Amy - Virginia, USA
Variation of Arwen's Arch Dress
This is Arwen's Arch dress in the scene with Elrond in Rivendell. There are some pictures of her and her father standing together under a candle-lit arch looking as if they are talking. This dress was actually made for a friend of mine to wear to the midnight showing of ROTK. I also made her a cloak and the whole thing turned out very nice. The photos below are of me in the dress before it was given to her.
This was by far the easiest Arwen gown I have ever made! Rather than spending an eternity on embroidery, sculpting, or some other insane detail, it was a very straightforward elvish design. (It also appeared to be slightly human, like a lot of Eowyn's gowns. This is probably because this scene supposedly takes place after Arwen marries Aragorn and becomes Queen of Gondor. This is all speculation though)
I changed the dress around a lot though; this is definitely not a replica, but a gown that was inspired by the original. I made it out of a beautiful wine-colored crushed panne (crushed velvet). The fabric is very nice and rich-looking, except you do not need to be rich to afford it! It was only $4.00 a yard, plus I got a 40% discount! I also purchased some tissue lame for the belt and the total supply cost was about $7.00.
Warning to those who want to use crushed panne: it might be pretty, but it takes on a whole now light as you work with it. As you cut, the nap falls off and you get little fuzzies floating in the air, stuck on your carpet, and in your coffee mug. It can get rather irritating after vacuuming the room for the tenth time, but it is worth the trouble. The worst part of it is the hemming. Sewing two pieces together is not that bad, but when you have to hem, the fabric does all it can to ruin your project. I tried to do a rolled hem on my serger, but the fabric stretched, giving it a horrible lettuce edge. Then I tried the basic finished hem on the sewing machine. The machine, after stretching and blotching up the stitches, happily began to eat the fabric. After this and several other failed attempts at hemming, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could hem the dress on the machine with the attachments I had in time for the premiere. And there was certainly not time to do it by hand. So, after talking it over with the future owner of the dress, we decided to not hem it at all. The weave of the fabric can easily go on without being hemmed, it does not unravel or run like a lot of other fabrics, which was definitely a blessing. We discovered that if you stretch the fabric a little at the edge it will roll under by itself! This is a major problem if you are attempting to sew it, but on the edges without hems, it is great! It kind of hems itself. We hope someday to go back and do a proper hem.
The belt is made of tissue lame. It is a very cheap fabric but gives a nice sparkle to the dress. I sewed two strips of it into tubes and after flipping them right side out, sewed them onto each other in an L shape. There is a little bit of Velcro at the waist to secure the belt and it is covered up by a cardboard medallion. The medallion closing it is simply two pieces of cardboard glued together for strength and then painted gold. I then went back with my gold fabric paint and put a border on it and a star shape. It is glued onto the belt with fabric glue.
Then, the test, ROTK came, we were at the theater at midnight (and then again at 7 that evening) and the dress was a hit! Everyone loved it and so did she! After wearing it for the 2 showings that day we found that it held together well, there were no technical problems that haunted her, and it was very comfortable.
And that is it! I would definitely suggest this dress for a beginner; it is a simple design and if you use a good fabric that is easy to work with it could come together fast and well!
Also check out Amy's other outfits
This page was last updated 11/21/09