Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: 1930s Evening Gowns, Brooches and Strappy Shoes
Not every paper doll outfit I draw has some great origin story. Some are just the result of needing to draw something. Today’s printable paper doll evening dress I fear falls much more into that category than any other.
I will confess that after I drew the dress, I did end up thinking that it reminded me a little of 1930s evening gowns like this one and this one. There’s something so slinky about 1930’s bias cut evening wear. But I’ll admit that inspiration source is a bit of a stretch for today’s printable evening dress.
So, I created this gown at the same time to created several other Mini-Maiden paper doll sets. I was trying to create a diverse set of outfits, so I just felt like I “needed” a gown.
It feels a little strange trying to write about a gown that I don’t have much to say about. I suppose I could talk about the weather instead.
Alabama is in a drought. It has been hot and dry here, but it is finally getting cold. Actually, I broke out one of my fall cardigans today. Very exciting.
See, no much their either?
Well, not very paper doll dress post can be perfect and thrilling.
So, let’s start the week with a little Hip-Hop history.
(Wow, alliteration anyone?)
Hip-hop as a musical form is considered to have begun in New York City, in the impoverished, largely black, South Bronx during the mid-1970s. DJs, such as DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa, would play records at block parties where they discovered that people were far more interested in dancing to the “breaks” in the music than to the actual “music” and they developed techniques, such as playing the same record on both sides of a turn-table, to extend these musical “breaks.”
The first official hip-hop record to be released was in 1979, when Sugarhill Records released “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang.
The art of rapping, or speaking over music, is part of Hip-Hop music, but does not alone define the genre. See? I learned a new thing in my research.
All right, so my first hip-hop fashion foray is based on a this outfit worn by Rihana. Rihana has her own clothing line called River Island. These items are very very loosely based on some of those designs.
The blog has it’s own Twitter feed where you can hear all about what paper dolls I’m working on. I’ve also been trying out Instagram, but I’m struggling a little with it. And of course, there’s always Patreon where there are behind the scenes blog post regularly if you join up.
So, what do you think? How did I do on my foray into Hip-Hop fashions?
I love color. I have teal dining room chairs, after all and a red cabinet in my dining room that holds my larger serving dishes. My favorite sweater is lime green and very fuzzy. I call it the Mountain Dew sweater. The point I am trying to make is that if I have the choice between neutrals and a color- you can pretty much count on me picking out a color. And this helps explain why I decided to go so bright and rich with Marisole’s paper doll clothing.
Someone, I think it was Boots, remarked that she was picturing a lot of yellow and green. Well, she wasn’t wrong… Yellow and Green are definitely here. I wanted color in this paper doll set- the sort of vibrant colors I love in flowers when they are in full bloom. Of course, right now it’s cold and damp here in Alabama, but eventually it won’t be and then the bright colors of spring and summer with come.
And I can complain about the heat on this blog, thereby continuing my theme of never being happy about the weather. (Though I suppose this isn’t true, I do enjoy Spring in Alabama.)
One of my grand frustrations with Marisole’s pose is that you can’t actually layer a long sleeved top under a skirt and expect the skirt to stay on the doll, because of her right arm which is against her stomach. This is one of the annoyances that occurs to me when I am designing mix and match paper doll clothing for her and I want to do things that just won’t work.
I’d scrap the series and redraw, but it is uber hard to give up something that I’ve been doing for six years. There are about 240 Marisole Monday & Friend’s posts on the blog. It is my most popular series and so I feel a little bound to it. It’s also a tiny bit weird to be working on something I drew over six years ago. I remember drawing the first Marisole doll. I was in grad school sitting in the library killing time between class and when I had to go to work.
And now I live in a totally different state and she’s still around. Kinda crazy, honestly.
(Don’t fear, I don’t plan on getting rid of Marisole Monday & Friend‘s anytime soon. Just thoughts about the paper doll series.)
As always, I love hearing comments from readers and, if you want to support the blog, here’s the Patreon page for it.
And Happy New Year to those celebrating the Year of the Monkey!
Normally, I try not to post two fashion paper doll sets in a row, but somehow my life just didn’t let me finish up the other sets I had hoped to have done. Sometime’s life is like that, so for today’s paper doll dress up, you’ll just have to live with another contemporary fashion set.
A lot of these pieces are based on things from fashion magazines.
One of my goals with this set was to use more pattern on each piece. So, I decided to focus on floral patterns. It was fun to create the patterns for these pieces. Of all of the different pieces, my favorite is the drop waisted floral dress. (The polkadot covered jeans are a close second, I confess. They are based on a pair owned by my sister.)
I will openly confess that I really don’t remember everything I was thinking when I designed this set, except that I really wanted to play with pattern. See? Not very set has a deep philosophical story behind it.
I’m not sure exactly what season this clothing would really work for. I mean, the turtlenecks are much more autumnal, but the florals are certainly a summer thing. I gave it the title Summer Garden, so I guess it’s summery?
A friendly reminder that if you like the blog and you’d like to support it, I do have a Patreon page where you can donate to keep things around here up and running. It’s also home to the Vivian Project.
I’m also pleased to show off my draft version of my new paper doll index page. It’s still being tweaked, so I’d love to hear what people think of it as well.
I’ve been in this whole printable paper doll drawing thing for a while. There’s a few things I have learned and one of them is that what I like is not always what my readers like.
Now, a lot of the time I don’t care. Sorry, folks, but I draw for me first and for most. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I have active readers and every comment I get makes me smile, but if I couldn’t draw what I liked than I would go mad. Mad I tell you!
(Okay, maybe that was a little overly dramatic. 🙂 )
I mention this in direct relation to black and white paper doll sets. They are easier for me, since coloring takes time, but when I was a kid I really didn’t like to color. I know that sounds odd, but I never really “got” coloring books. They were boring. I far more wanted to draw my own stuff than color someone else’s drawing.
So, sometimes I forget that I have readers who LOVE my black and white paper dolls.
That’s part of why I created the Mini-Maiden’s series. I wanted to share with my readers something just for the black and white coloring readers that I have. I might not “get it”, but I am do enjoy drawing them and not having to color them in does make them easier to finish.
To bring this around to this actual post, let’s talk about Isadora. Isadora has only had three other outfit sets and none of them are contemporary. The poor girl can go to balls or fight off radioactive hordes, but she hasn’t got a decent pencil skirt. (Everyone needs a decent pencil skirt.) Well, all that ends today!
When I do contemporary sets, I like to do them in themes. So, for this set I was thinking about sweet, lady-like fashions. I wanted some delicate details like the rose pattern on the shorts and the scalloped hem on the pencil skirt. I often see these styles on the college students I work with, being that this is the South and all, so I wanted to do something of a Southern Belle. All she needs are white lace gloves and a mint-julep to sip while sitting in a white rocking chair.
Her short hair was intended to contrast with the wardrobe.
Today is Friday the 13th, if you’re the superstitious sort. I think paper dolls are good protection from such things. 🙂
By the way, speaking to my coloring readers, I know some people use simple coloring programs, but I have no ideas what they are. So, my questions are: What programs to y’all use? What file formats do those programs like? And would coloring sheets with no grey be useful?
(I’m thinking about digital paper dolls for sale right now and trying to decide what file formats to offer.)
And if you like my paper dolls, please consider supporting me through Patreon.
Today’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.
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.
Today, we have out first set of 18th century gowns for the paper dolls, including a round gown, a brunswick and a robe à la française.
Until the introduction of high-waisted dresses at the very end of the 18th century, most women’s garments consisted of a skirt or petticoat and a bodice. In garments like round gowns, less formal and/or worn by the middle classes, the bodice would fasten in the front and there would be a separate skirt. The far left paper doll costume is a round-gown, based on this round gown from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Sometimes, the bodice would come down partly over the skirt creating a jacket like affect. These mid-thigh length bodices were called caraco jackets. Here, for example, is an extant caraco jacket from the LACMA. Later in this series, there will be caraco jackets, but our middle gown is not a caraco jacket, but rather a brunswick. Brunswicks were traveling garments, often hooded, that had long sleeves. Though relatively practical, they were made of fine fabrics like silk- which makes one wonder about the whole “traveling” thing. Anyway, you often see Brunswick’s in art, but the V&A has a rare extant version which would have had removable sleeves. I based my Brunswick’s on two portraits- Lady Mary Fox and Alexander Roslin’s Portrait of the Girl Holding a Spaniel.
If the bodice and skirt were attached to each other in the 18th century, the skirt would be open in the front to reveal the petticoat underneath. This style of gown was called a robe à l’anglaise, closed bodied gown or an English gown if the pleats in the back of the bodice were stitched down. However, if the pleats were allowed to fall open and loose than the gown became sack-back gown or robe à la française. In modern times, this gown has been called a Watteau back or Watteau gown, after a painter who painted a lot of this style. The dress to the far right of today’s paper doll set is a sack-back gown, but I think the style is easier to see through extant examples like this robe à l’anglaise and robe à la française, both from the Met’s collection.
Along with the gowns, today’s set includes a pair of slippers with overshoes based on this set from the Powerhouse Museum Collection. Over shoes were worn to protect the shoe from mud and muck, though I wonder how much protection a brocade and leather pair could have granted. I’ve also included several different styles of hats. My goal with the hats in this paper doll series is less to match specific dresses, but rather to provide enough variety for there to be plenty of choices. Women did not always wear their hair covered, but usually did.
My color choices for these gowns were taken from my 18th century color pallet which I showed off in last week’s paper doll post. I chose pale blue for the round gown, since the source gown is blue striped, bright yellow for the brunswick, and a rich teal-blue color for my first robe à la française. That is certainly the most formal of the gowns from today’s set. The shoes were done in a neutral light brown color to go with any of the dresses.