White Cake Dress with Pink Ombre Rosettes for Broken Age

A very light ivory ballgown with an almost exaggeratedly large, floor length skirt. It is off the shoulder, with a line of pink rosettes across the top. The bodice is fitted and decorated with a pattern of white lines and dots arranged into a sunburst shape, with a polka dot and grid pattern covering the background. Both patterns are shaded to look as if they're white frosting on a white cake. The waist is V-shaped and is edged with a line of small silver balls. The overskirt is open at the front, showing a large part of the underskirt. The top half of the underskirt has a pattern of delicate white scrolls and the words "Treat Yourself!" written in loopy cursive in pink frosting. The bottom half consists of three large rows of rosettes, designed to look like they were made out of icing. The top rosette row is very pale pink, the second is a shade darker and the third is even more darker, creating an ombre effect. The overskirt is edged with lines of small silver balls and is decorated with sunburst-shaped patterns of lines and dots going up the front sides and a polka dot and grid pattern covering the background.This ballgown was inspired by a recently released adventure game, Broken Age. Vella, our heroine and one of the two protagonists, is a young woman who lives in a town of bakers that is terrorized by a horrendous monster called Mog Chothra every 14 years. In a scene that you’ll always remember whenever you see a cake made to look like the skirt of a Barbie doll or a princess, our heroine, along with four other young women of the village, is offered to the monster as a human sacrifice at an event called the “Maidens Feast.” They are all embedded in gigantic cakes that look like skirts, which are gorgeously decorated with all the skill the villagers have and inscribed with tempting slogans like “Delish,” “Hot Stuff” and “Up For Grabs!” Each of the young women is hoping to protect her village and bring honor to her family by being selected (that is, eaten) by Mog Chothra… except for Vella. But how do you escape a floating monster the size of a mansion when you’re stuck in a cake, ready to be served up?

Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure game, notable for being one of the first Kickstarter successes. To put it simply, adventure games are rather out of fashion, but two years ago Tim Schafer, known for other classics like Grim Fandango, said to the Internet “We’ll make a new game if you give us money” and people got out their wallets, leading to this game’s release. In games like these, you solve puzzles by exploring, talking to people, finding objects and using them in the right place. Some were notorious for being unforgiving (looking at you, King’s Quest series), and some had goofy, implausible puzzles (like one where you had to disguise yourself by making a mustache from cat hair and syrup), but Broken Age is nicely designed: you can never get in a situation that you can’t get out of, and the puzzles are entertaining but not exasperating. The art is lovely, with a style that looks almost as if it was all painted, and the settings are all detailed and fun to explore. Vella is also a fun, capable heroine, who rejects her world’s passive acceptance of Mog Chothra and breaks free of the cake skirt to find a different way to protect her village. The other half of the game explores the story of a young man named Shay, whose world couldn’t be any more different from Vella’s…

Right now, only the first half of the game is out, with the second half to come later this year. I think it’s well worth the price, and if you check it out, please let me know what you think of it!

It looks our our Oscar night winner is Lupita Nyong’o’s blue Prada gown! I don’t know when I will have that up – I will try for before the end of the month, but it might be later. Also, a 1910s outfit will be our contest prize; it beat out a pirate outfit and an evening gown with over half the vote. I will do some research and some sketches, so come back next Friday for a contest and a Japanese fairytale! Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for site updates, sneak previews and ridiculous amounts of fashion plates. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


Blue, White and Purple Ancient Greek Peplos with Gold Jewelry

A blue peplos, which is a sleeveless draped garment held up with pins at the shoulders. The top is folded over and is light blue, fading to white at the hem at the waist. At the edge of the fabric is a gold heart and line pattern. Underneath is the skirt part, which is a rich blue, turning purple towards the hem. At the hem of the ankle-length skirt are gold line, wave and scroll patterns. There is a bracelet with two large purple stones, a gold necklace with purple stones and gold drops and a diadem with a heart pattern and purple gems.This outfit is the result of my second contest, which I held over Twitter. An ancient Greek outfit won out over a 1930s dress or a fairy outfit, so I started a Pinterest board and did some research into what they were like. Happily, in this day and age plenty of the relevant information is easily available for free!


I’d be happy to hear about other good sources of information — for all I know, something new has been found since these books were printed! I wanted to read these books thoroughly and do more research, but didn’t have time. So I will probably continue, albeit slowly, even though this outfit is all done.

The winner of the contest, chosen by a random drawing, was Karen Martin, and here’s what she requested:

I think for colors, I’d like white, blue, and gold, with maybe some purple thrown in?

She also got to choose from a list of patterns, and she chose the wave, scroll and heart patterns you see on the outfit. So here it is! Karen, I hope you like it.

Let’s start a new contest! Part 1 is a poll, which will close next Thursday. Once I know what I’ll do next, I’ll do my research and draw a sketch, then hold the contest on the 21st. Here are your options…

Come back next week for a dress based on a key scene from one of the coolest games I’ve played in a long time! As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterestfor updates, sneak previews and lovely Art Nouveau pendant pictures. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


Livedolling the 2014 Oscars

Dresses for Penelope Cruz and Ellen DeGeneres. Peneleope's dress is pink and sleeveless with an empire waist. A length of pink fabric starts at the black ribbon under the bust and goes over the shoulder, falling behind her and draping over her arm like a shawl. Ellen is wearing a black velvet jacket, a vest and pants with a thin white scarf tied in a droopy bow.9:20 PM: And here’s Penelope Cruz and our host, Ellen DeGeneres. Let’s see, we have Best Costumes for The Great Gatsby, Cate Blanchett for Best Actress, Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor and 12 Years A Slave for Best Picture. That means no one got all four, but muddgirl and dannyscotland each got three. So you both win a recolored dress from the new series! Since I’ve just started out and there’s really only three choices (well, five if you count the dresses Mia and Leyla are wearing, but I wouldn’t) you’re free to wait for a better selection, or let me know if you’d like one right away – either way works for me! As for which of these drawings will become an actual dress, let’s put up a poll. It’s at the end of this post.

I’ve had lots of fun with this round of Oscars dresses! I hope to do it again next year, but next time I’ll make the post earlier so more people can enter.


Liza Minelli and Jennifer Garner's outfits. Liza is a satin top and pants set in royal blue, with one shoulder exposed. Jennifer's is a silver gown with spaghetti straps and a tiered skirt. 8:04: Here’s Liza Minelli and Jennifer Garner! I’ll probably be able to finish one or two more of these before I’m out for the night…


5:58: Taking the next hour off to put together dinner and get the boy in bed. I’ll pick out new outfits and start sketching again at 7.
5:45: Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence's gowns. Emma's is sleeveless with a scoop neck and is sparkly on the bodice, with a black belt, then sparkly at the top of the mermaid skirt, turning black towards the hem. Jennifer's is strapless and bright orange, with a peplum around the hips.Here’s Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence. I think the coloring on Jennifer’s is great, particularly! I’m up for taking suggestions, so if you see a dress you really like post in the comments. Caveats – the dress has to work on more than one skin color. For example, I may do Julia Roberts’ dress and just change the little lace panel in the middle, but Lady Gaga’s, with the net base, is probably out. The actual Oscars is going by now, right?


4:57: Mia and Leyla in Bette Midler and Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar gowns. Bette's is a cream mermaid dress with thick red lace, and Lupita's is a light blue gown with a low V neck and a full skirt, classically draped.Here’s sketches of Bette Midler and Lupita Nyong’o’s gowns to start with, straight from Procreate. It’s the first time I’ve posted an image that’s not a finished dress, but it looks like it’ll work right! Lupita’s gorgeous gown suffers from the dolls having underwear too wide to really permit a dramatic V-neck like that one…

4:00 (all times PST): Hello! I think the last times I did this I had more readers, so I don’t know if I’ll be all alone or not. If I have company, please say hi in the comments and enter my contest!

First things first: Let’s have a special Oscars contest! In the comments section, post your guesses for which movies will win Best Picture and Best Costume Design, and which actors will win Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress. (Click for the list of nominated movies.) The contest is closed when Best Costume Design is announced, one guess per person please, and it’s open to anyone. The prize for anyone who gets the right combination is an outfit from the Mia and Leyla series of dresses, recolored by me as you like. (You can put off your prize until there’s more dresses to choose from, if you like.)

I’ll be watching the Getty Images feed of red carpet images and posting sketches of red carpet gowns here…


Introducing Leyla!

An adult female paper doll in a white and purple gown. She has dark brown skin and black hair arranged in several small box braids that curve gently around her face and fall past her shoulders. Her eyes are brown with tiny gold flecks, and she has sparkly gold eyeshadow. Her lips are full and deep  red, and she is wearing pearl earrings. She is wearing a sleeveless dress with a scoop neck, slightly gathered at the shoulders. The top is white satin, decorated with a pattern of light grey spirals. Around her hips is a belt made of gold, with a sunburst pattern in the middle. Set in the middle of the belt is a brilliant topaz rounded with pearls. The skirt is long and trumpet shaped, flaring out at the calves, and is light magenta at the top and deep purple at the base. It is covered all over with sequins. She also wears a gold circlet decorated with pearls and a second topaz.Please welcome my second paper doll in the new series, Leyla! Her name was chosen from a set of six names I picked out, and as with Mia’s name it was close for a while there but Leyla was the winner. I hope you like her! I’m very happy with her, I had a good time drawing her hair.

With my previous sets of dolls I’ve only made two for each set, but my intention is to keep going and do a new one every month until I have enough dolls to put together a soccer team. Since Leyla has been released on time, I feel very confident that I will be able to pull that off. Their outfits aren’t going to get any more varied, I’m afraid, because the dolls themselves are rather a lot of work. I’m happy with the series dress theme, though. In my imagination, Mia, Leyla and the dolls to come after are the new goddesses of my paperdollverse, and so I thought to myself, what would this little pantheon like to wear? The answer, apparently, is “lots of sparkles.”

Speaking of goddesses, the contest on Twitter is over, and the winner is Karen Martin! (Her favorite Greek goddess, by the way, is Athena.) You will see how she chose to color an ancient Greek outfit next Friday. As I mentioned before, I’m going to start doing the contests on the blog after this, so if you would like to take part next time, just keep reading!

The Oscars are on March 2nd, and that means Oscar dresses! Twice before, I’ve “livedolled” the Oscars – that is, drawn some dresses straight from the red carpet. I did this in 2009, drawing three gowns, and in 2011, drawing an amazing four gowns. I’m ready to do it again this year, but with a twist. I’ll sketch the gowns I like on my iPad and post them here as I draw them. At the end, I’ll put up a poll for which one you all like best, then I’ll make the winner into a proper dress. Also, there’ll be a special Oscars contest! The red carpet starts at 7 PM EST, 4 PM Pacific. Join me and we’ll enjoy all those great gowns together!

As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for update notifications, links to things I find interesting and many, many fashion plates. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

In preparation for our Academy Awards party, let’s have a poll…