Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Dinner or Carriage Dress


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Printable paper doll steampunk inspired dress with a matching hat. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Wednesday!

All righty, Dinner or Carriage dresses were worn to evening of later afternoon events that were formal, but not formal enough to warrant full-dress. Carriage dresses are often identifiable, because they are are more fussy and formal than promenade dresses.

The basic order of formality is a walking suit is less formal then a promenade toilette which is less formal than a carriage dress. A dinner dress is less formal than a evening dress, but may also be worn to evening events like come concerts or lectures. Opera was its own insane category.

Who ever said Victorian dressing was simple?

Continuing my 19th century fashion magazines descriptions, here is today’s:

A pale blue bolero jacket with pale blue sleeve puffs worn over a lavender corset with brass button accents. The neckline of the corset is filled with a pale blue high-necked blouse. The matching skirt is lavender and trimmed in pale green with three rows of blue ruffles. The hat is a bowler style trimmed with dark purple fabric roses and a wide blue ribbon band. Without the hat, this ensemble would be a lovely dinner attire and with the hat would be appropriate for afternoon visiting or carriage rides.

I have to confess, I have never been one of those people who romanticizes history. I’m pretty much certain that I like air conditioning, indoor plumbing and antibiotics too much to want to live in the past, but sometimes when I’m working on fantasy romanticized history pieces like this series, I start to think, “Hmmm… it might be fun to get to put on fancy dresses and go to a ball!”

So tell me in a comment what era of history you’d like to visit sometime. I’ve never been able to settle on one, but I think it might be fun to visit the Library of Alexandria or the Aldine Press in Venice.

(My library geek is coming out in those choices.)

Thoughts from all of you? What time period would you like to visit?

If you missed Monday, pop over to that post for Monica and if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. 

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A House or Morning Costume


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A neo-victorian morning dress or house dress with a hat designed for the Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll series.

Today’s neo-Victorian costume for Monday’s Monica moves to a much lower rung of the formality ladder.

Today, Monica has a morning costume or a house dress. There really shouldn’t be a hat with this costume, because house dresses and morning dresses were not something women wore outside. Still, I drew a lot of hats with these outfits. So, I thought people might enjoy a spare hat today.

To once again channel my inner 19th century fashion magazine, here we go:

A lavender shirtwaist of the crispest cotton with a jabot at the neckline. The sleeves are long and go over the hands, replacing the need for gloves of any sort. Worn over the shirt waist is a decorative long corset of misty blue leather trimmed in pale green ribbon. The skirt is tightly fitted, as is the current fashion, and made to match the corset’s trimmings. There is a decorative band of tea green right before the knees and then asymmetrical layers of ruffles. The matching hat is green and trimmed in over-sized bows.

I am having way more fun writing these 19th century style descriptions of these outfits than I really should probably admit to most people.

Still, I kinda figure that if you’re reading the blog than you probably already know that I am a trifle quirky and such things shouldn’t bother you at all.

Black and white versions can be downloaded at the top of the post, as usual.

If you love the blog, please think about becoming a patron and, if you’re not up for that, leave a comment. I love hearing from y’all.

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: The Doll & Her Visiting or Promenade Toilette


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Monica, an african-american neo-victorian paper doll with her walking suit. Also available in black and white for coloring. From paperthinpersonas.com.

So, here we are in week two of the new system for PTP. It’s very exciting. I am feeling excited. Also a little nervous, I must confess.

Monica is our model today. She is, of course, from the Marisole Monday & Friend’s series. This whole week will be a neo-Victorian/Steampunk inspired week with hats, skirts and jackets. As I know I’ve said before, I have a THING for the whole idea of different outfits for different activities. When I’m in Victorian fantasy land, I like to decide which outfit goes with which Victorian activity.

A lady of quality in the Victorian era had a variety of gowns at different levels of formality. At one end of the scale was the house dress or morning dress and at the other end of the scale was a ballgown or full-dress.

Monica’s suit today is a promenade costume, I think. To channel my inner-19th century fashion magazine (everyone should have an inner 19th century fashion magazine), here how I would describe it:

A promenade or afternoon visiting costume in purple wool with a matching jacket. Underneath the jacket, the model wears a lavender shirtwaist. The jacket is trimmed in pale teal and aqua velvet and satin. A wide band of lavender satin decorates the skirt and then several rows of aqua ruffles. The chapeau is dyed to match the suit and trimmed in rosettes of aqua silk, feathers and brass buttons. The entire ensemble is quite smart for street or afternoon wear.

Sometimes I am conflicted as to whether I like the term Neo-Victorian or the term Steampunk better. The truth is that I think this set is more Neo-Victorian in its styling. One of the tropes of Steampunk is high technology made through steam-power and there’s none of those aesthetics in this paper doll. However, no matter how I feel about it, I confess that the SEO for steampunk is far better than the SEO for neo-Victorian.

Thoughts from the audience on that one?

Oh, and a few “housekeeping” things. The link to the coloring page version of today’s paper doll is at the top with the links to the PDF. As always, I strongly urge you to print from the PDF copy and to print it however you have been printing them from the beginning. That will assure that the new stuff and the old stuff still fits.

Last but not least, please consider taking a second to support the blog by becoming a patron.

Roses & Violins: A Lolita fashion Paper Doll in Color!

logo-classic-lolita-colorLast Monday, I mentioned I used a lot of Lolita fashion blogs to do my research for my Lolita fashion paper doll, but I didn’t mention which ones specifically, so let me clear that up.

My favorite Lolita fashion blog was F Yeah Lolita which had a great post on Building a Complete Lolita Wardrobe. Her wardrobe template starts with sixteen pieces which can be mixed and matched into 14 different outfit combinations. I actually think her advice rings true even if you’re not trying to build a Lolita wardrobe. A few mix and match basics and a good pair of shoes, can get you through many a week of work, especially on a tight budget. Other blogs I found useful and interesting were Parfait Doll, Lolita Fashion(Tumblr), Ruffles & Steam (tumblr) and Portal of Fantasy (tumblr).

I also totally love Lolita Fashion Update where Lolita brand releases are posted (though it hasn’t been updated in a while 🙁 ). Store sites were hit and miss. As far as I can tell, a lot of these Japanese brands to pre-release sales and it seems like things sell out and therefore never get posted to their store sites. (Maybe I’m wrong about this, but that’s been my gut instinct), here’s the brands I based my designs off of Mary Magdalene, Victorian Maiden, Innocent World and Angelic Pretty (though they tend more towards Sweet Lolita).

Okay, so I was looking for photos of Classic Lolita style to link, so people would know what I was basing this on and I found this photo of two Lolitas on the street wearing Classic Lolita dresses from Tokyo Fashion and one of them has the Violin purse! Check it out.  I was so excited to see the purse “in the wild”, so to speak. The larger version is a bit more complex than Mia’s mini paper version.

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I’m a big believer in using color to tell a story. Years ago, a friend used to joke that Steampunk was “Gothic clothing colored brown” and there is some truth to that observation. Color has a lot of power. I could have gone Gothic Lolita or Sweet Lolita with these outfits if I had chosen another color scheme, but I liked the soft hues associated with Classic Lolita, so that was what I settled on. Also, I have a Sweet and Gothic Lolita paper dolls already which illustrate this principle by being the same set colored two different ways.

I’m still regretting that I didn’t draw her any hats or bows. It was totally my intention to, but then I forgot and then I didn’t notice I’d forgotten until it was too late. Sigh. A rose cover bonnet like these one would really fill out her look. Oh well, I’m just going to have to save for a different paper doll set, I guess.

There is an extra outfit over on my Patreon page– shoes, a parasol and dress. You don’t have to be a patron to download it and it will fit in with the rest of Mia‘s Classic Lolita wardrobe. Also give her some pink shoes to go with her more pink dresses.

If you like the Lolita fashion style, check out my Lolita tag for more paper dolls inspired by this style.

Please leave a comment if you like, because you know I love feedback. 🙂

Lillies & Birds: Fantasy Printable Paper Doll

lilliesandbirds-logo-colorEvery paper doll set tells a story. As a kid, I remember I would tell all sorts of stories with my paper dolls. Some of them were the actual stories of the paper dolls- like Little Women or Cinderella. Far more often, I would design my own stories to be told with the paper dolls.

Now that I’m an adult, or so people tell me, my paper dolls don’t have the same sorts of stories. They do, however, often have worlds that I imagine they come from. In the case of today’s Margot paper doll, I imagine she comes from a pseudo-victorian world with her button up boots and her hats.

Speaking of hats, it was really important to me that either hat could be worn with either dress. Don’t get me wrong- the feathered hat was designed to match the bird-dress and the lily hat goes with the lily dress, but if you were feeling rebellious and wanted to put the feathered hat with the lily dress than I won’t stop you.

Live dangerously.

Anyway, as for her blue hair, I confess that as a total whim. I was coloring her and I thought, I should give her blue hair. So, I did.lilliesandbirds-princess-paper-doll-color

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I am actually quite pleased how the blue hair came out. I think it’s fun and unexpected.

I’ve always wanted to dye my hair blue, but I fear I am long past the point in my work life where I could get away with blue hair. Plus my hair goes down to my waist, so if I dye it than I have to live with it for a long long time.

So, we are cruising into December (so exciting!), there’s going to be fun things on the horizon and some announcements. The Pixie paper doll series is retiring and will be replaced by a new series. Lots of fun & crazy stuff.

Thoughts? As usual, I love to hear what you think about the paper doll or anything else in the comments.

Lillies & Birds: A Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

lilliesandbirds-logo-bwThe trouble of posting from paper doll backlog, is that sometimes I get to the point where I’ve drawn something so many weeks ago that I have no real recollection of what I was thinking or planning when I designed whatever it is. This is one of those sets. I remember drawing it, but I don’t remember much about this set except worrying about drawing the lily flowers on her skirt and hat.

I decided I tend to always draw the same flowers and I wanted to try something different.

Beyond that, I feel like I can’t say much.

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Margot is showing off this set. I feel rather bad for Margot, since she hasn’t gotten a set since April when she was a Tudor lady. I think it is just that she got a LOT of love at the beginning of the year and then very little for the rest of the year.

Anyway, this is the last Margot set for 2015. The year is wrapping up my friends. 🙂

As always, if you have thoughts, please share them in the comments and if you like the paper dolls than consider supporting them through Patreon.

Also, there’s going to be a really fun Q&A on Wednesday with a special guest from Dover publishing. I’ve been waiting to publish this for weeks. 🙂

Beauty in Bloomers: A Steampunk Paper Doll inspired by Amelia Bloomer

logo-bloomer-steampunkOnce in a while, I host little drawings for custom paper dolls. I do them rarely, because frankly they are time consuming.

Anyway, last June I held one. People submitted custom paper doll suggestions. You can see all of them on the original contest post. The winner of the drawing was Lina, but I added all the ideas to my paper doll ideas list. Today’s paper doll comes from an idea submitted back then. (See, I do sometimes draw things people request.)

Erin Winslow proposed a steampunk set based on Amelia Bloomer’s women’s dress reform movement costume. My first thought was, “No Way!”

Because, honestly, I really didn’t like the Bloomer Dress. I’ve always thought it was both unflattering and kinda ugly. Why would I want to draw something I thought was ugly?

And then… rather unexpectedly, I found myself thinking… I should draw it because I find it ugly. I should tackle a style I dislike for a paper doll set. I should stretch. Plus I recently read a this book on Victorian dress reform movements.

First, I had to gather sources and ideas. You can see a collage of these below.

amelia-bloomer-steampunk-collage

I remembered somewhere I had seen a photo of a female doctor wearing a Bloomer costume. That was where I started thinking about doctors cases and I found that Pat Stall, one of my favorite paper doll artists ever, had done an Amelia Bloomer paper doll set. I found some wonderful modern pieces and then a few great cartoons from various Victorian periodicals. I felt like I was on my way towards a set I might actually like.

An Amelia Bloomer inspired steampunk paper doll, because why not? Exclusive to paperthinpersonas.com.

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I decided to cast Hazel as my bloomer wearing steampunk Doctor. I gave her glasses and some doctor bag inspired accessories. She has three dresses to go over the two pairs of bloomers. Her vest, shirt and skirt can be worn over any of the bloomers as well. I did not make my bloomers quite as full as those worn by Amelia Bloomer. Despite creating this paper doll set, I still find the look to be astonishingly unflattering. Never the less, here is my foray into the world of steampunk bloomer costumes.

Plus, I got to draw Victorian glasses and that was fun. 🙂

As most of my readers have figured out by now, I’m currently conducting a survey about developing products to open a Paper Thin Personas store in the next year and some other stuff. It’ll only take about 15 minutes and I’ll send you a thank you paper doll if you leave me your email at the end. (The emails are deleted out of the survey results immediately to keep things as anonymous as possible. So, no worries about that.)

Check out the Survey Here!

Thanks again to everyone whose already done the survey! I’m closing it on Saturday, so I can begin to analyze the results. I’ll share some of my discoveries sometime in the next few weeks.

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll in Color

logo-ragamuffin-colorYou’d think after having done hundreds of paper dolls that I would actually never struggle to come up with color schemes. And yet… I still have trouble.

The problem with steampunk or anything steampunk inspired, is that there’s a lot of brown. (This is actually the same problem I have with gothic things as well- too much black.) So, I selected several diverse shades of brown to use and then set them off with some ochre, orange, olive green, and teal. Pale blue was added so that every shirt wouldn’t be cream. I wanted to avoid red or pink- these are both colors I love and colors I tend to fall back on when I am trying to come up with color schemes and I also thought they were too girly for this menswear inspired set.

The tiny braids in Mia’s braided hair created a new series of challenges. There’s three choices when highlighting a feature like that- go darker than the main hair color or do lighter than the main hair color or go a radically different color than the main hair color. I knew I didn’t want to do option three and I decided the lighter braids looked better than darker braids.

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I will confess that this set took forever to color and while I really like how it turned out, doing the layout of all these pieces was a pain as well. I need to remember my “10 to 11 pieces plus 2 pairs of shoes” rule when I’m drawing or else doing the layout takes forever. This set was 13 pieces and 2 pairs of shoes, plus a lot of these pieces are big. Anyway, it might not seem like a big difference, but it does make a difference.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys Mia in her steampunk get up. Next Monday, there will be ballerinas. Actually, we’ll have a whole month of ballerinas- because I might have gotten a little carried away. 🙂

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Paper Doll

logo-ragamuffin-bwI previewed this paper doll back in April, but even when I previewed it, the paper doll set had been sitting in my sketchbook for a month or more. I was dreading work on it, not because I didn’t like the paper doll, but because the idea of coloring all the detail was terrifying.

So, last week, when I was finally out of everything else I had drawn for Marisole Monday & Friends that I could feed the blog, I found myself finally tackling this paper doll set. Sometimes I have to be forced into these things.

All right, so inspirations for today’s paper doll set include the film Newsies and that’s really about it. Though I confess I do rather see today’s version of Mia hanging out with my airship mechanic Marcus. I mean they both have tools and newsboy caps.

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I try to create for all my Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls somewhat evenly. Currently though, this is only Mia’s second set this year. That puts her behind well… everyone else. So, she’ll get some more love soon though since I’ve got a ballerina set in the works for her and Monica. (Yes, I tackled my fear of tutus.)

Today’s paper doll set will, of course, be up in color next week and then… I have no idea what’s next, actually. Probably ballerinas.

Flock Fairy Tales: Oriole as Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

morgiana-outfit-combinationsLike a lot of kids, I grew up surrounded by fairy tales. Long after I was “too old” for picture books, I would settle down in the fairy tale section of the children’s department of the library and devour version upon version of my favorite stories. I was fascinated by the variables of each story and how they would change and how they were illustrated.

Today, in what maybe the last of the Flock Fairy Tale series (or at least the last one I have planned), we have Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. In case you’re wondering why this is the “last” of the fairy tale series, it is because I am out of Flock magnetic paper dolls. Starling, Wren, Phoebe, Oriole, Dove and Swan is the whole family. So, either some of them get more than one fairy tale or I need to drew some more friends to join them.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is an interesting tale for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t have any known origins in Middle Eastern sources and the earliest text version is French. The tale was added to the story collection One Thousand and One Nights by the French translator, Antoine Galland, who called his volumes Les Mille et Une Nuits. Gallad’s work was published in several volumes between 1704 and 1712. There has yet to be found a legitimate Arabic or other textual source before Gallad’s version. (Interesting fact: Gallad also added the famous story, ‘Aladdin’ and there are no known versions that predate his version either.)

Whatever debate might be had of the “authenticity” of the tale, the story is at least three hundred years old and certainly has a strong female character in the form of the slave girl Morgiana. Morgiana not only ends up stabbing the last of the thieves to death, but outwits most of them. I won’t summarize the whole thing here, I like these two versions of the tale, but there are plenty of others around.

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I confess that I didn’t make a t-shirt for Oriole as Morgiana, not for any specific reason, just because I forgot. However, she does have a book (unlike Cinderella who I forgot to give a book). Her wardrobe is mostly based on belly-dancing clothes and has, of course, a little bit of a steampunk neo-victorian vibe.

morgiana-flock-fairytale-paper-doll-clothes
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So, it may not be obvious but all the fairy tale flock paper dolls are done with a base color scheme of about a dozen or so colors. The idea from the beginning has to been to have a fair but of mix and match options, though- as it has been pointed out to me by a few friends, some sets mix and match better than others.

I keep meaning to do a sort of “filler set” of just clothing pieces without any specific fairy tale in mind which would give more clothing options in more solid colors for the flock fairy tale magnetic paper dolls, but it keeps getting pushed onto the back burner. Perhaps if I write it down, it will force it a bit more towards the forefront.

If you’ve missed any of this series, they are Robin as Cinderella, Starling in East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Swan and Dove as Snow White and Rose Red, Wren as Little Red Riding Hood, and Phoebe as Rapunzel.

On that note, I am kinda sick, so I best go back to bed.