Ashley Examples - California, USA
Fabric: Handpainted tapestry and bridal fabric.
Construction notes intro:
I decided I wanted to make this dress because I really liked the collared look of this dress - it's a nice compromise between the roughness of her chase dress and the elegance of her more formal gowns. So I searched around for fabric that would be suitable for it. And I searched some more. And I searched some more. And I found NOTHING. I eventually ended up going back to a fabric I had seen early on and rejected. It was a bit heavy, but it was a great color (sometimes it looked blue, sometimes purple, sometimes almost mauve), and the designs had a very similar feel to the designs of the original fabric. The only problem was that is was a solid color brocade. I didn't really feel that the pattern was differentiated enough from its background to give it the right feel. So I did what had to be done - I painted it.
I started by drafting the pattern, because I didn't want to paint an inch more than was necessary. After I had made a mockup out of some dollar store fabric, I cut out the pieces and started painting over the designs of the fabric with silver to make them stand out. I found that the silver fabric paint didn't really have enough shine to it - I wanted something more the look of a silver leafing pen. Unfortunately, the silver ink just bleeds right into the fabric, so it became a two step process - paint, and then ink over the top. My mother was kind enough to come and help me with this tedious task, I don't think I could possibly have done it in time to wear to ComicCon without her help.
Then came the sash. I knew I wouldn't have time to embroider it, but I wanted something a bit more fancy looking than fabric paint, so I decided that the best route would be to sew cording on to create the pattern. I free handed the pattern on with tailors chalk, and then stitched silver roping along the lines I had drawn.
Ultimately, this decision carried over into the overdress as well, and I used the same silver cord to do the designs on the bodice of the dress.
For the sash and the underdress, I found a nice imitation silk that was pink with a purple underside. I decided the underside was just what I wanted for my sash and underdress. Although it is obvious in some of the shots from the movie that the fabric of the sash and the fabric for the underdress are different, in the promotional shots the two fabrics really look the same, so I felt okay about using the same fabric for both.
The wig was actually the first thing I bought. My wig is a 24 inch wig from witchwigs.com called Ashley850 (I thought it was fun that the wig and I had the same name), in dark brown. I'm actually not quite happy with it, it's a little too dark and not long enough, but it works and looks reasonably natural.
After multiple attempts at crafting the circlet out of fimo, I decided to give it up and buy a little bridal circlet. I really wanted to get the official one from Noble Collection, but they said it wouldn't ship until August - way after ComicCon. Imagine my joy to see one sitting at the Noble Collection booth when I got to the convention on Friday! I think I surprised the clerk by walking up and saying "I'll take one of those, please," and plopping my credit card down.
I'm sure Arwen wears some sort of nifty boots under this dress, but since you can't really see her feet, I took a pair of white satin heels I had and painted them with little leaf designs to match the dress.
Check out the rest of her costumes here: http://forums.cosplay.com/costume.php?s=&action=list&userid=2107
This page was last updated 11/21/09