Celtic Gown in Green and Gold with Clovers for St. Patrick’s Day

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

Hey, happy St. Patrick’s Day! (As if I need an excuse for a green dress.)

This is a vaguely Celtic-style gown with red and white clover flowers and four-leaf clovers. Unsurprisingly, I like this style of dress, but — not having much familiarity with Celtic or Irish anything — I have no idea if it’s actually based in any sort of Irish historical fact, or if it’s more of a modern creation mainly suited for Renaissance fairs. Things like that bother me more than they should, and I tried to figure it out, but after about 6:00 a sort of feeling of “Whatever, it’ll be pretty, stop fussing over details” comes over me and I just draw what I have… Still, I think I’ll file this one under “fantasy” and not “historical.”

Colored 1700s Gown in Gold, White and Pink

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

Trazy won the contest before last, for being the closest to guess our wedding anniversary (August 9th). She wrote: “i think i would like the newest balck and white dress to be colored in the gold colors, and have some kind of royal feel to it. I want the bows/decorations/trimmings to be pink, and the rest either white, gold, tan, or something similar. the skirt should have some kind of lighter golden swirly royal pattern, a lighter gold than the background…”

I would write more about this dress, but this one took me four hours to color, and there is a sort of tingling feeling in the tip of my left thumb, plus I’m having trouble feeling the pad of my left index finger now as I type. I might have overdone it… but it was worth it!

Two Prom Dresses from Liana’s Paper Doll Boutique

Click for the doll.

So I said I drew a few prom dresses for the Boutique, and here are the first two of them! I don’t think they’re particularly based on any real gowns, but it’s been a long time…

Johanna at 18th century fashion linked to a sort of museum social networking site, Creative Spaces which is a way to tag, collect and organize works from different museums that are participating. I love this, because one of my biggest issues is, say, looking for gowns from a specific year and going through this crazy avalanche of Google image searches and bookmarks and links to sites I’ve never seen before and links to sites I’ve used before and then forgetting where I saw what. I’m sure there’s some widget I could use to fit with my stream-of-consciousness research style, but in the meantime I like where this is going. If you join up, add me as a contact and then explore the Things Liana Likes notebook!

Empire Waist Light and Dark Purple Prom Dress with Sequins and Scroll Embroidery

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

So I got an e-mail from a reader named Brittany who also likes to draw paperdolls, and she suggested that I do some more up-to-date outfits, maybe some pants, shorts, bathing suits and dresses “that are actually in this time period.” (Her e-mail was very sweet and not snarky at all, I just thought that phrasing was funny!) I wrote back to her, but for some reason the response didn’t go through, so I’ll post the reply here:

I think that’s great that you design your own outfits! (It’s fun, isn’t it? :) ) The problem with more fashionable outfits is that I, personally, am possibly the least fashionable human being in America, I wear boring clothes myself and don’t watch much TV or read fashion magazines. So when I think of what’s going on in my life that I might want to draw a paperdoll about, I don’t often think of something cool ;) But you’re really right, that it would be interesting to have more modern, stylish outfits as well, so I will consider some outfits like
that for the future. I used to draw prom dresses when I was in high school, but I haven’t paid attention to prom styles for a while… maybe I’ll start there! Thank you for the suggestion. :)

And it’s true, I mostly wear pretty but unfashionable dresses and skirts. Pretty clothes are one thing, but fashion, constantly changing clothes and adornments that send messages about class, taste and individuality, that’s a whole different animal. To me, style is like a language where my mastery is limited to asking “Is this vegetarian?” and “Where is the bathroom?” So for this particular project I’ll start with something I can get into: prom dresses. After all, it looks like your average prom dress is as far removed from catwalks and Vogue as I am.

Now, looking through prom dresses, they don’t seem too different from the kinds that were around when I was in high school — except that the pick-up skirt is a new one on me. I can see it as a design element, part of a well-balanced dress, but the full pick-up skirt that looks like a poofy, sloppy, satin pineapple? Let’s just say I think the pick-up skirt ought to get off of my darn lawn. I can sort of understand the appeal on an intellectual level, I didn’t mind this one, but it just seems that the line between “opulent and romantic” and “sloppy trainwreck” is just so easily crossed. Well, the children of 2030 need something to laugh at, I guess. Aside from that, it seems like the ball gown skirt is out, sleeves of any sort are out, fussy (aside from those pick-up skirts) is out, and a more classical look – albeit one dressed up with sparkles and pretty designs – is in. Here’s my take on one — and yes, the white paint pen is definitely a new toy.

I didn’t end up going to prom (graduated before the year was over, it’s a long story — although I doubt I could have talked my husband, then my boyfriend, into it anyways) but for those of you who did, what kind of dress did you have?