Merenwen - Ontario, Canada
Arwen's Bridge Dress - a dress diary
I'm recording a journal of my adventures in creating a version of the Arwen Farewell dress as a Halloween costume. Today is October 7th so I am 24 days away from the evening of my Halloween party.
As of today, I have the pattern I plan to use for the base of the dress and the fabric. I plan to wear a purple velvet gown that I already own under the costume so it’s only the overdress that I am making. Since I haven't actually sewed anything for about 10 years, I bought some muslin to practice the bodice of the dress and especially the collar.
I did quite a bit of research on the actual fabric that is used in the farewell scene. It is described as a metallic purple brocade with a silver sheen. I started out looking for silver brocade but it turned out that the fabric was way out of my price range. My hunting grounds were all Indian sari and fabric shops and after awhile I found a gorgeous silver fabric with an intricate floral/leaf pattern. In a certain light the fabric has a light mauve hue. They also had a plain magenta coloured satin which I bought for the belt and streamer. In total, my fabric cost me $42 (plus $8 for the practice muslin.)
I'm using the oft suggested Simplicity 9891 pattern but will modify the pattern to make the dress front-opening and change the yoke design. Plus I will add a front scallop to the skirt and add loops to fasten the buttons. This is all pretty ambitious and I'm counting on the help of my Mom to make this happen.
Good thing is it is Thanksgiving long weekend. I spent all day Sunday making the muslin to my size and checking the fittings. It took awhile to get the pattern working right with all the alterations that I made to the tissue pattern. I taped, cut, retaped and trimmed endlessly until it seemed just so!
With the tissue pattern tweaked out, it's time layout the pattern on my fabric and cut. Horror! I don't have enough fabric for the sleeve flounce. I'm using practically every inch of the 5 yards that I have and I am still short on fabric. No matter - decided that I could use a pale mauve chiffon that I have had for ages (I'm too cheap to go out and buy more fancy fabric at this stage!) Actually, it may work well since it picks up the pale inner sleeve colour on the actual Farewell Dress but with a different style.
Managed to find lightwight fusible interface for the collar plus some silver cord to use as button loops but couldn't find anything that looked like the silver knots on the actual Farewell Dress. Need to get over my initial fear and start the proper sewing of the dress panels.
Finally managed to get to the actual construction of the dress. Had a couple of hiccups where I realized that I attached two pieces at the wrong place and had to rip out the stitches and start again. Managed to find buttons that somewhat resemble tarnished silver knots. Decided to use the silver cord as loops in the front to join with the buttons.
Cut out the belt and streamer from the magenta satin I bought. I elected to go against the pattern instructions and leave the streamer un-interfaced - I like the billowly look for this piece.
Well, I'm into the home stretch now and about 80% of my costume is ready. As far as the dress goes, I still have to attach the sleeves and tighten the bodice fit a little bit more but I want to find a trim that will help with the transition of the fabrics in the sleeves. Plus, I still have to sew the collar and get it to stand up properly. And I still haven't painted the elvish embroidery on the sash...(sigh)...I still have four days before the big event right???!!!
Wow - I managed to finish the costume! And I really love it! Mega thanks to my Mom for her help! I found a silver fringe trim that I used to transition the fabric change on the sleeves and managed to attach the sleeves to the dress without much problem. The only part I'm not totally happy with is the way that the buttons pull across my chest...sigh... My favourite part was "embroidering" the Elvish pattern (courtesy of the ACS website photos) on the sash with silver fabric paint. I did a test run and took some pictures out in a botanical garden for that "Rivendell" effect.
Also check out her Requiem Dress
This page was last updated 11/21/09