My Material Life

The Paper Doll Post, Part 1

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This is the doll that I got from Dori Duncan at Camp Fashionista when Samantha and I went there to make paper dolls last month.  I finished mine at home because I knew I had some fabric from a previous project that I wanted to use with Dori’s coat and boot patterns.  When I saw her doll on her website in a grey flannel version of this jacket and the boots (complete with the small brads you see above used as buttons), I just about flipped; I loved it so much.

The doll is shown au naturel above with a few faint pencil lines of my own for a face (a Lauren Child influence).  She is also shown dressed with the fabric cut-out coat, boots, bag and colored leggings and sunglasses (black marker on a small acetate rectangle).  I used jump rings for earrings.

Finishing this project was so fun; I could name the inspiration for each of the choices I made (the fabric, using the same fabric for all three pieces, the lettering, etc.) from something I’d done or seen in the past.  In fact, when it was all done, I looked at it and thought, this reminds me of something; I know I’ve seen this before.  And in an instant I remembered the image I had in mind.  It was a birthday party invitation I received from my friend Edris when we were kids in the seventies.  And you know what else?  I still have that invitation and you can see a photo of it below.  Why did I keep it?  Because I have good taste of course!  I guess I always knew it was one of the best invitations I would ever receive.

In the gallery above you can see what I used the red plaid fabric for originally – you can read more about that in the post, Red Plaid Bags I Have Known and Loved.  Also shown is Louise de Vilmorin’s Salon Bleu from an unknown magazine.  See same fabric used on curtains as well as all the various upholstered pieces.  Finally, I’ve included an image showing the lettering I did for a window display that was the inspiration for my cut-out paper paper doll post lettering.

But now back to Dori’s doll.  In her paper doll sessions, she has a number of patterns you can use to cut out various types of garments for your doll.  The nice thing about my plaid is that the reverse side was coated with a sheet of plastic that I’d applied (you can buy this in the fabric store).  That coating prevents fraying of the cut edges.  If you’d like to do the same, you could simply apply fusible interfacing to your fabric scraps before you cut out the clothing for your dolls.  That will do the trick too.

I’m so happy I took Dori’s fashion illustration class because now I know how to draw my own fashion figures that I could also turn into paper dolls.  I’m not sure where that will get me in life, but once a paper doll lover, always a paper doll lover.  If you are also interested in making your own dolls and the clothing patterns for them, I recommend you pick up a fashionary (wrote about it in this post) and have a look at the beautiful book below.  The Lucky Guide To Mastering Any Style is one of my favorite style books.  It will give you so many ideas for beautiful clothing for your dolls and more importantly, for you.

And now I leave you with the prose from Edris’ party invitation from all those years ago.  Look for Part 2 of The Paper Doll Post coming soon.

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