Pattern Detail
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Pattern Detail: Galadriel's Prolog Dress

Elf dresses are designed to be worn on people with little hip or bust.  Therefore, there is very little shaping to the dress.  Most of the design is based on fabric choice and beading detail.

Galadriel's prolog dress is typical of all her dresses, as well as a number of other elves.  In the description, we will note standards vs. what is unique for this dress.

Basic Description

This dress is a once piece dress, but because of the odd pattern shaping, we will refer to the pieces as bodice and skirt.


  • The dress has no seaming in front or darts shaping it.  (This allows for the full beauty of the fabric to shine though.
  • There are side seams that are doing the shaping
  • There is an invisible zipper in the center back. 
  • There is an odd shaped waist seam that starts high center back at the waist line and drops towards the hips and ends in a point at center front. 
    • That seam  is hidden under the belt. 
  • Note: This is the standard shape for all the main elf dresses.

Neck line

  • Neckline is a very wide scoop in front and back, almost boat necked.  (Think the wide sweeping outline of the hull of a ship.)
  • Like the Mirror Dress there is about a 2 inch wide strip of fabric that forms the "unique" design of this dress.  The strip forms a shaped neck facing.  Over the top is lightly draped fabric to form a cowl like folds of fabric at the neckline. 
    • Note, this is *not* actually a cowl neck because the under-facing is shaped and lays flat.
Note the neckline is very wide but not a deep scoop, almost off the shoulders. Very blurry, but you can see some of the back of the neckline where it is not covered by the hair.  Note how the back scoops almost the same as the front.


  • One part, tight at upper arm, quickly flaring at elbow.  Extends far beyond finger tips


  • The front panel of the skirt is seamed straight and very well matched.
    • So well matched that it was not until the belt was moved on the dress at the FIDM exhibit, that one could even tell there was a seam there.
  • The sides seams flares out on both the front and back.
  • The dress trains in back about 8" to 10".
  • The center back seam of the skirt is cut at about a 45 degree angle.
    • Angle is guessed at from observation based on the geometric design of the fabric..  Just about every other pattern in the design is matched up...
  • The skirt  is bag lined, so it is likely that the top half of the dress is flat lined.  The main seam is at the waist.
    • Actually this construction technique makes quite a bit of sense considering that Cate was down in New Zealand for a very short time before the shooting started.
    • Fit the dress inside out, fit the sides of the bodice, the attach the pre-hemmed skirt at the waist by truing it.... and quick fit... all done.

This blurry shot from the back of the display at FIDM shows the seam of the "invisible" zipper. 

This zipper extends all the way up the crown neck in back.  There is no attempt to hide it.  (cannot see it here, was confirmed the first week the figure was on display before it got hair.


Prelim (and badly done sketch) New version coming soon.
  • Ignore the top of the bodice and the sleeve.  Neck should be wider, there is a facing there the bodice is attached to.
  • Front on left, back on right
  • The bodice seam is 100% correct.  It really cuts to a point in front, sits at the hips and ends at high back... exactly where the waist sits.
Skirt pattern, standard
  • Center front (left), straight w/ selvage, seamed, side flared.
  • Back dotted line (right) is aprox center back.  Flared on side and in back.  Trained.
  • Note dotted line at waist.  That is the natural waist vs. the dark line is the shape.

Notes for recreating this dress

If you are not very rectangle shaped, you will not be able to recreate this pattern exactly  with out darts or princess seaming.  How you shape it will depend on your body type.

  • Note... I'm not stating "thin", just hips, bust and waist need to be close to the same measurements.  So, large ladies built rectangle as well as very thin, no bust or hips, will be able to wear the exact pattern, others with have to add subtle darting or additional seaming to shape.

  • Since no pattern exists exactly like this you will need to do a muslin.  Do it with very wide seams.   If the dress (and skirt) are heavily beaded, the final dress will fit different than the muslin because of the weight of the skirt.  Fit the dress inside out.  Pin the skirt to the bodice at the line where the belt will sit.

  • Don't be afraid to tack down the belt to keep it laying perfectly over the seam.  It laces down the back so you can still unzip with the belt attached.  (Tacking something in to place is a very "movie" thing to do anyway.)


  • The pattern is really only for the advanced sewer... check out our elf pattern section for some patterns that are quite close.

-- pattern and notes by Cat, from a number of hours spent with this dress when it was shown at FIDM in 2001


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This page was last updated 04/22/08