From the Archives is a series where I show my earlier works - the good and the bad. The idea is to eventually use this as a portfolio, and it also gives me a chance to re=look at what I've previously made. Some of these projects are awesome and some are laughable. Some may have terrible photography from the early 2000s - sorry about that!
This is another 2005 creation from my early sewing days. Apparently 2005 was the year of incredibly complicated costumes. After I had finished this one, I jumped into Violet Baudelaire's dress from the movie A Series of Unfortunate Events. That costumes remains to this day the most in depth and fussy thing I've ever made. But this one comes in a close second. This is Arwen's coronation gown from The Return of the King movie.
You'll also have to excuse the super shiny polyester velvet fabric., I had not yet learned the value of using good quality, natural fabrics. Also, I was a poor college student at the time so I had to make do with what I could afford. And I also apologize for the poor quality of these circa 2009 photos. I have dreams someday of reshooting all my costumes so I have decent photography, but who knows when that will be.
This costume is made of 2 pieces, an underdress and an overdress, so let's break it down one at a time.
Base of dress - Simplicity 9103 with altered neckline
Sleeves - Simplicity 9891
Yoke and under arm panels - drafted by me
Base of dress - stretchy poly green fabric (exact type of fabric unknown)
Upper sleeves, yoke, and under arm panels - poly shantung, wrong side
Lower sleeves - under layer yellow poly chiffon, over layer green poly stretch velvet
So the underdress looks pretty crazy on it's own. The base of the dress is some sort of stretch poly fabric that I no doubt found in a clearance bin somewhere. You don't see any of it when the overdress is on, so excuse the ugly, it does it's job. I used Simplicity 9103 for a pattern base, I lengthened it a bit and make the neckline wider and deeper.
I created the yoke by tracing the neckline on the poly shantung and measured 3.5 inches down to give enough coverage. I ended up using the wrong side of the fabric, as it had the texture I was looking for. I hand embroidered and beaded the floral design onto it and sewed it onto the base. I did the same thing with the under arm panels, since you could see a bit of the underdress when I lifted up my arms in the whole costume. This way none of the lime green underdress shows through.
The sleeves were made from Simplicity 9891. The tops were also out of that poly shantung but the bottom has 2 layers, one of yellow poly chiffon, and one of the green stretch velvet to match the overdress. The upper sleeves were also hand beaded and embroidered and I found some lace that I cut up and dyed to make the applique pattern. Silver trim was added along the seam where the upper and lower sleeves meet.
Simplicity 9103 with altered neckline
Dress - Polyester stretch velvet
Straps/trim - green poly brocade
The overdress is a fairly simple 3 panel construction. I completely altered the neckline and back upper portion to make it look more like the movie costume. I created bias tape out of green polyester brocade to trim the neckline and make straps. Since the velvet material has stretch, there are no zippers or any closures in the costume.
Unfortunately the crown was crushed in a move years ago and these are the only pictures I could dig up from my archives. But trust me, this was pretty epic! I made the crown out of sculpey clay painted silver, 19 gauge steel wire and seed beads strung on fishing line. I wish I had recorded exactly how I made this, because I don't remember at all. A lot of hot glue was involved, which didn't hold and the thing sort of fell apart so I had to reattach some of the wires. Unfortunately I can't tell you anymore about how it's put together, because I just don't know.
I'm Sarah, a textile, history and sewing enthusiast. I talk about contemporary and historical fashion, sewing, patterns, tutorials, home decor, and anything else you can make with a needle and thread. I love books and am happy to talk your ear off about historical clothing.
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