Blood Red Dress
Making of the Blood Red Dress
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Arwen's Blood Red Dress

Two part dress - V2.3- Dec. 2004


This is a two piece dress.  Sometimes called "Dying"

Identifying shot:


Fabrics: There are 4 fabrics

  • In the pictures we "think" we see the top layer as dark burgundy or black silk velvet dress/jumper.   Guesses included that it may be a burgundy fabric with a black nap.  What it turns out to be is dark midnight blue silk velvet, custom dyed. 
  • The  trim and upper sleeves are made from a paisley  red, with black and gold accents.  Probably an Indian cotton print, but a good chance it could also be silk.
  • The lower sleeves appear blood red silk velvet, but described as a dark rose velvet.
  • The lower sleeves are lined in a matching, but thinner fabric, we will spec that it too is silk.
  • The underdress is also midnight blue.  It appears to be the same velvet.
Photos from the standee, by Itty Bitty Kitty  


The midnight blue over dress is fitted in the bodice area and then swings wide and the skirt trains and pools around her feet.  There are no seams except at the sides.  Looking at the full length shots, the dress appears to be over long both front and back, about 6-12 inches.  Based on the drape of the dress, it is doubtful there are any gore inserts... but we need to see the dress in motion to tell.  There are seams only in the side in front. 

If the dress is patterned the same way as the Requiem dress, it will have a seam down the center back and an invisible zipper.  The back will be a little more flared because of this extra seam.  The neck of the dress is wide enough that there may not be a zipper in the back and the gown may just snug on.  If so, the dress is only two widths of velvet wide.  Odds are there is a zipper.

The neckline is formed from a bias cut band of the paisley fabric.  Width is about 3/4 inch.    The velvet has been gathered slightly into the neck band.

CU of neck trim, see the paisley band on the edge Another cu of the bullion on net  trim.  Remember, this trim is over dyed that's why the red is blending in.
  Here's a close of the edge that we though was the sleeve cap.  We're seeing the overdress on the band, then the wide trim.  Note how it is buckling slightly where it is shaped around the tight swoop up the shoulder.    Also note the rough bottom edge.  We see something like this in the white weta dress too.

The arm hole is either only slightly shaped... or just an open seam.  A fair bit of the underdress can be seen.  (That's why we though we were seeing a sleeve cap.)

There is no sleeve cap attached to the overdress.  It is just the underlayer of trim being pulled up by the weight of the dress.  (For the first two years, we did believe there were sleeve caps.


The under dress must be mostly a guess.   It has a wide boat neck/ scooped neck.  It is wide enough that it ends off her shoulder.

The blue underdress is attached to band.

The antique gold trim is approximately 2 inches thick.  The trim appears to have been over-dyed so it's gold and pinkish red. It has a straight  edge side and an ornate decorative side.  On the collar, the straight edge side is towards the bottom.

The narrow upper sleeves are the paisley fabric.  Given how shear the cotton is, there is probably an underlayer of a solid fabric to give extra body to support the rest of the sleeves.

There is a band of the same antique gold trim attached to the sleeve.  Straight edge faces down.

 Lower sleeves look to be blood red.  However, Ngila states this is "deep rose" velvet.  The sleeve pattern is circle cut.  Together they use 4.5 meters of fabric (per Ngila).  It is most likely that the sleeves are really a half circle each.     Sleeves extend to lower calf.

These sleeves are bag lined with a thinner, matching fabric.
Note seam at top of sleeve.  This may be the "confirmation" that these are bigger than a half circle.  (Matches our draping attempts.) CU of the paisley fabric

Per interviews, this is also Ngila's favorite Arwen dress.

From "The Art of ROTK", Ngila Dickson interview

"In this combination of dusky rose and midnight blue, Arwen's character rests at the brink of death.  We used antique lace combination around the neck and sleeves, over-dyed and then layered into with more embroidery to affect both weight and delicacy.  It  needed to express Arwen caught between two worlds, the exquisite otherworldliness of the Elves, and the weight of her love for Aragorn and humankind, which leads her to this near-sacrifice."
Sleeve trims from the Standee, two enhancements.  


Reference Photos

Click for our details on Making the Blood Red Dress

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This page was last updated 04/22/08