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Heather - Alberta, Canada

Young Arwen - Blood Red Dress

 Every year I make Halloween costumes for my nieces and nephews. This year my 6 year old niece Ana (who is a big Lord of the Rings fan) decided she wanted to go as Arwen, in the Blood Red Dying dress.

I wasn’t familiar with the dress, so I was fortunate to find your website and read costume information, as well as see photographs. I sew mainly from patterns, I have no experience with pattern drafting. I wasn’t able to find a single pattern which I could use, so I used parts of three and fitted them together. 

For the underdress, I bought a red jacquard material for the top and upper sleeves. I wasn’t able to find a true paisley material, but there was a bit of a paisley motif in the jacquard. I used Simplicity pattern 8303, which is an unlined pop top for an Arabian costume. I added a lining using matching taffeta material and the same pattern, modified slightly to accommodate the lining. I left the sleeve hem unfinished. 

For the long draped sleeve, I used red velvet lined with the same red taffeta. I read on the website about how to make a full sleeve using a drawn circle, but I thought this might be a bit much for a 6 year old. So I used McCalls pattern 3663 for the lower sleeve, making it longer on the bottom, and narrower at the top, so it would match the circumference of the pop-top sleeve. I measured the length of the sleeve to that it would hang to just above the ground on Ana, and made a bag lining for the sleeve.

For the skirt of the underdress, I just attached a tube of stretch fabric, as it isn’t visible and I thought there should be a skirt to hold the pop top from riding up. I used a 2 inch wide gold trim to finish over the sleeve seam and around the neckline. Once the skirt was attached to the pop top, I put a long (waist length) zipper in on the back.

I used McCalls 2422 for the overdress, which is just a plain A-line sleeveless dress for girls. The material is midnight blue velvet, it looks almost black. I cut some of the red jacquard on the bias and used it around the neckline of the dress. This was hard to do, as the jacquard was heavy material and it gathered as I sewed it around the neck. I redid it once and decided I would incorporate the gathering into the design! It looked fine once I tidied it up. Rather than make the dress 6 inches too long to get the “spilling” effect, I made it floor length, to eliminate tripping problems.

When Ana tried the dress on, she preferred to fold the sleeves back so that her hands were free (so she could hold her treat bag and collect goodies!). 

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This page was last updated 11/21/09