Arwen's Mourning Gown

This is a very detailed explanation and break-down of what I did. When I saw this dress for my first time in The Two Towers, I wanted it! It was incredibly beautiful, I loved all of Arwen’s costumes, but this was my favorite in the movie. It was incredibly beautiful and had just about everything I wanted. And I loved the veil-of course I had to have the veil!
 I thought I would wear it for Halloween and for Return of the King each time I go to see it, and display my true obsessive nature. Of course, might just take to wearing it whenever I leave the house!
Pattern: Never would have guessed-Simplicity 9891, slightly messed with, though not quite modified.

Fabric: Costume Satin, stretch velvet, jacquard, silk chiffon, brocade


The dress

Towards the end of August, I started to consider my costume for Halloween. (Thought it would take me that long-and it did!) It was quite a problem. First-I was not ready to draft my own pattern so I definitely couldn’t do anything that I couldn’t put together without a pattern. I had a few options. One-I could do the Chase Dress now that the sewing machine had long since been fixed and I had all the pieces cut out. Two-I could do the Bridge dress as I had a beautiful pattern almost identical to the dress worn in the movie. I did not have any good fabric, I could have bought some and it probably would have cost about as much as the dress ended up being altogether. But as much as I liked it, I really wanted to wear something from the Two Towers. However could not afford new pattern, new material and new extra bits. (HA!) So I came up with the idea to use the body of the Chase Dress, use the large sleeves from Simplicity 9891 (which I still luckily had the pattern for) and add trim, neckline, sash, veil and crown. The fabric was a beautiful black silky fabric which didn’t cost me a lot last year, and I know Arwen does not wear silk or black in this dress, but I had to make do.

I put together the body of the dress after some few hours because I'm new and I had no clue what I was doing. Also, I used the wrong kind of needle on this fabric and jammed the machine with thread. When I thought everything was going well, I discovered I'd grown a bit across the bust and the dress was now just a tad too tight. I had to remove my stitches to a certain point and put in the zipper before I could add fabric to where it was needed. I had to stitch the bloody thing in by hand as I do not own a zipper foot and I used to be rather impatient when it came to hand-sewing, resulting in large sloppy stitches and tangled threads. On my third try, the zipper was put in and my Aunt very kindly helped me to add the fabric triangles.

After I went shopping to get more fabric and materials, I ended up with some reddish stuff for the sash and insert I didn't like and didn't buy enough of anyway. And the neckline was silly-sort of straight and all wrong! So I cut the neckline to where I like it, in a sort of scoop/v-neck *stress Sort Of* Halfway through October-I'd put off working on the costume and this was a very, very Bad Idea because I was now in a rush to finish my dress in time for Halloween-we went shopping again, I bought gold buttons, gold lace, red stretch velvet, red jacquard, a buckram headpiece for the crown, 2 and a half yards of silk chiffon for the veil, blue seed beads, and gold fabric paint. I also bought half a yard of a gold brocade with flower patterns for the crown, I'll explain below.

I measured, cut and and hand stitched the gold lace on my trim and even did a bit of a pattern with the blue seed beads, but because I never had enough time to work on it before Halloween and finish embroidering the other trim pieces, I had to pull them off. I antiqued the gold buttons (Sandpaper), stitched them on, and made the sash and insert from the red jacquard. When I went to attach the sleeves-disaster. Because I'd had to alter the dress with the triangles, the armholes were now kind of messed up and no sleeve would fit in them. So a quick stop out to Kohls a few days before Halloween, and I bought a lovely, comfortable, black shirt with slightly flared sleeves as a substitute. I made armbands that I could attach on and off the shirt and-voila-I made it!


The Veil and Crown

The veil was the easiest part-I went out and bought three yards of black silk chiffon *Expensive!* and the veil was done-I love it so much! It looks really wicked and very sorrowful in the wind.

The Crown was considerably more trouble. I bought a buckram headpiece which I intended to cover with the brocade...and nearly destroyed the whole thing-how is a very long explanation, so we'll simply say that it was another late shopping trip this time to Michael's, where I bought fun foam, cut and stapled it into the proper shape and covered it with the fabric-it worked considerably better.



 Black, heeled combat boots, as I really didn't know what she wore and these were both the best thing I had and they made me taller.
Overall, I really loved how this dress turned out. It was hard, but it was worth it. My aunt and I plan to take some pics of the costume in a better setting than a backyard...I can't wait to start on my next project!

This page was last updated 11/21/09