mdb's Examples

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mdb's Examples  -   New Zealand

Click on pictures for enlargements.


I drafted my own pattern. The dress directly onto my Duct Tape Double and the sleeves I experimented with. I didn't get a photo of it but as the sleeves hang on my DTD they fall exactly as they do on the form of the exhibit.

Fabric: Micro crepe. I was told the shop had wool crepe, but they didn't then I saw their polyester microcrepe which is just heavenly. The texture is so soft and it's extremely easy to use. It doesn't fray as badly as wool crepe and is smoother. It's also a breeze to sew and you don't really need to pin it as it doesn't stretch or skew under the foot of the machine. It also doesn't wrinkle but irons wonderfully.

The sleeves are pure silk in a pale gold with slightly darker gold pattern. This was originally a dark brown print on white but I used Dylon pre-dye to remove as much as I could. The dye also 'bled' in this process and warmed up the non printed areas. I knew the neckline was finished on the inside with bias tape and as I'd flatlined it I used this technique for the hem. It's a very nice finish and very adjustable as it is hand basted for easy altering.

The belt is made of three layers: two outer of the crepe and an inner of cotton. This meant as I was making it I could choose which side looked the best to be seen;) I made the rings by wrapping 16 gauge wire around a cylinder and cutting them. As I was in a rush I used sports tape to wrap the ends and make make-shift links. And again as time was a constraint I only partly filled each and couched gold cord instead of using beads.

The ties for the sleeves were about 1/3 the length they needed to be but that was all they had at the store. Twice the length would have meant I would have been able to finish the wrapping of the arm and the rest would then have been able to dangle free.

More notes about building: I am actually an experienced seamstress so I knew how to draft my own patterns and of course with all the wonderful photos available of this dress it was pretty easy to work out how it was made. There are only so many ways you can fit a full pendant sleeve and make a dress from three pieces. Especially when most fabrics only come in a few widths. It also helps that I've had to make fitted dresses with minimal seams for historical costumes.

I used ideas gleaned from Robin Netherton who teaches how to make "Gothic Fitted Dresses" no not the modern Goth, but Gothic as in the Gothic era. You can see images of her dresses and her fitting a toile on a student here:

The toile fitting is on page 4.
This is based on a four piece dress and to make Eowyn's dress you simply need to make the front in one piece which is fine as it is not meant to be as fitted as the dresses mentioned here.

And for more information including a PDF hand out and her posting to h-cost about the dresses:

We recently discussed this dress on the h-cost list about what appeared to have inspired the design and it was fairly well agreed it look very much like a  bliaut. Indeed the sleeves I cut were from a memory of a pattern in Golden Hands of an Eleanor of Aquitain costume (bliaut era). If a little more influenced by Pre-Raphaelite art than strictly of that era.
The Lady of Shalot looks similar:
Different fabric and sleeves of course but see how the belt curves under her belly much as is seen in the photos of the wind blowing about Miranda on the steps.
And in this dress you can see the sleeve style:
They are very similar to the sleeves of this bliaut pattern: 
The sleeves are maunches here and there are two flattened out. For mine if you imagine the elbow being at the point were it flares, the flared section is as wide as the length from my elbow to knuckles, plus a little extra to play with and for seam allowance.
The sleeves are cut on the fold and similar to


See more of her costumes at:


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This page was last updated 11/21/09