Arwen's Blood Red Gown
Construction Page
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a costume site
March 6, 2006.

Elrond: "Your hands are cold; the life of the Eldar is leaving you..."

Today I've opened my page to log my construction of Arwen's Blood Red Gown, also known as the Dying Gown, as seen in The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, where Arwen, in Rivendell with her father, chooses to stay in Middle Earth, giving up her immortal life.

Here is a sketch I did in January 2006.
This page was last updated: March 23, 2013
The Fabric:

I bought the trim in May 2005 from Heritage Trading.
I ordered my velvets on March 1, 2006.  My velvets came in over the weekend.  

Just to get an idea if the trim I have will work, I  put a running stitch through the top edge, and gathered it into pleats to make the curve for the neckline.  I am not done with this, but wanted to see how the colors are working. 

At this time, I have both the navy and Chinese red silk velvets for the jumper and lower sleeves, and the silk brocade I will use for the upper sleeve.  The velvets came from Sy Fabrics, and the silk brocade from Exclusive silks.    Here are a few photos to start off.
I have my lining fabrics on the way, from Denver fabrics.  Here are the color swatches:

The red is silk charmuse, that I'll use to line the sleeves, and the black sapphire is silk dupioni, that will be the body of the underdress, and will also line the navy velvet, to reinforce the gown. 


I have studied the Blood Red Gown information pages at Alleycatscratch, along with reading the postings over at LotR-Costume Yahoo Group.

I have often studied the reference photos on Maggie's site.

March 9, 2006.
Beginning Construction:

I took out the red sequins along the border, and cut one of the border edges back an inch, and then started playing with better curving of the trim...  The photos with the brown bias tape indicate where the jumper bias will approximately be located. 
I'm going to replace the red sequins I took out with these bronze ones to the left...  Only on the two bottom rows.
July 11, 2006:

Needing to get back to some color... (I've been working on Galadriel's Mirror Gown, and Professor Severus Snape's Robes...)  I started pre-washing my fabrics for this gown today.  I will also pull out the muslin parts I have as yet not sewn together, and see how they work. 

July 12, 2006:
Turns out, I can't find the muslin, and I'm too impatient to make a new one.   So, I used the Mirror Gown muslin to put together the lining for the underdress, and I'll proceed accordingly with the rest of it...

I have the three panels for the underdress lining cut out, and on the dress form, though only pinned at key points.   Here are a few photos:
July 13, 2006:

I decided to try using a pattern for the lower sleeve  that is based upon the Requiem Gown lower sleeve.

I did a muslin of the lower sleeve, using the pattern provided by Janice the Grey, aka Janiceandcats, from the LotR Costume Yahoo Group.   Janice drafted this sleeve pattern in collaberation with Mary Jane Teeters, who observed the Requiem Gown in person at the Indiana State Museum.   Janice drafted the pattern based on Mary Jane's observations, and Mary Jane reviewed Janice's drafts until the drafts reflected what Mary Jane saw...  Thanks Janice and Mary Jane!    I think the pattern works beautifully.  So, I'm ready to continue cutting, and putting this dress together...

Here are some photos of the sleeve muslin.
July 14, 2006:

I cut out the outer layer dupioni for the underdress, and assembled the body of the gown, and then cut out one of the upper sleeves, and have that sewn in.  I also removed the red sequins on the arm trim, and hand washed the trim.  It's drying now.  I thought about cutting out the second upper sleeve, but it is so late, and I think I will rather leave that for tomorrow.  Patience is a good thing...

Just a few photos of how it looks as I get ready to call it a night...
July 14, 2006:
Today I sewed the trim to the collar and the upper sleeves, turning the unfinished edge under...
I will use self made bias strips to turn under the edge along the neckline...
July 14, 2006:
Quite a bit for one day; I did manage to cut out the lining and the silk velvet for the lower sleeves.  They are hanging, now, already having grown at least two inches longer than  the pattern piece...
July 17, 2006:

I had a mishap with the blade yesterday afternoon, and sliced into the lining of one of the sleeves after I had bag lined it... So now, I am in the process of problem solving...

There are two possible solutions...

The first is to replace the lining fabric of the sleeve and do it over.

The second is to try and save the lining fabric I already have.  I cut the piece again, shortening the lining at the bottom about three inches.   Then, I pinned the velvet panel, without cutting it down, to the now re-cut lining fabric.  This causes the velvet to flip under, into the inside, creating a velvet border to the lining... I decided to check how this would work, and pinned the panels together, and onto the upper sleeve.   Overall, this shortens the length at the bottom just a bit over an inch, and at the section where my hand comes out about three inches.   (I had to take about three inches off the lining at the bottom curve...)   It seems to drape well.  I took a few photos of how it looks pinned, and I am leaving it there a little while before I decide what to do.  If I go this way, I will have to unpin everything, and use the lining panel to cut down the other lining panel... and then continue putting things back together...  Here are the photos:

July 19, 2006:

I went with the salvage method, and the sleeves are finished.  I have also put in the zipper, and bag lined the hem.  Next I will make bias tape, and bind the neckline.

The sleeves are less full than they would have been, but I think they have turned out alright. 

Here are photos as things are now...
July 19, 2006:

I have sewn on the bias strip around the neckline, and it is pinned underneath to the lining... The pins go all the way through to the front, so things look more lumpy, I think, than they will once I have sewn it down by hand. 

I look forward to the pleasure of puddling the gown in my lap in front of a good movie I've already seen, and hand sewing the binding down...

Next, I pulled out the habotai I'll use as a lining, and made up the plan for the jumper... Here is what I have so far... in photos:
Here the front and back panels are slightly off place... I want to pull the jumper a bit up in the front, and down in the back... Otherwise, it's there... I need to make sure I pay attention to pile when I cut the velvet... ;)

July 20, 2006:

Progress:  The underdress is finished.  :D  The bias is completely sewn in the neckline, and the alterations are complete.  Here are some photos of the finished underdress:

This time, Seuss is sleeping on top of the hutch. :)
Somehow, I really like this dress from the back... Oh well. 

Above, I had already shown the lining panels of the jumper cut out, although I had made a mistake on the back panels, and re-cut them yesterday morning. 

I have sewn the jumper panels together, and attached them to a bias strip of the brocade used in the upper sleeves of the underdress.  Currently, I am sewing them down on the inside. 

Here are a few photos of the panels just after I sewed them to their respective lining pieces.  They are just pinned to the bias strip in these photos... But to give an idea where things are headed, here is a peek:
Above is a copy of the pattern Janice drafted.  It is scaled upon a square of fabric four feet by four feet, but will need to be scaled to each person's size individually. 

Below, after a mishap with a blade, you will see photos my Blood Red Gown sleeves, again, slightly modified from this pattern, due to my errant slicing... That, friends, is another story, altogether...

I hope, when I make my Requiem Gown, to do a better rendition of this pattern. 
July 24, 2006:

I just finished the hem on the jumper, and took photos.  Aside from hitches and hand-stays, the gown is finished, unless I decide to go ahead and add more beads or sequins on the underdress neckline...

Still to do:
The train hitches... Definitely necessary.
And, I will make bead gloves, or what I'm calling hand-stays, to keep the sleeves placed on my hands where I want them.  I have done something similar on my Mirror Gown, and love how it works. 
So, aside from the hitches and the hand stays, that is all on this one, unless I decide to go through with over-beading and adding sequins...

Thank you for visiting!
My Blood Red Portraits Page...
My Blood Red Portraits Page...
Peter Jackson's visualization of The Lord of the Rings woke my latent passion for costuming and inspired me to learn to sew.

This page and its links reflect my best efforts in Lord of the Rings costuming.

Projects linking to their own pages are featured here. Click the links in the navigation bar to visit the individual pages, or scroll further below to the image links and see a quick overview of the costumes.
Arwen's Blood Red Gown

Welcome to Yvette's                            
Nearly ten years ago I set out to teach myself to sew, so that I could create inspired costumes such as those featured on my site.

I created this site  to share what I've done. It launched August 18, 2004, and has been growing ever-since.

In addition to costume construction pages, there are pages featuring portraits of the costumes being worn.

Costuming is a hobby I love documenting, but I do not do commissions, nor do I sell patterns.

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