Medieval costume dress inspired by Arwen gown from Lord of the Rings

10620743_1537194393179811_8618754685626454262_nWe were invited to help out at our local Parish fete and given the opportunity to display some of my bears and dresses which was great.  It also turns out there was to be a fancy dress theme.  So I figure great a chance to dress up and have fun plus create costumes.  My daughter was easy.  She would wear Princess Sofia.  I just had to plan something for me.

After much deliberation and with input from my son I decided to try creating a medieval style dress.  My inspiration was the beautiful Arwen from The Lord of the Rings.  After posting a collage of some of her gowns on facebook the one everyone loved was this black and red gown.

First thing was to find a pattern that I could work with.
I found a Simplicity costume pattern and ebay provided the materials.
I ended up ordering 4m of red craft velvet and 12m of black velvet.The pattern looks like I don’t have to alter it at all. Simplicity 4940.

It took ages to cut out and thankfully I remembered to cut all the dress pieces on the same grain. I remembered from watching the Great British Sewing Bee that velvet brushes differently up and down so you need to make sure all your pieces go from top to bottom in the same direction so it doesn’t look odd. There was so much black velvet I had to lay it all out on the floor to cut it out. I also did the same with the red velvet for the sleeves. I ordered this lovely satin gold brocade for the sleeves and neck plus some gold lace for the trim.  I know it won’t be identical but it will be close enough to hopefully look good. Since I only plan to make this costume once I cut the original pattern which I don’t usually do but it did save me time.


The sewing of the dress was actually quite easy in terms of which pieces went where but I discovered that black fabric is quite difficult to sew as you can’t see easily where the stitches are and velvet is really odd. It pulls against itself so seems to slip about. You have to watch carefully to make sure your seams don’t fall out of line. I loved working with the gold lace and the brocade though and I love the big long sleeves. In the end though after hours of sewing I was really pleased with the result and couldn’t help wonder what this dress would be like in a gorgeous modern fabric as an evening dress or even a wedding dress instead of as a costume. The costume fitted great though and it was fun to wear.  I loved the detail around the neckline. I can’t wait to have a go at my next costume project. Plenty of sewing between now and Christmas but am planning on taking a bit of time for personal projects in the new year. Meanwhile am looking for excuses to wear this one again.

I wonder if it’s too much for a Tesco shop?


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