Promenade and Play: Victorian Paper Doll Clothes for the Poppets

Victorian paper doll clothes So, life this week has been a roller coaster of sickness and travel, but I promised a second page of clothes for Peach in the Park to expand her Victorian paper doll wardrobe and I am pleased to say that here they are.

In no real order, in this set of paper doll clothes there is a promenade dress or afternoon dress, a gymnastics outfit and a set of underwear consisting of a chemise, drawers and a stayband or corset. She also has a pair of shoes with stockings and a ballgown for her doll. It is entirely possible that the doll’s little ballgown is my favorite piece of the entire set, though drawing that small was a challenge. (Seriously, the doll is like two inches tall in real life. I kid you not.)

I drew these designs based on illustrations from several different Victorian fashion magazines including Harpers Bazaar and La Mode Illustre, which as French. I highly recommend Dover’s excellent books of fashion plate reprints when working on Victorian period fashions- they bring a richness to the process of research that is of great value. Plus it’s fun to draw surrounded by open books (at least, I think it is fun.)

Medieval inspired fantasy outfits for the Poppet paper dolls coloring pagesVictorian Paper Doll and Dress from the 1870s in black and white for coloring
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By the late 1860s, early 1870s, sporting activities were encouraged for children. Gymnastic’s costumes like the one in brown are often shown in magazines along with yachting and skating outfits. While it is hard to imagine a child really running around in the bustled up skirts of the era, it is possible to imagine them doing so in one of these more practical outfits.

I also think it is important to remember that while fashion magazines show perfectly coifed children, actual children’s garments are often more worn and simpler. Kid’s did get out in play even in the 1800s and parents did not dress them like little adults, despite what my fashion history teacher told me. The length of a girl’s skirt indicated her age. The poppets are, in my mind, between the ages of 8 and 11, so their skirts are mid-calve. The skirts would slowly lower until maturity when they would be floor length for many, thought not all, activities.

As a reminder, because I forget this sometimes too- any of the Poppet paper dolls can wear any of the other Poppet paper doll’s clothing. So, while I was thinking of Peach when I made these outfits, they could also be worn by Petunia, Paradisea, Poppy, Posey, Petal, or Primrose.

That is a lot of P names.

Anyway, enjoy the Victorian paper doll outfits.

Greta’s Trousseau: Spring Costumes

So, way back in December of 2013, I started a project called Greta’s Trousseau with this post. The idea was that I would draw a complete trousseau for a paper doll inspired by neo-Victorian and steampunk styles. This is the sixth page of Greta’s Trousseau. I don’t think it’s the last one, but we maybe getting close.

Link to a contemporary asian paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe entitled: Faye's Fashionable Geometrics. As part of the Mini-Maidens series, Faye can share clothing with any of the other Mini-Maiden paper doll.

Today, Greta has a carriage dress, a visiting toilette, a dinner dress, afternoon costume and morning dress. Her Carriage Dress is based on two gowns from Harper’s Bazar in 1873. One a watering place costume, published in the June 28, 1873 issue and the other a Carriage dress published in the July 5th issue of that same year. Harpers Bazar is a publication which is a little hard to find online. I used Dover’s book of reprinted fashion plates edited by Stella Blum, but you can see some issues of Harpers Bazar from the Home Economics Archive and others from the Hathi Trust. Hathi Trust has better image quality, but does not include the 1873 year.

Anyway, her visiting toilette has an additional hat, as does her carriage dress. Her dinner dress and afternoon costume are the same skirt with two different bodices, a common practice in the Victorian era. Her morning dress is, of course, the most simple gown she has and with it she has slippers, stockings and some correspondence.


black and white black printable paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe
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My goal was to create the massive wardrobe of an absurdly wealthy fashion obsessed neo-Victorian lady. Currently, Greta has sporting outfits including swimming, fencing, hunting, skating and riding. She has a seaside walking dress, two traveling suits, and clothing for exploring or hiking. For formal occasions, she has a ballgown with two bodices, opera toilette and two dinner dresses. For visiting, she has two outfits. There is a walking suit and a promenade costume. For the afternoons, she has an afternoon costume and a tea dress. For quiet days at home, she has a house dress and a morning dress. For the very rare occasion she might need one, she has a wedding dress and a diving suit.

Here is the rest of Greta’s paper trousseau in case anyone missed a page or something.

Sweet & Saucy in Color: A printable paper doll

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe Last week, I talked about where this paper doll set was inspired from. This week, I want to talk a bit about color choices.

Color scares a lot of people. It scares me too. Truthfully, I use a lot of tools to help me develop color schemes. Some are as simple as searching Colour Lovers for a theme, but other times I use tools from ColourLovers to calculate diferent types of color schemes. My other favorite color scheme website is Design Seeds.

Normally, I try to keep my color schemes to five or six colors. There just aren’t enough pieces in the average paper doll set to justify more colors then than that. Even today’s set with all the pattern has only seven different colors, not including the warm soft brown of her skin tone. Choosing a skintone color is actually just as important as selecting a color scheme, because depending on the surrounding colors, all colors look different. I tend to think of the skintone choice as part of the color scheme selection, just as much as I am picking out colors for clothing, but I do try to keep to my palette, except with Asian skintones that generally have a strong yellow undertone. That can be very hard to not look jaundiced, so there’s often trial and error when I am coloring those paper dolls.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
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In today’s paper doll, I knew I wanted a rainbow scheme and I wanted it to feel a little bit like candy- bright and sweet colors. Pink stands in for my red, but other then that I have a purple, a blue, a yellow, an orange and a green. White acts as a neutral, rather than black, and that keeps the set feeling light and bright. The only black appears as the soles of her boots. Her nails are multicolored as are her hair ties to keep the sense of mismatched style.

I really am quite pleased with how she turned out.

Country Lolita inspired Paper Doll Clothes

Like to Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing There’s something about Lolita style clothes that I find appealing. I think part of it is that I love the Victorian inspired details of the outfits, but I also think it’s fascinating to see how a non-Western culture like Japan interprets Western European and American Victorian children’s clothing into something for adults.

There is a tendency when we talk about cultural adaptations to speak strictly of Western nations adapting Asian clothing and there’s a lot of great research on that topic, but non-Western countries are also adapting Western dress and transforming the meaning into something entirely different for their cultural needs. I find this back and forth to be one of the more interesting aspects of cultural contact.

To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, the act of observation doesn’t just change the object being observed, it also can change the observer. (Soul Music I think… but maybe Reaper Man… Can’t recall which at the moment.)

Plus, you know, pretty clothes.

So, Lolita, like any good alt-fashion scene, has many sub-genres that are confusing to me, as an outsider. Never the less, I did some research and wanted to so something in the County Lolita sub-genre. If regular Lolita is all about puffy skirts and ruffles, Country Lolita seems to be all about puffy skirts and gingham. Here’s a blog devoted to the style called, Country Lolita and here’s a post about Country Lolita from F Yeah Lolita, a great Lolita blog. (There is not gingham here… I can’t draw it to save my life.)

Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing

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I wanted to play with the style, but I wouldn’t say my interpretation is strictly accurate. It’s more about seeing what happens when I try something new and the excuse to draw some giant cherries.

Honestly, I think I had mixed success. The yellow skirt has a better shape than the blue skirt. Both the cherry and the apple pattern came out cute and feel bright and country to me, but border prints are super popular it sems and . I wish I had gone with a darker blue to balance out of the pale yellow, but I’m not sure about that. When I look at it, sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. I settled on knee socks rater then tights, because I thought they would fit better on the page. I do want to know how you all think I did, so there’s a poll…

How did I do on my Country Lolita?

  • I have no idea what Country Lolita looks like... (58%, 21 Votes)
  • Nailed it! (33%, 12 Votes)
  • Not so much... Should have used gingham (8%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

Loading ... Loading ...

By the way, there is a doll to go with this set. She’ll be up sometime next week.

The Princess and the Frog: A Paper Doll Costume

Paper Doll of the Princess and the Frog or the Frog Princess I love fairy tales. I have always loved fairy tales. I have fond memories of, far past the point of being able to read complicated books, sitting in the library reading picture books of fairy tales. I love the lavish illustrations, but I also like reading many different versions of the same story. These days I still like doing that, but now I like learning why and where the different varients of Cinderella or the Twelve Dancing Princesses come from.

Today’s paper doll set is an ode to one of my favorite fairy tales. The Frog Prince or The Princess and the Frog, depending on which version you read. A princess loses her beautiful golden ball down a well and a frog retrieves it for her only if she will marry him. She agrees and then backs out of her promise. The story goes from there.

In the end, I think the moral is supposed to be “keep your promises” or “don’t judge on appearences”, but it could also be, “don’t drop your precious golden ball down a well.”

Medieval inspired fantasy outfits for the Poppet paper dollsMedieval inspired fantasy outfits for the Poppet paper dolls coloring pages
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Disney did an interesting adaption of the tale recently, but I will always picture the Princess how she was drawn by Walter Crane in the Frog Prince. Walter Crane is one of my favorite children’s illustrators. I was inspired by the pseudo-renaissance look for my own paper doll’s costume.

So, there is a frog, a golden ball, and a beautiful gown for the Princess. I am not much an animal artist, but I did my best to make my frog cute and palm sized. I always thought the Princess in the Frog Prince was a little spoiled, but then I suppose that’s just how fairy tales go sometimes.

Greta’s Trousseau: Traveling Suit and Evening Attire

It has been a while since we’ve had to visit to Greta’s Trousseau. I have had these drawn for a few mnths and it has been taking me a long time to get my act together and sort out the adding of tabs. I loath having to add tabs, but it’s easier to add them than to remove them later for the fashion plates and I do like putting together the fashion plates.

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes

So, in this page of Greta’s ever expanding trousseau, there is a ballgown which also has a more conservative long sleeved bodice. Dresses with two bodices were very common in the 19th century. Most “gowns” of the period are actually a top and a separate skirt. This women’s dress from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has an evening bodice and a day bodice. I imagine that Greta’s dress is more of a “ballgown” and then “dinner-dress” sort of arrangement.

Her traveling attire has two major outfits. One is a pair of bloomers with a blouse and hat for exploring or slightly rough and tumble travel. The other is a crisp traveling suit with a jacket, skirt and gaiters (or really long spats). These pieces can be mixed and matched for other outfit combinations, of course.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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In total, this takes Greta’s Trousseau to over fifty outfit pieces and seventeen outfits. Technically, based on my paper doll outfit math than there’s about 1300 outfit combinations, more if you include hats, of course. I don’t actually think most of those outfit combinations make a lot of sense, but it was fun to work out how many existed. Greta’s Trousseau isn’t over, by any means. There are more sporting outfits to be finished (including a really cute croquet dress) and a set of clothing for seaside visits which includes a scuba suit, complete with helmet.

For anyone whose interested, here is the rest of Greta’s paper trousseau.

Dress Up the Court Alchemist in Some Extra Outfit Options

Last week, as you may recall, I posted my Court Alchemist paper doll. This week I am posting the rest of her wardrobe which gives her five outfits in total. I really do think the clothing makes the paper doll and I was always that kid who would have far rather have had dozens of outfits over dozens of paper dolls.

In fact, I remember when American Girl magazine published paper dolls and I used to get so annoyed that the dolls were “almost” in the exact same pose, but not quite. So, they couldn’t perfectly share clothing. Drove me just nuts as a kid. Here is a picture of one of the paper dolls.

Are there any children’s magazines left that still publish paper dolls?

I recall with much fondness the feeling to getting to check the mail for my American Girl magazine and it’s promised paper doll. In fact, if you want a similar experience (and you have an HP web enabled printer), then you might consider my HP Paper Thin Personas Printer Ap which prints a full color or black and white paper doll every Monday, automatically. You can also print the paper dolls on demand directly from the printer which is, I have to confess, pretty neat.

Court Alchemist Paper Doll wardrobe in Black and White for Coloring
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So, there are three dresses in this set. In my head, these are all fairly informal dresses. And who doesn’t need socks held up by some odd sock suspenders? (There is something inherently hilarious to me about sock suspenders… I might have a problem.)

I went back and forth about the patterned dress. I wanted it to look like a pattern that could be woven on a simple loom, but it ended up looking sort of like abstract eyes and now all I can think is, “The dress is staring at me…”

Court Alchemist wardrobe in full color
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As for tools, along with last week’s tool collection, this set adds a sextant, which is a tool for measuring the angle between any two visible objects, most often the horizon and stars. It was crucial for navigating back in the days before high levels of technology. As a girl with NO sense of direction, I am totally grateful to whoever invented GPS.

So, Friday there will be another page of Her Ladyship and Monday there will be an elf.

Meanwhile, you can follow me on twitter @paperpersonas for blog updates, random paper doll thoughts and a smattering of librarianship.

Circus Paper Doll for Coloring

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on circuses Marisole’s gone to the circus this monday, complete with makeup.

I have mixed feelings about circuses truth be told. Sometimes I like them and sometimes I find them deeply creepy. I’m not afraid of clowns or anything, but there is something slightly off dark and strange that runs through the whole idea of circuses and carnivals.

So, I’ve been drawing paper dolls for a long time and I always expect to run out of the ideas, but then I run into new things on a fairly regular basis that I want to do or try out. I don’t know that I’ve ever really done anything like this set. I started collecting circus images that I liked on Dark Circus Pinterest board and then eventually those images evolved into this set of doodles which evolved into this paper doll set.


Printable paper doll in black and white inspired by circuses
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I was going for fashion as much as reality with these outfits. I can’t imagine a clown wearing such insane high heels, for example. My Dark Circus board where I was collecting images evolved into being as much about fashion as it was about circuses.

I’m nervous about coloring this set. I was going to go strictly black and red, but then I really want her to have pink hair.

Problem, will the pink hair clash with the red and black? I just don’t know. Guess the only way to find out is to start coloring.

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.

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