A Patriotic Ballgown for July to Color and Cut Out

A rococo inspired fantasy paper doll princess gown with wig to print, color and cut out from paperthinpersonas.com.

Black and White Paper Doll PDF Paper Doll Collaboration 2018
For July, we chose a patriotic/colonial theme for the paper doll collaboration between Julie, Missy and I. I really love over the top roccoco inspired gowns as you may have already guessed from this paper doll and this paper doll and this paper doll and this paper doll. And that’s not even all of the ones I’ve ever drawn, it’s just a few of my favorites.

So, today’s foray into the genre, I wanted something that could be patriotic (if you colored it in red, white and blue) for the July 4th Holiday in the USA, where I live. But since I know not all my readers are from the USA, I also wanted it to be a gown that could be celestial if you preferred. I think in purples, blacks and blues this gown could become something for the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s Magic Flute, for example. I could also see it in red, white, black and gold and have a circus theme. The possibilities are really endless. 

One the things I love about playing with color (and one of the reasons I so often do extra color schemes) is that I love how much changing the color can really dramatically change the look and feel of a single paper doll gown. I like to play with color (and I love color), so that’s a big part of why I do that. 

If you want to see more of the collaborative paper doll fashions, check out Paper Doll School and Miss Missy Paper Dolls my partners in this adventure. They’ve been such inspiring and good sports about the whole thing. We’re just over six months in and I couldn’t be happier at how the whole thing has gone. 

Need a paper doll to wear these clothes? Grab her and more clothing here.

A Paper Doll Robe à la Française from 1770

An 18th century paper doll dress based on a 1770 Robe à la Française with a hat and matching shoes in black and white or color.

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Since yesterday, I shared Alice in her 18th century undies, it seemed only fitting to share an 18th century paper doll dress today. 

In the 18th century, there were two major dress styles (along with countless variations, but these are the two biggies). They were the Robe à la Française and the Robe à l’Anglaise. Both styles consisted of an open robe with a petticoat. The stomacher, used to fill in the upper part of the robe, and petticoat could either match the dress or be in a contrasting style. The two styles are distinguished by the backs of the dresses. The Robe à la Française has pleats in the back that fall loose from the shoulders (see this example) while the Robe à l’Anglaise has those pleats stitched down into a more fitted style (see this example). The Robe à la Française was also called the a sack back or sacque back gown.

As fashion tends to do, the Robe à la Française began it’s early existence as an informal lose garment and became increasingly complex as the years went on. Today’s 18th century paper doll dress is a Robe à la Française based on this example from the Met Museum circa 1770. The original is made from scrumptious white on white imported Chinese silk. But, given the constraints of my art style, I decided to go with a rich deep red instead for today’s 18th century paper doll dress.

The hat is earlier than the dress dating from 1760. It is based on this one. Her shoes, or mules, are based on this pair from LACMA. Those wooden soles look really uncomfortable to me. I have no idea if it was at all likely to have your garters match your shoes, but since I could I thought, ‘why not?’

This gown is designed to fit over 18th Century Alice’s underwear and hoops. I would recommend adding a floating tab to the back of the skirt if needed, as it is very wide.

There’s a blue based color scheme for my Patreons on the Patreon page.

Need a doll to wear today’s paper doll clothing? All the A Pose Dolls & Clothing

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a Paper Doll Dress to Print

A beautiful Valentine's Day paper doll dress inspired by the 18th century with a full skirt and puffed sleeves. Available in color or black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since the Dames & Dandies are a new series, one of my goals is to try to get a paper doll outfit done for the holidays. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when I was a child, my grandmother would send us holiday cards with paper dolls in them all the time. Here is a scan of one, I remember getting. I’m sure it says something about me that I can remember that card after 20 something years.

Anyhow, I love drawing over the top heart covered gowns for Valentine’s Day paper dolls. So, it wasn’t hard to decide to draw this one. I’ve been working on an 18th century paper doll with period underwear, so I thought I would design a dress that could go over the set of hoops. That’s how we ended up with this over the top rococo influenced Valentine’s Day paper doll dress.

By the way, I have no idea when that 18th century doll will be done. So, don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone has an amazing Valentine’s Day!

Need a Doll to wear today’s outfit? All the A Pose Dolls & Clothing

A Fiddlehead Fern Inspired Suit for a Paper Doll Prince

A suit inspired by the 18th century and the fiddlehead fern for a paper doll prince. Free to print in color or black and white and the perfect accompaniment for any paper doll princess.

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I grew up in Alaska. And if there is one thing that is true about Southeast Alaska, it is a super green place. There’s so many trees and foliage and moss. It’s as though the whole forest is shades of green.

Among all these mounds of different green things, there were many ferns. I grew up referring to most of the ferns as fiddlehead ferns, only to learn recently that there are several species that have that common name.

The “fiddlehead” of the fern is the coiled part that develops as the fern is growing.

I wanted to design a men’s suit to go with all the floral theme, but I couldn’t think of a masculine flower. So, instead I found myself reminded that the top a fiddlehead fern looks a bit like the top of a cane.

Once that occurred to me, today’s 18th century inspired men’s suit for a paper doll prince was born. It’ll fit the C Pose paper dolls, FYI.

Yeah, I confess my brain works in strange ways sometimes.

The fiddlhead ferns trim his cutway coat, decorate the cane and his crown. Full blooming ferns decorate the sleeves. The shapes on the edges of fern leaves echo the trim on the vest. The colors of ferns inspired the green color scheme.

I mean, I could hardly make a “fiddlehead fern suit” and then turn it bright red.

Also, I should add, that fiddleheads are edible and are quite tasty sautéd with butter and garlic. On the other hand, what isn’t tasty sautéd with butter and garlic? I think I would eat shoe leather if it was covered in enough butter and garlic.

I digress.

This suit was designed, of course, for the C Pose dandies and goes with yesterday’s lily ball gown. I don’t draw a lot of prince paper doll clothing, so I had fun designing this suit and crown for a paper doll prince, or king, I suppose.

Need a a Doll to wear today’s clothing? All the C Pose Dolls & Clothing

Poppet Printable Paper Doll’s Little Miss Muffet Costume


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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations:Little Miss Muffet and Kate Greenaway

An late 18th century inspired Little Miss Muffet costume in pink and cream with grey shoes for the Poppet's printable paper doll series from paperthinpersonas.com.

An late 18th century inspired Little Miss Muffet costume to color and play with for the Poppet's printable paper doll series from paperthinpersonas.com.

Today’s Poppet paper doll dress is a Little Miss Muffet costume. In case anyone doesn’t remember the nursery rhyme, it goes like this:

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

So, I did a little research on the rhyme. It turns out that its origins are unclear (not uncommon in nursery rhymes) and it was first published in 1805. The truth is that you will sing ANYTHING to a baby to get it to stop crying (trust me, I know) which means many nursery songs have their origins in popular or political ballads.

When designing today’s Little Miss Muffet costume, I wanted something that was colored with cream accents, rather than cream with colored accents. I was inspired by Kate Greenaway‘s illustrations, but only in the sense that I like her work and always tend to think of it when I start drawing late 18th century inspired children’s clothing.

Okay, I know the rhyme involves a spider, but I am not a big fan of spiders and I was not about to draw one. Deal with it. Instead I made a bowl of curds and whey, which is a dish I’ve never eaten or really know anyone who has eaten.

Have any of you, fair readers, actually eaten it? I know it’s a dairy dish, since curds and whey are both part of the cheese making process.

Her shoes are pretty classic 18th century style (you can see a bunch more like them on my 18th Century Clothing Pinterest Board). She also has a mob-cap which may or may not fit depending on which Poppet doll you put it on.

You can check out my Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes board on Pinterest to see some more of my inspirational images and, of course, you can check out the rest of the Fairy Tale and Nursery Rhyme series for more fairy tale and nursery rhyme inspired paper dolls and outfits.

Need a paper doll to wear today’s outfit? Pick a Poppet Paper Doll Here.

Calash Bonnets & Chemise a la Reine: Late 18th Century Paper Doll Dresses


logo-late-18th-centLate 18th Century gowns before the waist begin to rise at the turn of the century are often defined by simpler lines. You can see in some of them the beginings of the aesthetic and gave rise to the Greek inspired looks of the Empire period in France and the Regency period in England.

Working left to right, as is my usual practice, she has a caraco jacket with a peticoat based on this caraco and quilted petticoat from the Museum of Antwerp and this outfit circa 1785-1790 from the V&A.

The middle dress is based on a robe à l’anglaise from the Kyoto Costume Institute that is dated to the 1780s. I have seen very few other examples of this style of gown in museums, though I would be curious to know how wide spread the style was. The belt is particularly distinct in these gowns and I can only recall having seen one other.

On the far right,there is a gaulle, or chemise a la reine. This radical style was introduced by Marie Antoinette in the early 1780s. I based my version of this iconic garment off a portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife from 1788. To understand the shock such a garment would have induced in the 18th century, consider the reaction people might have if the First Lady of the US suddenly started talking around in her bra and panties in public, rather than chic clothing. Never the less, as is often the case with fashion, the simple lines of the gown caught on and it wasn’t long before all sorts of women were being painted in elegant and simple versions of the chemise a la reine. In fact, this gown could be seen as a direct predecessor to the simpler styles of the Regency and Empire periods. Very few of these gowns seem to have survived from the 18th century, but here is one example from the Manchester Art Gallery.

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There are two distinct hats to go with today’s paper doll gowns. The first hat is a formal hat and comes from a portrait of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard from 1785 held at the Met. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was an accomplished female painter in 18th century France. She was inducted into the French Académie Royale in 1783. Also, she clearly had excellent taste in hats.

The other hat is what was called a Calash. Calashes were a type of bonnet that was boned and could fold down for storage (and also was tall enough to get over the crazy high hairstyles of the century.) Calashes can be found easily in museums. Here are a few examples of them- one, two, three from the Met and one from the MFA in Boston. The Calash isn’t just an 18th century thing, either, these bonnets can be found in the 19th century as well.

The shoes are fairly standard 18th century style and aren’t based on anything specifically. I just thought my three paper dolls might need another pair of shoes.

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The color selections were all dictated by the original garments colors, except for the caraco jacket ensemble on the left. The one I wanted to do in warm autumnal colors since the chemise a la reine always seems a summer or spring sort of style to me.

This brings us to the end of this little series. If you missed any, check out the entire 18th Century Pixie series.

Hope: A Late 18th Century Paper Doll Set

logo-hope-1700sHope is based on the styles at the end of the 18th century. So, something major happened around the 1789 in France. It was, for those who weren’t asleep in high school history class, the French Revolution. To say that “everthing changed” wouldn’t be an understatement and the ripples of the events in France spread across Europe in dramatic ways. It is tempting when looking at the end of the 18th century to simply assume that after 1789 everyone just jumped into Empire styles and that was the end of it, but the reality is that there was a very slow evolution to the high waisted gowns we think of as “empire” or “Regency” dress.

So, I was less interested in worrying about the Empire look and much more interested in the every transitional styles that are easily forgotten and often ignored.

This all brings us rather neatly to Hope. Hope is our paper doll model for the later part of the 1700s. Her dresses will never get up the high waisted styles that characterized the transition into Empire. Rather, I think of her as being a woman of means right before everything gets radicalized. And, for her sake, let us assume she lives in England which was always behind on the fashions a bit anyway and a much safer place to be than France at the end of the 18th century. They don’t call it the Reign of Terror for nothing, after all.

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Hope’s hair is done up in a style known as coiffure à l’enfant. This was a style popularized by Marie-Antoinette in the early 1780s. The style is a frizzy halo of hair with several longer strands curled, braided or left straight. Here is a portrait that shows off the hair style from the Met and here is a fashion plate featuring it from the V&A. I have to confess that I am not totally pleased with her hair. I fear that it looks a little bit too “mad scientist” for my comfort.

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Moving away from her hair for a moment, Hope has undergarments, of course, and then a gown known as a Redingote. Redingote’s started their lives as actual riding coats, but eventually transformed into women’s gowns which were coat like and then cut away to reveal the petticoat underneath. The word “redingote” is believed to be a French transliteration of the English term “riding coat”. Hope’s redingote was based on this gown from LACMA circa 1790. The term “redingote” sticks around into the early 20th century as a term of long coats.

Her hat is from this hat from the MINT circa 1770. Her shoes are based on this pair from the Met from 1780. Her muff and her mitts are both from Colonial Williamsburg.

I think that’s all the sources I need to list for Hope. I might have forgotten something, but I think that’s everything. Next Friday, there will be the last set of outfits for the 18th Century Pixie Series all from the later part of the 18th century.

Round Gown, Court Gowns and a Caraco Jacket: 18th Century Paper Doll Dresses

logo-18th-cent-3Four more 18th century dresses for the Pixie paper dolls today. So, by now I think I’ve already covered the various sorts of gowns women wore in the 18th century with a fair bit of detail.

On the left, we have a caraco jacket and a square hooped court gown. The caraco jacket was inspired by this gown from LACMA. The court gown was based on this gown in style and this gown in color scheme. Square hooped court gowns like this one were the most formal of a ladies wardrobe and, like court gowns generally seem too, stayed in style even after square hoops were disappearing else where.

Moving to the right, we have a dress based on this gown from the MFA in Boston and a round gown from the Met. Round gowns were the least formal of all these gowns.

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Most of my color choices here came from the source gowns above. My favorite of the gowns, the caraco jacket with petticoat on the upper-left was the most painful to color. Those detailed floral patterns get my every time, but I just love the way they look. There is something about 18th century sprawling viney florals that I can’t get enough of. Even in my own house, I have an apron in that style of pattern that I wear while baking and simply adore.

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I should say, I think, word about her hat. There are small dotted lines along the outside edges of the ribbon and you will need to clip those if she is going to wear her hat, as well as cut out the white area. That is best done with a sharp blade, like an exacto knife. I don’t usually use an exacto knife in my paper doll cutting (I am clumsy with those things), but for some things it really is the most effective option.

If you’ve missed any parts of the 18th Century Pixie Series, they all can be found here.

Polinanise and Stomachers: 18th Century Gowns for Paper Dolls

logo-18th-cent-2In my first page of gowns for my 18th century paper doll series, I talked a lot about different styles of gowns. I did not, however, talk about stomachers. So, a stomacher was a triangular shaped piece of cloth that was pinned or sewn in place to fill in the bodice of gowns. Most gowns had either an actual separate stomacher or something that looked like a stomacher. In today’s collection of gowns, they all have stomachers, except the polianse gown which is front fastening.

On the left side, the first gown is a polinase style based on this gown at the V&A. The lower gown was my rather poor attempt at capturing looped silk fringe which was very much in style in the 18th century. I believe this was the gown I started from, but I’m not totally pleased with the resulting outcome.

The first gown on the right was my attempt at the caraco jacket sort of garment with a stomacher. This example from the Met is a similar style. The gown on the bottom-right is based on this gown where the stomacher extends below the closure of the coat like bodice.

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When it came time to color these gowns, I knew I was going to color the polinase gown the same way as the source gown which made things quite simple. The gown below it was inspired by the green in the stripes of the original. I chose brown for the top right gown to match the more casual nature of the caraco jacket style. While the bottom right gown is based a vibrantly colored gown, I chose a white and pastel gown from the 1770s as my color inspiration.

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The two different sized caps on the page are needed to accommodate the difference in hairstyles between Joy and Faith. There will be a third Pixie doll for this series, but she won’t be up for a while. After this there is another page of gowns, I think. I have four pages of gowns and three pages of dolls, so you can see there’s a little bit of a challenge as far as going doll, gowns, doll…

If you’ve missed any of this collection, here’s the 18th century Pixie series thus far.

Joy: An 18th Century Historical Paper Doll Set

logo-joy-1700sToday’s 18th century paper dolls is my second of three. Joy, all of these paper dolls will have virtue names, is from between the 1760s though 1780s. She has underwear and a gown in the polonaise style. Poloniase gowns had a skirt that is raised up and bunched over the petticoat. Usually a gown could be worn either with the skirt looped up in the polonaise or with the skirt down- offering some versatility to the 18th century silhouette. The polonaise gown sticks around into the 19th century and is sometimes mistaken for a bustle.

Joy’s gown was based on this pink silk gown circa 1770-1780 housed at the LACMA. Her shoes are based on this fashion plate from 1778. Her undergarments are based off a set held by the V&A museum dated to 1778.

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As with the rest of this series, I based her color scheme off my 18th century color pallet which I introduced in the first part of this series. After seeing this gown from MFA in Boston I knew I wanted to do something in a rich red color. Despite myself, I tend to think of the 18th century as being muted in colors, but nothing could be further from the truth.

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It has been so much fun to share this paper doll series over the last few weeks. We have four more pages with one more doll and three more sets of gowns. The whole collection, so far, can be seen here.

Since we’re talking the 18th century, I thought I would call attention to a cool project I discovered this week. The University of Michigan has begun to translate and make available online the Encyclopédie edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert in the 18th century. The section of primary interest to those of us obsessed with dress is the plates on the Tailor of Suits and Bodices, but I’ve used the Encyclopédie to show students furniture manufacture and paper making circa 1790. I love this book and can get lost in it for hours.