Friday, July 13, 2012

Paper doll costuming

Paper costuming concepts, or making it up as I go... 

Today I though I'd take a look at the costume of this doll. I call her Origami. A few people have asked me about it. If you read my post last week, you'll know this figure won Best Overall Doll in the Doll Street Re-imagine History challenge. woo hoo! I was so excited! I won some great prizes!

My first thought, once I'd come up with the concept, was to focus on the kimono. Then colour came into it. I decided, along with the temple devotee idea, that white was the way to go. I've been wanting to make an all white doll for some time. So, the time arrived!!

Then there was the decision to use crepe paper. My mother sewed up miles of crepe paper as Easter bonnets when I was a kid. If she could do it, so could I! Not too much sewing though, I glued most of it! It's an advantage of working with paper!

The kimono

I'm familiar with the kimono shape, since I designed my Geisha cloth doll costume pattern. It's simple, yet effective. Rectangles of paper, folded over at the edges, became the kimono. For the sleeves, I took inspiration from the pagoda. Crepe paper spreads nicely, so I exploited this to create the slight ruffle at the cuffs. It gathers nicely too, so the pagoda shapes were a combination of the two effects.

Looking at the back, I supported the skirt with an under bustle , then the underskirt was pinned on. The idea of a bustle on the outside grew out of the pagoda sleeve effect. I just rolled up more paper to give it some ooompf!

An obi completes the connection and hides all the gathers of the skirt and ruffles. The braid could have been done with hair, but I was in love with the white motif by now, so braided paper fit the bill.

Heads up!

The hat was an origami fold, called the Lilly box, I think!! I'm terrible at keeping notes!! I used this fold years ago for another doll, but did not write  the name of the fold down. It took me ages to find it again!! A little glue was required to hold the folds, as the paper is too soft for true origami.

The costume is fragile and having toted it around from the studio to home and then to doll club, there are a few tears. So, the next step is to re-do the costume in white fabric. So stay tuned!!

Memories light the corners of my mind

I've done an antique looking photo, to capture her forever in the past. Once I redo the costume, this doll will be gone. So photos are all I will have as a memory, just like when I sell a piece, I still have to photos. So photograph your work, people!!
Tip Junkie handmade projects


  1. Thank you for giving us the details of how you created her costume.

  2. Very modern alternative to the kimono and Geisha... She's very elegant and lovely ... How very inspiring that you used origami folding for her hat .... I found your costume description and creation very interesting...Wonderful Post !!!...Hugs


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