Marisole Monday: Happy 4th of July

To celebrate the 4th of July, I thought I would check out books from the library, sit down and set to work on drawing some historical costumes for Marisole set in the 18th century since the Revolutionary War (Or, as the Brits call it, the Rebellion of the Colonies) was in the 1770s. I’ve only done one other set of historical costumes for the paper doll and they were regency dresses (One set one in July and one in August in 2010). This is about as far from the Regency aesthetic as you can get- the French Revolution did have a way of changing fashion, also of decapitating an awful lot of people. Those wiley French.

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So, I’ll confess that when I have to name my favorite periods of historical fashion the 18th century doesn’t get a lot of attention. I’m just not that huge of a fan, but when I was in England I went to the Fashion Museum in Bath and I saw an actual 18th century gown in person. Despite my tendency to dismiss such costumes as too poofy, too over the top, too absurd for my taste, the actual dress was among the most astonishing pieces of craftsmanship I have seen.


marisole-18th-century-paper-doll-2{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print}{Click Here for the rest of this series}

The frustration of drawing historical costumes for Marisole is that her proportions are so darn strange. While I like how she looks, it means that historical dresses (which rely on a specific silhouette) look off. As I drew these costumes, I realized I was going to a have to allow myself to be a little more liberal then my natural leaning for historical accuracy allows and, besides, I don’t really know enough about the 18th Century to be hyper critical of my own work. I won’t say these costumes are historically accurate, I will say they are historically inspired.

Anyway, if you’d like to read more about 18th century costume, I recommend the excellent 18th Century Blog which is full of beautiful pictures and things, as well as, the exhibit Historic Threads. As for books, I used An Elegant Art, Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail and, of course, Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction, even if you never plan on sewing one of her patterns, this book is worth every penny just for the historical information. Someday, I will own all of Janet Arnold‘s books… Someday.

Enjoy the paper dolls and, for those in the United States, have a great 4th of July.

Edit 8/23/13: One of these paper dolls is now available in black and white for coloring.

Fashion Doll Friday: Flora’s Long Corset and House Dress

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There is a myth that women gave up corsets in the early 1800’s and that’s just not true. A corset, or stays if you prefer, provides a fair bit of support for women, just like a modern bra. They did, however, alter the look of their undergarments. The long corset on the left is from about 1810, though I have seen similar things cited with later dates. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about women’s underwear in the early 1800’s to be sure.

Flora’s other dress is a basic house dress- something worn for work as much as anything else. I based it off of this dress though I simplified the skirt. I’d like to draw a few shawls, since they were such a standard garment of the day, but I haven’t decided how to do them yet.

Curves: Down an Rabbit Hole

I have always loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s been a favorite novel since I was a child. Over the years, I have done a few different Alice inspired paper dolls, there’s one in the Gallery as well.

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This was supposed to be posted last week, but illness and finals put it off until today. The semester is finally over, thank the Gods, and I can now settle into my summer routine of working full time at the library and taking a few summer courses.

My hope is that over the next week I’ll have time to finish reformatting the site. Once it’s done, I’ll be asking that people email me with broken links and other problems as I’m sure there will be some. I can’t really focus on the “housekeeping” side of the blog while I’m trying to keep up with my weekly schedule, but with classes over I have some free time to devote to all things blog related.

Neapolitan Ice Cream: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll

I don’t normally start with a color scheme. I normally start with an idea and then worry about how to color it, but with this paper doll set I started with a color scheme. I knew I wanted to do something with browns and creams. The pink came from the desire to pick a contrasting color that was warm rather then cool.

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I decided to name this paper doll set after that ice cream with the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry stripes that I always used to think was called Napoleon Ice Cream, but I realized later that it actually had nothing to do with short militaristic Frenchmen and was actually called Neapolitan Ice Cream after the city of Naples. So, I’m glad I found that out before I wrote this post and sounded like a total ditz. I take some pride in only being a partial ditz.

I’m actually quite pleased with how this paper doll came out. I really like the contrast of the red hair with the brown and pink color scheme, though I confess I originally tried her out with every other hair color since I felt like I have done a lot of redheads and then I gave up and decided didn’t care. I’ve likes redheads ever since I saw Anne of Green Gables on TV as a child.

Fashion Doll Friday: Flora’s French Ballgown from 1812

I usually don’t go for Rose Ballgowns but I liked the grace of this costume and I really liked the sleeves. I didn’t mimic the plate exactly and I sort of invented the front of the dress since I only saw the back of the dress. I included gloves, which were needed since the sleeves of this era were so short, shoes to match and a wig styled with roses. So, it’s pretty much a whole Flora outfit.

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Really this outfit happened because I have wonderful friends. As I wrote before, I have supportive friends who seem to be fairly relaxed when I say things like “Yeah, I’m thinking about buying Instyle so I have some paper doll fodder.” And they nod as though this is a normal thing to say while standing in a drug store at 10 pm on a light night chips run. In fact, sometimes they go through it with me telling me what I should draw though usually their picks are more hilarious than practical.

(I don’t really fancy the idea of drawing nine million sequins. Sorry guys.)

But when one of them told me this was the dress I should draw of a set of dresses I was looking at, I decided to go for it. It was the right period and fun, if a little fancier then what I usually draw

Marisole Monday: Pirate Vs. Ninja- Pirate Edition in Black & White

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So, I’ve gotten a few requests for Marisole in black and white. I will not be posting every Marisole post with a black and white option. Sorry, it’s just too time consuming. However, I will continue to do them erratically. I’ve done one other black and white Marisole paper doll and here we have a second one.

Though two isn’t a huge number, it’s double the number I used to have on the blog. (That sounds so impressive when you don’t think too hard about it. Most things work better if you avoid thinking too much I find.) I hope everyone enjoys the black and white version of yesterday’s Marisole.

Marisole Monday: Pirate Vs. Ninja- Pirate Edition

Sometimes people make the mistake of asking what my favorite novel. This is a really hard question to answer. Usually, I fall back on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I read it as a child and return to it every few years. Each time, I am struck by the detail, the care and the complexity. It is a story full of questions of honor, betrayal, revenge and greed. Its villain is compassionate and compelling. Its hero’s are honorable, but hard. It’s a fascinating story. I recommend it to any adult or child who likes adventure tales. Really, I recommend it to anyone ever.

Also, there are pirates. And who doesn’t like pirates? Plus buried treasure and madmen and betrayal and fight scenes.

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These paper doll pieces are more fantasy then reality, but that is the fun of paper dolls after all. I mean, it’s not like I actually bothered doing any real research in this case. I just had some fun with the fantasy. I mean, have you seen the Ninja side of this set? It’s not like I’ve even tried to be vaguely historically accurate.

I’ve been thinking about completely re-formating the site a lot lately… but then sanity prevails and I realize I don’t really have time. Still, I think I would like to convert it back to a more basic blog format, but then I’m worried I’d lose some of the features I like of this format… So, thoughts are ongoing. I could hand-code it, but it would take so much time and lots of trial and error. I shall have to think about my options a bit more before I decide, I think.

So, as some of you know I had a drawing last Monday and I said I would select a winner this Monday. In the end, I had 8 entries. So I just rolled an 8 sided dice, left over from other geeky hobbies I do, and came up with the number 3. That makes Monica the winner of my little drawing. Monica, please email me (paperthinpersonas (at) gmail (dot) com) with what sort of paper doll you would like. 🙂

Also, come back tomorrow and there will be something fun. I promise.

Marisole Monday: Tokyo Meets Georgia

Where to start about this paper doll set… Well, it all started with the blue dress which is the strange love child of a kimono, a peacoat and a 1850’s hoop skirt and then sort of evolved from there. Secretly I kinda love it, but publicly I’m a little more unsure. The underwear in yellow and cream came out of the desire to draw absurd underwear (and practice my ruching as I mentioned last week) and then I felt like I needed a second dress to fill in the set, so I drew her odd formal costume with the pleats and underbust corset with the flower. My favorite is the blue dress, though I know I shouldn’t have favorites among my paper dolls.

marisole-tokyo-georgia-150 {Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for the rest of this series}

I think fantasy is all about combining different sources in ways that they were never combined in the real world. So, to take the blue dress as my example, the skirt is based on Japanese stencil dyed fabrics, the coat/jacket is quilted much like 18th century women’s petticoat and has a large portrait collar much like my own winter coat. It is tied with an obi style sash/belt (displayed on that website on a beautiful example of Japanese doll making).

The poll is, of course, on going. I am not at all surprised that fantasy is in the lead. I always rather suspected it would win out in the end, but I wasn’t sure where everything else would fall in between, so it has been education in its own way.

Flora, A Regency Paper Doll: Her Chemise and Petticoat

Flora is a paper doll based on wooden dolls of the Regency era. She has underwear in this plate. She's free to print and color.

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So, I am a little late with this post. I had planned on putting her up last night, as I usually do, but ended up spending more time working on homework then I’d originally planned. After that, I put in some time studying my Latin and crashed early. No paper dolling time really at all. So, I got up early the next morning, finished my Latin homework and then had enough time to prep the images, but not enough time to post. Annoyed more then anything else, I went to Latin, went to work, went to dinner and now, finally, have gotten home.

With a slight delay, I am pleased to introduce Flora, my new regency paper doll and yes, her name was chosen because it was alliterative. Don’t judge me for my adoration of alteration. The paper doll is based on wooden dolls of early 1800’s. Her body is the same as that of a manikin doll shown in The Complete Book of Doll Making and Collecting which contains many photographs of antique dolls. The hair style was adapted from a wooden tuck comb doll though without the comb since it would make bonnets difficult.

Her full slip is based on illustrations from Dress and Undress: A History of Women’s Underwear which is considered to be one of the best works on the topic. I agree that it is fantastic, but I wish it had more pictures. All of the paper dolls underwear designs come from this text which was one of the few that discussed the differences between early 1800’s underwear compared to later when the corset returned. To go with her slip, I have included a simple chemise which was drawn from this one in the Fashion Museum in Bath, England. I adore the Fashion Museum site and wax on about that more on my Research Resources page.

That is all I think I need to say about the paper doll. Of course, if you haven’t all ready done so, you may wish to vote in my poll.

Pixie: Zoe

It’s the New Year.

Time for changes, adventure, excitement and a brand new paper doll series. Yay.

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The Pixie paper dolls will go up every Sunday. They are, obviously, full color printable paper dolls inspired partly by Marisole and partly by the desire for another full color series. There will also be a few other major changes for the new year, but we’ll get to those as we do. I don’t want to say things and then have them not happen.

Unlike Marisole (whose hair is redrawn each time but nothing else is), the Pixie’s have their whole heads changed each time and this lets me play with characters and expressions and things in ways I can’t really with Marisole (well, I could, but I don’t cause it feels weird).

The first of the new paper doll series is Zoe. Zoe is named for a girl who I played with when I was in middle school. Since I live in graduate and international housing, the paper doll was also inspired by a Chinese girl who sat across from me in class for a semester. I really doubt she knew I was examining her face for future paper doll fodder or even noticed. The resulting doll looks nothing like her, but the early doodles did give me the confidence to try to draw epicanthic fold (I think it’s called) on a paper doll.