Maris - Colorado, USA
Arwen's Chase Outfit
I'd wanted to make the Chase Gown for a long time, but I haven't been sewing very long and I always felt that this would be one of those "someday" projects. I also couldn't find a good fabric to make it from (ultrasuede was out of the question; WAY too expensive).
But last December, I went to JoAnn's and they had a weekend special on 60" Allova suede (I think it was about $2/yard). So, "someday" had come! I bought 4 1/2 yards of it.
Finding a pattern was more challenging. I looked through the patterns I already had and chose Simplicity 9891 for the skirt and collar and Simplicity 9831 for the bodice and upper sleeves. I freehanded the lower sleeves.
The first think I did was paint the design on the upper sleeves, going off of the great illustration on this site, using FolkArt paint in Wicker White. Then I added the ties in the back. I found a dark purple ribbon at Hobby Lobby that was the perfect color, but it had a very stiff, papery texture. By accident, I discovered that scrunching and rolling it around softened it up and made it look more like the ties on the original gown.
Making the collar was a lot more difficult. At first, the collar pieces were cut so they were connected to the blouse, but that proved extremely difficult to work with. The collar wouldn't stand up on its own. So I cut the collar off and used medium-weight interfacing and some organza I had left over from another project and sewed it in between the collar pieces. That actually ended up working too well! The pieces stuck straight up after that. So I tacked the corners down with a couple of small stitches. I made the design on the collar with Scribbles puff paint in Charcoal Gray. Once the bodice was finished, I cut in at a point and sewed it to the skirt, then cut the skirt to make the petal shape in the front.
The underskirt is made from a cream silk I bought at Denver Fabrics. I bought two yards and made a hobbit-like skirt first, then cut it to match the overdress. The undersleves are made from a cream crinkle silk that I also bought at Denver Fabrics.
For the leggings, I bought a pair of dark gray tights from Target.
The brooch is made from Sculpey that I painted to give it a more realistic look. I printed a picture of the Noble Collection's brooch and used it as a template. Then I did the baseball stitching with light gray embriodery floss.
I bought the Rubie's Evenstar from an online store and used the techniques I found here to make it look more like the original. It looked great when it was done, but unfortunately the pictures I took of it didn't come out. Trust me, though, it looks great!
Compared to everything else, the boots were relatively easy to make. I bought a pair of black leather boots at Goodwill and had enough fabric left over to make the boot covers. I basically just played around until I figured out how to make everything work. The covers are attached down one side with velcro and loosely sewn to the other. On the front of the boots, I sewed the loose fabric down to match the shape of the toe. Then I put silver grommets down the back sides and I used a packet of lavender suede string for the laces. To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised they came out as good as they did!
I also found a really good wig to use, for Arwen or any female elf. It takes a little bit of work, but the result is well worth it. I used a Dorothy wig (from Sepia) that I unbraided and very carefully separated the curls. After I let it sit and relax for a while, I added herringbone braids. I bought it from a local costume shop for about $30. Once again, the pictures don't do it justice. It's really quite beautiful in person.
In all, I am very happy with how my Chase Gown came out, especially since I was making a lot up as I went along. It was a difficult costume to make, but I am thrilled with the result!
This page was last updated 11/21/09