Friday, July 8, 2011

Eowyn's Shieldmaiden Gown (2003)

This was my first major costuming project and I'm still pretty proud of it. That's not to say that it's not without problems, but the final product was fairly impressive for my skill level at the time. I made this dress to wear to the midnight premiere of The Return of the King, having been inspired by glimpses of it in the trailer for The Two Towers and Katherine's recreation. I also used her instructions for drafting the corset. 
Me, wearing the dress the night of  The Return of the King premiere.
This dress consists of three parts: the corset, vest, and chemise. I made the vest using Simplicity 9888, which I'd fortunately already had on hand. The pattern is intended for knits, so I added a zipper up the center back to close the vest. I used three rows of Fishhooks on each side to make a cap sleeve and trimmed the neckline with Waves. The fabric for the vest and corset is a faux suede from Warehouse Fabrics. This was the first project where I encountered my neckline issues, which you can see I corrected in the vest with a dart on either side.
The corset is quilted all the way around and boned with plastic featherweight boning (this was LONG before I discovered the wonders of steel). It is also trimmed with Fishhooks and features hand-sewn eyelets for the back lacing. The chemise is the only part that I'm not really happy with, but the fabric is gorgeous. I based it on a bliaut pattern from Patterns for Theatrical Costumes by Katherine Holkeboer and underestimated the amount of fabric I would need, thus the sleeves came out a little wonky. I was also working so close to the wire that it was never hemmed properly - just basted.

I learned a lot of skills from working on this project, which I still use today; pintucks, hand-sewn eyelets, drafting, pattern resizing - all kinds of things. I just wasn't ready to tackle embroidery at the time.


Kay said...

For some reason, even though I'm a follower, your posts never show up in my blog feed. Bizarre.

Also, I can't believe the things you make. You're like a sewing god.

Annie Maura said...

Abigail's had the same problem. I should probably take a look at the settings and see if it's something I'm doing wrong.

If I was a sewing god, then I would have fingertips of steel and perfect vision.