The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Last Updated: 03-14-2014
I got the bug to make this after watching the LOTR films again. As Iím more confident in sewing now, I felt up to taking on a gown. My choice was influenced by how affordable and easy to find the fabric would be, and the amount of detail involved. That meant my initial choice of Eowynís coronation gown was out of the question, since it would take far too much expensive brocade fabric, and itís got embroidery all over the place! As a back up choice, the white wool dress was a great option, since I could easily and cheaply get the white fabric, and the hand sewn detail and accessories I had to make werenít too intimidating, even though they were still time-consuming tasks.
I kept track of my progress on the journal section here: http://cosplayisland.co.uk/costume/view/14456 which includes lots more detail on how I made things, progress photos, how long it took, and how much I spent.
I used the convenient Simplicity 4940, which turned out to be not quite so convenient since it needed quite a few alterations for accuracy! I combined the pieces to eliminate the princess seams, and added a waist seam. My bodice only has side seams and a seam down the back for the zip, and my skirt just has side seams and seams at the centre front and back, which is how the dress in film is constructed. I also cut out the sleeves in one piece, and had to alter the neckline. Those were actually easy changes, and it worked out very well. The basic dress went together in a day. I used almost 7m of white gabardine, overlocking all the raw edges.
The gabardine was unfortunately slightly see-through, so I had to line the whole dress. I used the same gabardine to line the bodice, understitching the neckline in place by hand once the embroidery was finished. The rest of the lining is a cream jacquard. It was bought to use for the sleeve lining and under-sleeves, but I had plenty of it, so used the remainder to make an underskirt too. The under-sleeves also have an overlay of gold mesh, which I flatlined to the jacquard and treated as one layer. Theyíre designed to lace up at the wrists, so I altered a sleeve pattern to have two pieces, and assembled them with French seams, which encase the lacing loops.
I decided I would wear white sandals I already owned with the dress, since the shoes were never really going to show, and if they did, the white sandals would match the outfit reasonably well, so I hemmed the dress allowing for the heels on those shoes. Itís just above floor length at the front, with a small train at the back. I decided to hem it by hand for a blind hem finish. Iíve also sewn a loop of cream cord into the centre back seam, and a small white button higher up, allowing me to bustle the train.
With the basic dress completed, it was time for all the detail work! I got hold of gold and cream cord on ebay, which was hand sewn to the openings of the bell sleeves, the armscyes, and around the neckline. The same cord is also used to lace up the under-sleeves. The cord on the upper arms is a thicker cream cord, and is tacked in position.
The embroidery design at the neckline wasnít difficult, just time-consuming, especially as Iíd never attempted it by hand before. The design is executed in satin stitch for the gold sections, and stem stitch for the silver vines.
The girdle belt is the same fabric as the dress, lined and interfaced. It seems to be cream in some images, but I decided I preferred it as white. There are two belt loops holding it in place at the sides, and a snap at the centre front to ensure it stays in place. It fastens at the back with hook and eyes. Thereís almost precisely 10m of gold trim on it.
The medallion belt was really awkward and quite a challenge to figure out! Itís made up of various silver rings, wires, beads, card and all glued together. The final pieces are sewn with clear thread and silver embroidery floss to the girdle belt.
The necklace is made from fimo and brass wire. The gems are painted with blue nail polish, and the rest is covered in gold leaf.
My wig is from Amphigory. Finding nice curly wigs is surprisingly difficult, and I even had problems finding a straight wig I could curl myself since I was being picky about the colour! I loved the 24B shade, which isnít too widely available, but since I was fixated on it, I just went for the Alisa wig since it came in that colour. I was concerned the wig might be a bit short and too curly, and indeed it was. That was easily remedied by straightening out the curls a little, which reduced it to being nice and wavy, and also lengthened it a little. More problematic was that it turned out to have shorter layers at the front. Luckily, the wig was incredibly thick, so I removed some of the wefts from the back, and these were repositioned at the front to even out the shorter layers there, as well as redistributing the volume more evenly. I donít think the style is precise, maybe if Iím ever feeling ambitious I could curl it into more accurate waves, but Iím pretty happy with it as it is, and I love the colour.
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