Shannon's Examples

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Shannon, New Zealand

White Wool Gown

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the amazing costumes that are in this scrapbook. You guys are fabulous! There is some wonderful work out there and it’s really inspiring to flick through the scrapbook. It inspired me to make Eowyn’s ‘White Wool’ dress.

I made the pattern freehand. When people hear that they gasp and look shocked, but honestly, if you want a custom pattern that is completely your own, with a lot of trial and error, anyone can do it. It just takes a long time. :) The body of the dress is made of two parts, A-line in shape with a slight train at the back, and there is an invisible zip down to the base of the spine.

The sleeves are classic bell shape, but I put the seam down the centre back of the arm, instead of under the arm, so the sleeve would sit more naturally when it moved. The bell part doesn’t sit as nicely as I’d like, but that’s what you get for using stiff curtain fabric as your lining! I started off making the whole thing out of old bedsheets. The white parts of the sleeves are plain cotton, and the lining of the body is flannelette. (good for warmth!) I also made the outer body out of another plain white bedsheet, but I kind of accidentally ruined it, so I replaced it with a cheap light cotton drill, which I think is actually nicer, because it is heavier and more flowing when I walk.

The patterned neckline was initially embroidered straight onto the body fabric, but when I ruined that I simply cut it off and attached it to the new piece.

A) French knots for Flowers

B) Stem stitch for the grey parts

C) A couple of straight stiches for the little leaves

For the design I used the pattern that was provided on Alleycatscratch, which was a godsend, because I just could NOT figure it out from the DVD. Thank you!

 3 strand plaited braid, 2 cream, 1 brown or gold

I used dun yellow and pale grey embroidery thread in stem stitches and French knots, and lined it with lots of interfacing to make it nice and stiff. The trimming around the neckline and armholes I braided myself because I couldn’t find anything suitable. One strand of brown and two strands of cream, a lot of patience, and I was away laughing.

Now, the belt. This is the bit I am proudest of. It’s in two parts: the decorated girdle and the metal belt, which simply lays over the top. The girdle is made of two layers of old curtain fabric, with two layers of interfacing stuck in the middle for strength. For the decorations I just bought some gold coloured cord and sewed it on. It attaches at the back with hooks and eyes.

The belt itself is made from 18 metal rings, which I also bought, but the centre segment is actually made from an old circular crochet mini-loom that I pulled to bits. I constructed the decorations on the rings using wire and a soldering iron. You have a lot of freedom with a soldering iron, you can do almost anything and make any shape you want, it definitely resulted in a wonderful effect for the belt. I really like it – even with the many soldering iron burns I inflicted on myself in the process. I didn’t have a stand for it, that was probably the trouble.

I’ve never had any formal training in sewing or tailoring, but I have been sewing all my life. My skills have been acquired through a lot of trial and error. I believe that is the best way anyone can learn. Gosh, if Peter Jackson taught himself everything he knows, that just shows it!

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This page was last updated 11/21/09