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Amy - Virginia

Galadriel's Mirror Dress 

My version of Galadriel's Mirror Dress was a complete surprise. Usually, I see a costume I want to make, and then spend a few months gathering supplies as I see them and finally get started.  But this one was made for a friend of mine who said she would really like to have a Galadriel gown. After a strategy meeting at my house where she decided on Galadriel's Mirror dress, we went shopping and I was sewing within 3 days of deciding on the project.

I am rather confident in my ability to make something for myself without a pattern and I have only made one costume with a store-bought pattern, but I was not confident at all in making a dress for someone else without a pattern that was already tried and tested. Since Simplicity 9891 is used so widely in the Elven costume world, I figured I would give it a try. I stuck to it for the bodice except for a change at the neckline, and I made a new pattern for the sleeves.

The fabric is actually several layers of fabrics, all put together to form a brocade-like looking fabric. The under layer is made from 2 bed sheets purchased for $1.98 each at the local thrift shop. This was a great money saver and the cotton was a nice subtle base for the beautiful bridal lace that was sewn over it. I cut the bodice pattern out of both the sheets and the lace and I pinned the lace over top the cotton before sewing. No problems at all.

The sleeves are a pattern of my own. Galadriel has sleeves on her dress that look a lot like flags. They are not the gentle bell shape, but they are tight at the top and suddenly veer down into a square shape. I made them out of just the lace.

After putting the whole thing together, it was looking very nice. The true test would lie in the hemming. I first looked at the neck edge.  WARNING: Simplicity 9891 has a VERY low neckline (at least when I wore it, it did!).  I realized that if I were to sew in the neck lining included in the pattern, then the dress would defeat the purpose of clothing and not conceal much. So I ended up buying some 1 7/8” bias tape to put around the edge. I had to square it off at the lower points of the neckline, but all in all it came out well. 

I fretted for a week trying to figure out how to hem the sleeves. Since it was only lace without another fabric for reinforcement I did not think I could do a rolled hem. Turns out I was wrong. Lace actually takes a rolled hem quite well. At least this lace did. I did not even have to iron it before putting it thought the machine. The hem of the skirt is a rolled hem done on my serger.

The last thing that needed to be done to the body of the dress was to make it glow. Since we did not have a crew of gaffers to follow her around shining an elven glow off her skin, and we did not quite now how to make her bioluminescent, we decided glitter would be the best way to go. I used two bottles of iridescent glitter fabric paint and simply spent an evening dabbing it on the dress and then literally smearing it around with my palms. I, along with the dress, glowed that evening.

After I finished washing my clothes from the fabric paint incident, I began work on the belt. The belt is made from a very light yellow satin. I sewed 4 strips of it into tubes and stitched the two smaller tubes together into a V and put hooks and eyes on the back to close. I then attached the two longer tubes for the forked tails of the belt. After all this was complete I went over the whole thing with a continuous 8 pattern with pearl fabric paint and put glittering crosses on the middle of each one.

The brooch is made from super flex Sculpey clay with wire added in places. The back has two wire hooks that latch to the dress's neck line. I painted the whole thing white and then went over the inside with a gold wash and the rest with a silver wash.

The crown was a 3 day battle of wire sculpting. I sat down with pictures and did my best. I think it came out pretty well in the end!  I used two gauges of craft wire and Sculpey for the leaves. After I had baked the entire thing so the Sculpey could set, I painted it gold and silver and finished with a sealant of clear nail polish.

It was ready for the test! My friend came over to try the dress on. It looked great! Except for the fact that it did not fit. Fortunately, it was too big on her as opposed to too small. After about an hour of bringing the back and shoulder seams in, it fit perfectly, and I had a very happy friend

All in all, the dress came out great through all the perils. I would recommend this dress to advanced sewers only. A beginner might want to start with something a bit easer.

And I still do not have all of that fabric paint out of my PJ’s.............. ;)

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This page was last updated 11/21/09