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Songbird -  USA

Arwen Inspired Gown

Materials: 6 yards French blue lightweight linen from ; 5 yards hand-dyed 16mm silk charmeuse from Dharma (lilac dye), and 3 yards silk georgette, also from Dharma. The linen is the outer layer, silk charmeuse lines the entire dress, and the georgette lines the large sleeves.
Pattern: I knew that I wanted the shape of an Arwen gown, but more shaping, as I am not much of an elf in shape or height, so I started with a simple sleeveless blouse pattern that had bust darts. From there I moved around the waist seams to get the downward-curved seam from back to front that is seen on many elven dresses. I also added back darts as well, after much deliberation.  After getting the waist/bodice piece fitted, I used those pieces to form wide skirt sections, one the width of the fabric for the front (cut on the side seams at approximately a 45 degree angle, and two back pieces cut at angles on both seams, and as wide as the fabric would allow. The sleeves I based on the sleeves of Arwen's coronation gown; wider than half-circles, seam on the top, and slightly longer than my fingertips. Basically, for the pattern, envision a half-circle, then cut off about 1/3 from the top; then the seam goes there. This pattern produces the same look that is found on many of the continuity pics of Arwen's coronation sleeves. (remembering, though, that if you are tall, the pattern shape will be elongated). I also wanted something that I could wear more often than just renaissance faires, so I made the sleeves detachable at the elbows with hooks-and-eyes. The dress is also not as long as I would have liked, but this also makes it more wearable. :) Plus, I found the perfect shoes.
I also bought sari trim on ebay, and used this to trim the sleeves at the elbow to add some sparkle. The belt laces in the back.
The mantle is also dyed by me; all of the fabric is silk, but I'm not quite done with it yet. I will be updating with more pictures soon.
The colors I picked because they make me happy. The linen and silk means that even though the dress used a lot of fabric, it's not very heavy or hot. :)

See many more detailed pictures in my photo gallery.


I am not very experienced at all, but I think that it's important to mention that you can do anything as long as you really are dedicated, and there are lots of people to help. This was my second LOTR gown, and I've learned a lot in the process of making the two, but mostly all of that has come from the people on the LOTR discussion group! It's certainly not necessary to have a lot of experience to make one of these dresses :).

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This page was last updated 11/21/09