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Tracy - Victoria, Australia

Kira’s Princess Eowyn Dress

Fancy dress is generally the order of the day at our house, and my children occasionally convince me to make them something. For my daughter this means princess dresses and so far has included Cinderella and Princess Fiona.  My son goes for action and his choice has been Captain Hook.  This time, having just been to see the LOTR exhibition in Sydney, I offered to make a dress from the movie.  After having a look through our books, this is the one Kira requested.
I used the Medieval Damsel dress pattern from the Australian Women’s Weekly “Kids dress-ups and parties” book (this book has all sorts of patterns for children aged 4 to 8 – I suppose they think that after that age, kids aren’t as interested in dressing up).  Luckily for me, the pattern was almost perfect for what I wanted, as the only change I needed to make was to modify the neckline to make it a v-neck.  Other than that, I basically followed the pattern, although as I was using a stretch fabric and had a wider neck I didn’t bother with the opening in the back.  I also discovered that to get the narrower fit I wanted; I needed to use a smaller size for width and larger size for length.  The lower sleeves are a bit narrow, but for as this is purely for playing purposes, that’s not a bad thing (imagine Eowyn climbing trees).  The dress is longer at the back than at the front.
As this dress is just for fun and I wanted something that Kira would feel comfortable wearing as well as being cheap to make, I used a lightweight, white, polyester stretch velvet at about AU$5 per metre.  This is one of the cheapest fabrics readily available here, won’t unravel if not hemmed and doesn't ever need ironing.  For the sleeve lining, my mum found some gold organza. 
The dress was easy, it sewed together like a dream, and then I was there with a raw neckline and no idea how to achieve the look I wanted.  There was nothing in the braid or ribbon line that I liked and, being a play dress, there was no way I was going to contemplate embroidery (if I tried that, Kira would be grown up and it would probably fit her children by the time I finished).  I eventually decided to draw the design onto the fabric.  I printed out the close-up of the neckline and the design in alleycatscratch and copied it onto the fabric using gold and silver Gutta in tubes.  Once set by ironing, it can be washed without a problem. 
My other dilemma was how to keep the arm ties in place, if kept tied she wasn’t going to be able to get her arms into the sleeves and if not attached then they would end up lost.  In order to make the most of the dress the way she does her others, she needs to be able to get in and out of it without too much help.
I sewed the cord onto the sleeve under the arm and then stitched small lengths of fabric tape (the one you use to sew into shoulder seams to stop them stretching) onto the relevant spots on the arms (2 on top and 1 underneath) so that the cords could be loosely tied and still be easy to get on and off without getting tangled.


The belt doesn’t match the one on Eowyn’s dress but gives a similar feel.  It is a 1960’s metal link belt of my mother’s and I’ve also used the fabric tape to make belt loops for it.  While the dress is certainly not identical to the original (by a long shot!), it has turned out similar enough to keep both me and my daughter happy (although of course, now my son wants his dress-up too.  He wants to be “Lord of the Ring” - meaning Frodo).

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This page was last updated 11/21/09