Altering 9891 Pattern
Up | Gloves & Boots | Sword & Kit | Making the Chase Outfit | Making the Buckle | Altering 9891 Pattern | Making the Chase Collar Lace
LOTR Home | Angel Dress | Chase Outfit | Bridge Dress | Farewell Dress | Dream Gown | Hope Dress | Requiem Outfit | Mourning Gown | Cranberry Gown | Blood Red Dress | Coronation Gown | Midnight Cloak | Arch Dress | Lavender Bead Dress | Rose Dress | Battle Outfit | White Weta Gown | Arwen's Things

The Hobbit
News 'n'  Exhibits
Quick Costumes
Making 'Em
Buy It
Search Us
Contact Us


Complete steps for altering Simplicity pattern #9891 to Arwen's Chase Outfit

V1.0 (June, 2003)

By Jennifer L. Lopez

Note this will make a dress close, but not exact to Arwen's dress.  If you wish exact, you will have to continue your research and pattern modifications. This is meant to be a starting point.

Note: if 9891 is not available, look for Simplicity's newer LOTR pattern 4940.  Many of the adjustments will be the same, but the armhole area has been fixed for better movment.

Index for altering

  • Material needed
  • Misc Notes
  • Altering Steps

Materials needed:

  •  Pattern paper (dot paper recommended)
  • Pattern #9891
  • Tracing wheel
  • Pins
  • Pen, pencil, chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • L square
  • Hip curve
  • Invisible tape
  • Paper cutting shears/rotary cutter
  • Dress form (optional)

Misc Notes:

Seam allowances

  • Simplicity patterns work with 5/8” seam allowance, contrary to industry seam allowances:
    • Neck, facings: Ό”
    • CB: 1”
    • All other, including zippers: ½”


  • CF = Center Front
  • CB = Center Back
  • pc. = piece
  • #/# = adjoined pattern pieces
  • * = look for adjoining note

Original Pattern Pieces

  • 1 - Center Front Dress panel - becomes center front bodice and 1/2 skirt front
  • 2 - Side Front Dress panel - becomes side front bodice and 1/2 skirt front
  • 3 - Center Back Dress panel - becomes center back bodice and 1/2 skirt back
  • 4 - Side Back Dress panel - becomes side back bodice and 1/2 skirt back
  • 14 - Collar Front becomes collar facing

Altering Steps:

First, cut out all pieces of 9891 for view C, including all sleeve pieces. Omit streamers. Cut bodice panels to view B length.

Constructing the new bodice piece

Pin piece 14 (the neck piece) to piece 1 (the center front dress piece), matching notches, with seam allowance facing out (wrong sides together). Make sure seam allowance on pc. 14 overhangs pc. 1. Fold seam allowance down. Blend CF seam allowance to piece 14 and blend curve on the left hand side of the pattern.

Create a larger collar and blend to back neck curve. (top of piece 14)  Extend about 1 1/2" blending down to almost nothing at back.

You will note that the joining of these pieces creates a little corner on your left hand side. You will need to smooth that out. Pin joined patterns to dot paper and trace completely, noting dots and notches and grain line. Pencil in on dot paper. With hip curve, smooth out corner. Fig. 1

Fig 1

A: Bend pieces so there is a smooth line


On piece 2, likewise, smooth in corner with hip curve. You do not need to retrace this piece*, but “walk” the piece to the traced off 14/1 piece. Just make sure that the new smoothed out curves of both pieces fit and there will not be excessive ease. Do not add any new seam allowance. It is already there.

On traced out 14/1 piece, mark a 2” extension on collar edge by marking off with measuring tape and blend into back curve of collar. Smooth out to finish new large rolled collar. Do not add seam allowance to collar, it is already there. Fig. 1

Modifying Skirt for Scallop

With hip curve, scallop in on CF bottom of piece 1 to achieve front petal.

Add 5/8” seam allowance to CF and scalloped curve at bottom of piece 1, blending into bottom hem so CF seam allowance matches pc. 14. Fig. 2

Fig 2

B: Scallop modification on bottom of skirt

Separate Bodice and Skirt

*If you wish to separate the bodice from skirt and to blend princess lines on skirt, cut all panel pieces at waistline mark (on original tissue), making sure seams match. Pin together skirt pieces 1 and 2, and likewise with pieces 3 and 4. Fold seam allowances toward CF or CB.  Add 5/8” seam allowance to new bodice bottom and skirt top. Do not add seam allowances anywhere else. Trace new panels 1/2  and 3/4 on pattern paper. Cut out. Set aside. Fig. 3

Fig 3

C:  Cut piece 1 and 2 apart at your natural  waist. 


Note: to make the dress closer to the real dress... you will need to add a downward point to piece 1 and adjust the skirt (combo piece 1 & 2) as well.  About 2 inches.  Concentrate point on piece 1.

Create Collar Facing

On new pattern paper, trace off pc. 14 to create a facing. Add extension, but make it 1/8” longer (2 1/8”). When the pattern is sewn, the seam will be rolled over and hidden from view.

Finish Bodice Waistline

On bodice, pieces one and two, mark above waistline where cord loops for sash will go. There are six loops, three on each side. Mark first loop ½" from waistline mark (waistline mark is 5/8” from bottom). Mark all other loops 1 Ύ” from first loop in sequence.

Note: in original we do not have a belt that surrounds the whole dress.  Study the pictures and make adjustments... but recognize that you need to make sure the waist is finished very cleanly.

Front is done. Set aside all pieces.

Back Altering

On back, pin back yoke and CB panel. Dress will have CB zipper closure.

Note, you may move this to center front but we do not give instructions here.  If you do center front... it must be an invisible zipper or hidden hook and eye tape.

On pieces 3 and 4, mark where back sash will go. Mark Ύ” from waistline mark up.

Back is done. Set aside all pieces.

Sleeve Altering

For sleeve, the total sleeve length should go from sleeve cap (shoulder ridge) to four inches below the knuckle. Measure from shoulder ridge to elbow. This is the longest the top sleeve pattern should be. Measure from elbow to 4” below the knuckle. This is how long the lower petal sleeve shall be.

Trace top sleeve pattern onto pattern paper. Mark all notches and dots. From sleeve cap, measure down for first measurement. Mark off. Measure from that mark to bottom of pattern. With new measurement, mark off the whole bottom of the pattern. This is the new bottom of the pattern.

On sides of pattern, mark off 2” for inside seam. With hip curve, blend from center of sleeve (the longest, outside elbow), to new marks. Add seam allowance (5/8”) to bottom. This is the new top sleeve.  Fig. 4

Fig 4

D: New Measurement

E: Outside elbow

Cut a pattern paper 22” in length. Fold in half. Place new top sleeve pattern center on fold of sleeve, so that half the pattern is on the paper, half is hanging off. Pin in place and trace bottom of new top sleeve.

With hip curve, blend out from side of sleeve to extend the curve of the sleeve. This new mark should look like a curved line going up and towards the right side of the paper. Measure this line with measuring tape from the side of sleeve 4”. This line is now the top of the lower petal sleeve.

Remove top sleeve. Take slower sleeve measurement and cross mark on fold of paper. Using your discretion, shape out sleeve. Add seam allowance to entire bottom petal sleeve. Set aside. Fig. 5

Fig 5

E: Paper

F: Over hang

G: Lower measurement

H: Notch

I: Now top of arm sleeve piece

Additional info on making Petal Wrap sleeves <here>

Under Sleeve

To create the pleated under sleeve, again, fold another piece of pattern paper and trace off bottom hem of the top sleeve. Measure from elbow to knuckle. Cross mark measurement going from traced off mark to left side of paper. Using hip curve, create slight curve from this cross mark to make bottom under sleeve hem. Make as wide as you wish. At end of mark, draw a straight line with L square to the top of the traced off mark. This line is the underarm seam of under sleeve. Cut out piece. Cut off half of piece and work with left hand side (back) of sleeve).

Divide this piece into equal fourths and mark lines. Mark these sections from left to right 1-4. Cut pieces. Take a new piece of pattern paper and fold in half. Tape piece 4 (center) onto the fold line. Fig. 6

Fig 6

J: The undersleeve, pattern before it is separated

Mark 1” away (towards left) and tape piece 2. You can add as much ease as you wish. Continue in this manner until all pieces are taped. Blend bottom and top of piece. Add seam allowances. Set aside. Fig. 7

Fig 7

Pieces spread to form flared undersleeve.

Sleeve cap

To create sleeve cap overhang, measure sleeve cap of top sleeve pattern piece with measuring tape. On new pattern paper, draw this measurement in straight line. At center of line, square down a line 2” in length. With hip curve, curve a line from ends of the cap measurement line to the end of the 2” line. Add seam allowance to the curved line, not the cap measurement line.  Fig. 8

Fig 8

K: Dotted line is the same measurement on both the sleeve and the sleeve cap

For under petals on dress, take joined pieces 1 and 2 and trace off on new paper. Add 3” to lower hem and blend to CF to create scalloped front. Add ½ of width of piece 1 and 2 to left hand side of the under petal. Add seam allowance to left hand side. Fig. 9
For back under petal, trace off joined piece 3 and four. Add 3” to lower hem. Add ½ width of piece to right hand side. Add seam allowance to right side.

Pattern Card for Arwen Dress:

  • Self (gray cloth):
    • 1 CF (pieces 1 and 14 joined) bodice Cut 2
    • 1 Front Side (piece 2) Cut 2
    • 1 Front Petal (joined 1 and 2 skirt) Cut 2
    • 1 CB (back yoke and CB piece) bodice Cut 2
    • 1 Back Side Cut 2
    • 1 Back Petal (joined 3 and 4 skirt) Cut 2
    • 1 Front yoke Cut 2
    • 1 back yoke Cut 2
    • 1 top sleeve Cut 2
    • 1 petal sleeve Cut 4
    • 1 Sleeve cap Cut 4
  • Contrast 1 (lavender chiffon):
    • 1 front petal Cut 2
    • 1 back petal Cut 2
    • 1 under sleeve Cut 2
  • Contrast 2 (lace…do not include if you are embroidering collar facings)
    • 1 front yoke Cut 2
  • Interfacing:
    • Sleeve cap Cut 2
    • Collar yokes Cut 4

Note: you can line the entire gown by cutting double of bodice panels, top sleeves, and top skirts with either Self or interfacing to stiffen fabric.

Looking for more on altering the chase dress, check <here>

LOTR Home | Angel Dress | Chase Outfit | Bridge Dress | Farewell Dress | Dream Gown | Hope Dress | Requiem Outfit | Mourning Gown | Cranberry Gown | Blood Red Dress | Coronation Gown | Midnight Cloak | Arch Dress | Lavender Bead Dress | Rose Dress | Battle Outfit | White Weta Gown | Arwen's Things
Up | The Hobbit | News 'n'  Exhibits | Characters | Quick Costumes | Making 'Em | Buy It | Resources | Community | Search Us | Contact Us

This page was last updated 04/22/08