boots with tassels on them. Interestingly enough, riding habits were one of the only things Victorian women bought from tailors, not seamstresses. Partly because of this, they always have obviously masculine influences attached to them- hence the jacket and necktie.
Florence, who can wear this riding habit, can be found over here.
There’s an excellent article about croquet costumes from the Machester Art Gallery and it includes some wonderful Victorian croquet costumes including the dress in blue white and red I based Florence’s croquet dress off of though it dates from a bit later then the rest of her attire being from 1875-1878 which is after my usual 1875 cut off date. In the Manchester Art Galleries wonderful costume collection, there is an archery jacket from 1787 which is beautiful. I never realized archery was considered an acceptable female sport in England as early as that or that the Royal British Bowmen allowed women full membership with voting rights and a snazzy official uniform.
Maybe Florence needs an archery costume. I like to think she’s the sort of adventurous lady who would do well in archery. On the other hand, I already have a skating costume sketched and a riding habit for next week, so perhaps putting more on my plate is not an entirely wise idea.
The difference seems somewhat minor, but a matter of formality. Promenade costumes were to see and be seen in, walking costumes were for walking. I imagine the paper doll wearing this costume to go to do her shopping and today she has gone to the milliner to get her new hats.
Hats aren’t worn much anymore, unless you’re the Queen of England (whose hats I totally adore) or going to the races, hats mostly function as useful things for keeping heads warm and not much else. I’m not necessarily advocating the return to hats, but hats were crucial for any well dressed lady in the 1870’s. Fashion magazines, along with dresses, offered detailed advice on fashionable hats and hat styles- colors, feathers, ribbons and flowers to be worn by ladies of all ranks and ages. Hair styles and hats are tightly connected and often changed together.
Here is Florence, just in case you missed the first post in this series and need a doll to go with these paper clothes.
Inking paper dolls still terrifies me every time I start. Still, when I finally erase the pencil lines and the paper doll is sort of revealed, it is a magical kind of moment. I felt that way about this dress and these hats. I wasn’t sure if I liked it until I’d finally lost all the pencil.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. I think it turned out well. So, I seem to have come down on the “liking it” side of the spectrum. Never would have guessed that two hours ago.
Looking for the paper doll that goes with this outfit? Here she is.