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

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for the rest of this series}

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

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}

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.

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}

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.

Marisole Monday: In the Mid-1860s…

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}

I have no real excuse for the lateness of this post, except that I was traveling yesterday and somehow I didn’t get as much done on for the blog on my vacation as I usually do. Something about traveling always makes me feel a little drained when I finally return to wherever is home. I’ve lived in several states and it always seems to takes me a year before one of them becomes home. As much as I love Alabama with it’s rolling hills (they call them mountains, but being from Alaska, I can’t honestly call them mountains) and it’s clear blue skies, but returning to Alaska still feels like going home. I suspect, eventually, Birmingham will become more homelike.

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}

Moving onto paper doll related matters, away from rambles about travel, today’s set is much larger than any set of Marisole Monday paper dolls that I have ever done before. It was not supposed to originally be three pages, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to remove anything from the sets and therefore decided to keep everything together. The result was that I ended up with an extra page. The swimming shoes repeat because, once the dolls are colored, they will be the only thing that exposes skin and I know I don’t want to do the two paper dolls in the same skin-tone. The corset and drawers repeat, because I feel strongly that both dolls should get a set of underwear. The hoop-skirt doesn’t repeat, because it’s big and, frankly, going to be white.

As some of you might notice, the second paper doll with the freckles is a different face than the original Marisole. I have named her Margot and she’ll be showing up from time to time along with the Asian version of Marisole who I’ve always thought of as Mia, though I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that on the blog.

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}

All of these dresses are based on garments from the mid-1860s, hence the title. Something about being in Alabama has made me want to draw huge hoop skirts. Not normally my favorite period in fashion history, but it’s growing on me. I had an Addy doll when I was a child, but I honestly can not recall any exposure to real Southern History outside the standard Civil Rights stuff and a little on the Civil War. Strange how moving here has made me fascinated by all things Southern.

Pixie & Puck: Masquerade

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll {Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}

I showed this paper doll as a sketch about a month ago, the reality is that it can take a long time before a paper doll goes from sketch book to blog. Largely, because I tend to draw a lot for one doll, lose interest and move onto another, so the drawing always happens in fits and starts. I post on a schedule since I think it should be more even for the dolls and since it helps me not have long gaps in my posting. Plus inking is really boring, so I tend to do it in while I’m hanging out with people (who don’t mind chatting with me while I’m bent over a sketch book), watching TV or have an extra half an hour between classes and no homework to get caught up on. I have learned though that if I don’t keep up with my inking, I suddenly find myself with 15 pages to do and that always seems utterly overwhelming.

While these dresses have no real relation to historical costume, I did do a lot of reading up on the 18th Century for my Marisole paper dolls for the 4th of July and I used those books here too. Below I’ll talk about the books I used and why I used them and what I thought was helpful and not helpful about them- for paper dolling, I mean. This isn’t about academic costume research (though many of these books are good for that too). So, if you’d like to know my favorite 18th century fashion books, continue reading below.

More Below!

Pixie & Puck: Rosalita

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I’ve never really liked roses as a flower. I don’t buy them when I’m buying flowers, I’d rather have poppies or foxglove or tulips. But my grandfather grew roses and I remember learning how to prune them, so I have a certain soft spot for roses and I always will. I wanted to draw a formal paper doll, something fantasy based and a little over the top and roses seemed to fit the bill.

I am trying to get better at writing things for this blog. I’m a rather private person by nature and I don’t really like to expose myself even to people in the real world. Adding to that is the feeling that I really shouldn’t talk about my job (at which I spend about 20% of my waking life) and I can’t imagine my classes would be that thrilling and the only other thing I do a lot is play board games which also doesn’t seem ripe for discussion. Winning at Settlers of Catan four times in a row is hardly the stuff of interesting blog reading. (Though I do tend to build entire empires based on sheep and sheep alone, I am the queen of sheep.)

In short, I never know what to say. I am trying to get better and more comfortable and not put off writing something to the last minute. I am getting better at it. It’s just not my strength.

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