Black And White Short-Sleeved Princess Gown with Wave Patterns

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

I wanted to draw a princess-ish dress today, but it’s too hot and even drawing loads of fabric seems unappealing. (OK, so even with short sleeves, even if you imagine the fabric to be fairly light this is still quite a lot of imaginary fabric, but Ivy doesn’t have the same concerns in her life that I do, so it’s all right.) This one seems a little boring to me, but colored (maybe in light, cool colors) with a little pattern here and there, I bet it’d be really cute.

Brian and I saw The Secret of Kells today, a fantastic animated movie about The Book of Kells. The art style is absolutely gorgeous and intricate, and the story was charming as well. The waves here are kind of influenced by it, come to think of it, although I didn’t really realize until Brian pointed it out!

Time for a new contest! Winner gets to pick any one of my black-and-white dresses and tell me how they want it to be colored. The last one got a mite tedious, so this one will run from now until 9:00 PM EST, June 2nd.

How many visits did my site get between (and including) April 1, 2010 and April 30, 2010?

Don’t forget the rules…
1) If you’ve already won this year, please don’t enter.
2) One guess per person per post.
3) If no one gets the exact number by 9:00 PM EST, June 2nd, I’ll pick the closest guess.
4) I’ll give one hint each day the contest goes on.

Edit: It’s Sunday, and I’m not posting a paperdoll today but I am posting a hint! It’s between 10,000 and 30,000.

For my poll, it looks like summer has pulled ahead slightly…

1922 Pink Dress with Burgundy Trim and Lace Panels Inspired by the Adventures of Sally by P.G. Wodehouse

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

I’m afraid my dolls generally aren’t cut out for the straight lines that make 1920s fashion look so good, but I did a 1922 dress anyways because I just finished listening to The Adventures of Sally by P.G. Wodehouse, read by Kara Shallenberg. Romantic comedy isn’t so much my thing, but it was amusing (and I often listen to audiobooks while doing things like washing dishes, so amusing beats edifying in terms of audiobook content). And of course Wodehouse is Wodehouse, so it was a fun little portrait of the character of everyone involved. Sally, who of course is the main character, comes into an inheritance early on, so I imagine she went out and bought a couple new dresses, and because everyone spends the rest of the book falling madly in love with her I suppose that they were properly cute.

I really like the idea of doing four main themes for October costumes – give me suggestions and I’ll put up a poll closer to October. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do see the entry for September 4th.

As for my colored pencil guessing game, no one has hit on the exact number yet…

1944 White Apron with Yellow Trim and Pink and Yellow Flower Pattern on Pink Striped Dress

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Janel pointed me to the Commercial Pattern Archive the other day, in the last days of a one-week free trial, and until the gates were closed I spent hours saving pattern images to my computer and posting excited tweets about the experience. Just like the name says, it’s an attempt to preserve patterns, but the exciting thing for me is just how nicely it’s organized. You see, I’m always listening to audiobooks, figuring out when the story is set and then looking frantically for clothes made not in that time period, not in that decade but in that year. This usually involves a few Google Image searches, a trip through my bookmarks (stored as regular bookmarks, on and in random drafts in my gmail account), and long, windy trails of clicking and then forgetting the location of this or that image I meant to save. This is all my fault, because I’m not organized, and so that’s what makes this site so nice. I say “My book is set in 1921,” click and feast my eyes. Now, is it nice enough that I’d pay $120 a year for it? No, I’m afraid not. Happily, Erin from A Dress A Day has set up a COPA co-op, and I’m in as soon as I know where to send the check.

In the meantime, I sure did save some pretty patterns. This apron is from 1944, and I just adore it, especially that entirely useless little ruffly bit at the hem. The dress underneath is just a basic dress, just the same look and shape as one of the ones on the pattern front, so it should be reasonably correct for the 1940s. Also of note is my late 1800s illustration collection – some day soon when I am alert and not busy and have good lighting I want to do a crazy, flowered, ruffly ballgown or two from that era.

Green Dress with White Tunic and Daisies for April

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

So I did a birthday dress for January and then proceeded to ignore February and March — I’m very sorry, anyone with birthdays in those months who was waiting for one. (I’ll do them this month, since belated birthday presents are better than nothing, right?) This is a dress for April, since one of the birth flowers for this month is the daisy. Like January’s, it’s intended to be vaguely angelic, but not based in any particular theology — I think of the birthday dresses as like those little statues you can buy for a kid every year where the characters get older, actually.

January’s drives me crazy, because the white part on the red skirt, there were supposed to be flowers in there, and I got fed up with the dress and it was late and I never drew them in. Maybe I’ll dig it out of my box and put them in, then it won’t bug me… This one I like a lot, though, so that makes up for many failures.

Yeah, no April Fool’s joke for you this year, sorry. Maybe next year!