Amaryllis - California, USA
Arwen's Mourning Gown
Yay! I love this costume. How do I begin? I made this for Comic-Con 2004. I thought I started early enough, but I ended up completely frantic and sewing like crazy for a week before hand. So a lot of it got rushed at the very last minute.
The Fabric: Cheaped out and didn't get silk velvet, but regular boring velvet. It's a dark midnight blue. I got a faux silk for the red - belt, trim, etc. Navy blue poly chiffon for the veil. Paper mache, gold spray paint, and puffy paint for the crown. Gross, I know, but I was running out of time.
The Materials: The buttons are the real ones from Hushco. The alleycatscratch.com people sold them to me ^_^ The trims are all from Jo-Anns! I work there, so I managed to collect stuff in a year or so that I thought would work. Gold leaf sequins, a double twisted gold rope that I twisted apart and used for the bullion, a gold trim with loops on both sides (I cut the loops off one of the sides), tan bias tape, seed beads, this weird gold tapey stuff that I cut up for my gold mallorn leaves, gold music note appliques that I cut up and pretended were embroidery, gold loops for jewelry making, gray chenille, and even a bit of puffy paint. I think that's it. For the trim.
*pant pant pant*
The pattern: I used parts of McCalls 4490 (bodice), Simplicity 5041 (sleeves), and another Simplicity I seem to have lost (skirt).
The Process: Most of the problems I ran into early on were sizing issues. I have to alter just about everything because I'm so short and skinny. ;_; I had a hard time making the bodice fit, and I eventually gave in and put (horribly innaccurate) darts down the back. The waistline is a..v waist? What's that called, a drop waist? You know. The way Arwen's is. I did it that way ^^;
The sleeves and skirt all came together fine, except that the skirt wasn't full enough. Then I moved on to the oh so tragic and traumatizing trim.
Most of the trims I've seen done have seemed really "chunky" compared to the original. I don't know what Ngila and crew did, but it's amazingly hard to duplicate. I tried really hard, but it's still pretty "chunky". Maybe the best way is to just cut up a sari like others have done, and go for showmanship instead of accuracy. But what can I say, I made a good effort.
Most of the trim is glued on with the almighty Fab-Ri-Tac. I bought some chenille that looked right and cut it up into the thistles and glued them on. Next came the bullion (with the ropey stuff i bought) scrolling around it. Then I cut up my music note appliqués (i'm sorry, I think that's really clever ^_^;;) into little "half moons" and glued them on where they belonged. Then I added my gold leaf sequins, which seemed like a cheap idea but I actually liked how they looked on there. Shiny, like the original. Next I moved on the beading, which I did with the good ol' needle and thread. It took hours upon hours upon hours. After all this, I looked at it and cried because it looked so chunky and inaccurate. I decided that the mass of indistinct gold in the reference pictures was gold mallorn leaves, so I cut up my gold tapey stuff and hand glued each vein on to some gold fabric, and they turned out really pretty looking. So I glued those on facing opposite directions in the blankest spots, and then I began to get really happy with it.
I attached these "armbands" by simply basting them to the sleeves. Seemed best to me, for some reason. It works.
The neckline was a really hard. Apparently I cut it crooked, but since I didn't realize that at the time, I beaded/glued/whatevered the entire thing, added my red splash of triangle, adn then tried it on and cried because it was off center. It was too late to do anything about it, so I simply put the buttons on askew of the center waist seam and went to Comic Con. I'm planning on taking apart and recutting the entire bodice so it fits right. But it works for pictures at this point - I can "yank it into position".
The skirt is too long, but that's okay because I'm abnormally short and I like to keep it fresh for others, if that makes any sense.
The crown, another thing i'm redoing. Paper mache, gold spray paint, and puffy paint. I'm so going to Micheals and doing it with gold foil like I should have in the first place. I'll let you know when I fix it.
The belt was really easy. I used the design from Simplicity 9891 and altered it a little bit. Turned out great, I think.
The veil was fairly easy for me as well. It's dark navy poly chiffon, cut in the simple shape, and hemmed. I don't have a serger so I couldn't make it really pretty, but I did my best. On that sweet day I get a serger, I'll cut it a little smaller and redo the hem.
Speaking of hems, I did the best I could with my ghetto machine - a somewhat scalloped hem for the skirt and sleeves. It's not perfectly accurate (not wide enough), but it's the best I could do without buying a new machine.
I think that's it. I love this costume. With all it's problems, I love it.
This page was last updated 11/21/09