Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on the historical period of 1880s in black and white or in color Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

A Paper Doll And Her Full Color Ball Gowns to Print

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with ballgowns inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita styles As I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these dresses are based on Wa lolita and Qi lolita fashions. I really find fusions of different cultures fashions fascinating, plus sometimes drawing absurd dresses make me happy and Mia doesn’t get as much love as I think she should.

When I draw in black and white, I sometimes dread coloring, especially when the coloring means hyper detailed patterns like those in today’s paper doll. I’ve been doing more playing with color and pattern lately. I like patterns, but they are a lot of work. Even though I usually just draw one motif and use Photoshop to manipulate it on each dress. The size of these pattern motifs made their placement on the dresses important. Though I wanted it to feel organic, I also wanted the detail of the complex patterns to shine through.

No point in drawing complex things if no one can appreciate them, after all. In my mind, that’s like sewing a fantastic wardrobe for an ugly doll… why bother?


Asian paper doll to print with two ballgowns based Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita styles

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I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Everytime I reference kimono, I am reminded of the fantastic posts on Liana’s Paper Doll Blog about Japanese dress. She’s far more an expert of this topic than I.

Personally, I thought it was very a beautiful kimono and I really liked the color combination. What looks black isn’t actually black, it is a very dark purple-red color. I used the same color for her hair. I like doing that, because I think a color scheme should be about making a harmonious set.

Every set should be a complete work, rather than just a collection of clothing pieces and should be able to stand alone, even if it is part of a larger collection of paper dolls.

Black and White Paper Doll With Wa and Qi Lolita Inspired Ballgowns

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with ballgowns inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita styles Today, we have a pair of ballgowns which were heavily influenced by wa lolita and qi lolita fashion styles. I showed off the rough sketches last Monday. Wa lolita and qi lolita are substyles of the Japanese street style lolita. F Yeah Lolita (a blog I have come to rather enjoy reading) discusses lolita in detail, but I actually think the wikipedia article is nice for people who know nothing about it.

Anyway, both wa lolita (infulenced by Japanese traditional dress) and qi lolita (influenced by Chinese traditional dress) are styles I think are fascinating, because cultural fusion always interests me. However, I try to be careful about how I borrow from cultures which are not my own, because I am very aware of the problematic and complicated issues of cultural appropriation which underlie children’s toys and visual representations of culture. I could ramble on about that topic until… well, for a every long time… but I figure most people are really here for the paper dolls, so I’ll restrain myself.


Asian paper doll to print with two ballgowns based Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita styles

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A few of my ideas came from this dress by FanplusFreind and this dress, also by FanplusFriend. I first discovered qi lolita through this dress which is actually a doll’s dress. The shoes are just sort of random inventions, though the ones on the right with the stockings were influenced by rocking horse shoes which are pretty cool (though maybe hard to walk in… I don’t know, I’ve never worn them.)

I can’t wait to share these in color next week, though I openly confess the pattern on the left dress is giving me fits. Every-time I do a complicated pattern, I swear I will never do it again and then… well… I do it again. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

Oh, and before I forget, the fast of Ramadan officially ends this evening I think, so Happy Eid al-Fitr to any of my readers who are Muslim. I don’t know much about Ramadan, but the mosque by my apartment has been busier than usual this month.

Viola, A Paper Doll to Print from the 1890s

We’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.)


Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and whiteViola's wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in black and white{Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PDF to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Download a PNG to Print and Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Click Here for More Pixie and Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

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.

Viola, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full colorViola's Wardrobe, a printable paper doll from the 1890s in full color
{Download a PDF to Print in Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PNG to Print in Color of the Paper Doll} {Download a PDF to Print in Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Download a PNG to Print in Color of the Paper Doll’s Clothes} {Click Here for More Pixie and Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

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.

Regency Pixies and Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen

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 dreses) which was popular for a while though I find the style a little absurd, myself.


{Click Here for a PDF of Emma in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Emma in Color} {Click Here for a PDF of Emma to Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Emma to Color}

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.

{Click Here for a PDF of Lydia in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Lydia in Color} {Click Here for a PDF of Lydia to Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Lydia to Color}

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.

{Click Here for a PDF of Regency Gowns in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Regency Gowns in Color} {Click Here for a PDF of Regency Gowns to Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Regency Gowns to Color}{More Paper Dolls from this Series}

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?

Marisole Vintage Evening Gowns In Colors…

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll Last week, I posted this paper doll set in black and white for coloring. I promised I would talk a little about each of the gowns and where they came from.

I need to learn to streamline my method for dealing with elaborate florals, or I need to never do one ever again. Normally coloring a paper doll set takes about 2 to 4 hours, at most. Sometimes longer, but only if I take a lot of breaks and am doing a lot of other stuff. If I have my colors picked out and I’m on a roll, I can do the set in about an hour when I’m really on the ball, though formatting, saving and other detail work takes longer. That single floral dress took me nearly an hour, by itself, to color. NEVER AGAIN.

(I say that and I’m already thinking of other cool florals I might draw… I have a problem, people.)

Okay, so here’s the paper doll in full color:


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll
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Let’s talk about where each gown came from. The floral gown, the blue gown and the red gown are all from the V&A in London.

The blue gown is based on this red dress from 1957. The red evening dress was drawn from this evening gown by Hardy Amies was made right after fabric rationing was lifted in England (1949), so lacks the layers of lace and silk that were common in evening gowns on this period. I love the simplicity and shape of the dress. The last dress from the V&A is my favorite, the floral evening gown made in Paris and worn by the wife of the British Ambassador. I tried, but I don’t think I captured the beauty of the rose patterned skirt and layered bodice.

The last pink dress comes from The Met, known as “Tree” this gown was designed by Charles James. Of all of the gowns I drew, I feel like this one didn’t work. My style of flat color just can’t capture the layering of the gowns beautiful fabric. Liana did a beautiful version of Charles james Butterfly dress on her blog several years ago which I think captures his work better than I did here.

Okay, that’s everything. Happy MLK Day to those in the US who are celebrating like me.

Marisole Mondy & Friends: A Set of Black and White Printable Paper Dolls

First of all… More Black and White Marisole Monday & Friends printable paper dolls (but you’ll need to scroll down…)

Secondly, Check out the new layout. It is still in progress and I’m still messing with it a fair bit, but I have high hopes for eventual success with it.

What happened was that I updated my version of WordPress and updated my old theme. Well.. that messed up the formatting and I decided that the right thing to do was finally bite the bullet and redo the entire thing. So, the blog looked schizophrenic for a few days while I tried out new and different themes. Right now, the theme is Mantra and I can only say good things about it. I judge a theme on how much of the CSS I have to rewrite myself and with Mantra the answer has been… shockingly little. Just a few small tweaks to the code. All in all, a very nice and clean theme.

Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about the new layout, so feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

As for today’s printable paper dolls… I’m posting some more previously colored Marisole’s in black and white. I think they look charming. They’re all very modern though some of them are two years old.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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Well, I did a series of seasonal paper dolls- or at least I thought seriously about it- and this one was for Autumn. You can see the Autumn Chic in color and I forgot to give her a background pattern, though I’ve fixed that in my black and white version. Paper dolls without backgrounds just look so sad and empty to me.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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Being someone who loves alliteration, I called this paper doll set Candy Coated Couture, which made more sense when she was full color. I think she’s a great example of the importance of mixing neutrals into a colorful scheme to increase mix and match clothing options. Plus did I mention that I love most of her clothing? Now that she’s available in black and white and I think she’s just as cute.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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So, now Mia is getting into the act. Here she is off to prom or maybe some sort of red carpet event. I never wear an evening gown in the real world, but paper dolls aren’t meant for the real world, are they? Enchanting Evening in full color is another paper doll where I forgot to put in a background image. It bothers me, though not enough to fix it. I should really fix the apstorphe in Streets of China first… that’s the one that really gets to me.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new theme and check back later this week. There will be another update. I’m not sure when yet… but it is going to happen.

Pixie & Puck: Jacqueline in Colors…


{Click Here for a PDF of Jacqueline: Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Jacqueline: Black and White} {Click Here for a PDF of Jacqueline: Spring Time} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Jacqueline: Spring Time}


{Click Here for a PDF of Jacqueline: Winter’s Day} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Jacqueline: Winter’s Day} {Click Here for a PDF of Jacqueline: Brights} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Jacqueline: Brights}

Clearly, I got bored last weekend and decided that what I needed to do was color a paper doll set in three different color schemes, because I couldn’t make up my mind.

Actually, there was a fourth color scheme, but it looked bad and didn’t get as far as being posted.

I think I might have a problem. I can’t keep doing this with Pixie paper dolls, because it’s darn time consuming and yet… I wonder what she’s look like in a red and blue color scheme? See… this is why I have a problem.

So, I put up a Terms of Use statement recently. The truth is that I probably should have done it a while ago, but sometimes I forget that I’m not talking to myself when I write on this blog. So, none of the terms on it are really different than they ever have been, but I think it clarifies a few things. As always, if you have any questions about anything, feel free to email me. I check my email every most days. I’m working on recoding the FAQ page as well.

New Full Color Printable Paper Doll Named Madison

Madison- Full Color Asian Paper Doll

{A Full Set Printable PDF of the Madison Paper Dolls}{PNG file of Page One}{PNG files of Page Two}{PNG files of Page Three}

I don’t have very many Asian paper dolls, partly because it took a long time before I was comfortable drawing epicanthic folds, which are a characteristic of many East and Central Asian people, though are by no means exclusive to those groups. There is a huge variety the shape of the epicanthic fold and I never felt like it looked right until I got to grad school and ended up sitting across from a Chinese student for an entire semester. I don’t know what she did to stay awake, but what I did was use her as a model for my first Asian Pixie paper doll, named Zoe. Of course, she didn’t have blue hair or such a huge head, but I digress.

So, the Poll is over, since January is done and a child paper doll won to my own astonishment. So, I’ll get on that. In the mean time, enjoy Madison.

Marisole Monday: In the Mid-1860s… Full Color

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Here we are today with the colored version of last Monday’s post. Color for historical garments is complicated, because colors are very much a matter of taste and a matter of time. Just as the avocado and burnt orange polyester shirts of the 1970’s seem dated to us today, the colors of the past are rarely how we imagine them to be. I always picture the Victorians in tones of sepia, not because that was what they wore, but because I always see sepia photographs. I once had a professor point out that the way we picture the past has little to do with how the past actually was, but I enjoy my fantasies of the past as much as the next person.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll {Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for the rest of this series}

For this set of paper dolls, I chose to use colors from reproduction quilting cottons as a basis for the garment. They turned out to be a little muddier than perhaps I would have chosen on my own, but I wanted something different than the oranges, blue, pink, and green combination of colors I find myself most often drawn too. The ballgown in pink and black is based on the fashion plate which I drew it from, though I made a slightly darker version of the original.

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I’ll confess openly that I’m not entirely pleased with how some of these came out in color. I went muted and I think that was the right call, but I’m not sure that I didn’t lose some of the lusciousness and the vibrancy of the era. They also came out less romantic than I had hoped they would be. I do think Margot is awfully cute with her freckles and red hair (yes, I do have a weird thing for redheads). In truth, I am pleased with both the dolls. I think Marisole is a warm brown this time and I like how Margot came out. All in all, though I had some second thoughts about drawing a new face for Marisole, I am pleased with Margot and I think she’ll show up a bit more around the blog.

On an unrelated note, child paper dolls have pulled into the lead in the polling… a fact which I am very much surprised by.

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