Merenwen's Examples

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Merenwen – Ontario, Canada

Notes on Making Arwen's Requiem Dress

This was my second attempt at an Arwen costume (the first was Arwen's Farewell Dress) and so I felt much more confident going into this project.  Also, the Requiem Dress is based on a fairly simple pattern so it was much less fussy in terms of design.

The pattern that I started was Simplicity 9103 which is a super easy pattern to work.  The pattern is designed for a knit/stretch fabric so it meant that I didn't have to fuss with complex closures. 

Fabric & Costs

I used three fabrics for this dress: a navy blue stretch panne velvet, a cream leaf-printed satin and a navy blue chiffon.  The actual Requiem dress is described as steel blue or blue-gray velvet but a pretty exhaustive search of fabric shops around my area turned up nothing that was close to that shade.  So instead of going the custom dying route, I opted for a navy velvet for the overdress that I could easily pair with a matching chiffon for the underdress bodice and a cream coloured satin for the elven sleeves.  My costs were $20 (CDN) for 4 yards of stretch velvet + 2 yards of cream print satin and $7 (CDN) for 2 yards of silk chiffon.  The total cost of the dress including pattern, trims, fabrics, thread and notions was just under $40 CDN. 

The major alteration that I made to the basic overdress pattern was adding about 10 inches of length when making Dress View B.  I also cut out the back panels with a slightly extended V-shaped bottem so that it would look like a small train to the dress.  The dress was easy to sew but I must admit that I really struggled attaching the trim (a wide firm ribbon of navy and silver swirls) to the scoop neck of the dress.  Working on the curves was really tough!

 The underdress used the same pattern as the overdress except that instead of making it full length (I didn't have enough chiffon anyway), I only made it to hip length.  I cut out the short sleeves (from View C) from the navy velvet.  This was a tough choice but I knew that the chiffon couldn't support the weight of the lower sleeves even with seam binding at each of the joins.  I used the same silver-swirl trim on the join between the lower and upper sleeves and used a silver-black narrow trim for the neckline of the underdress.  The sleeves were nothing more than a large square of fabric (45 inch width) that I finished the edges and sewed onto the velvet upper sleeves in a pleated style.  I liked the final look of the sleeves since they go all the way to the floor and are really billowly (and I can still use my hands.) 


Also check out her Farewell dress!

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This page was last updated 11/21/09