Feb 20, 2012, 12:01 PM - Arwen's Chase Dress
I am working on recreating Arwen's Chase Dress from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for the premiere of The Hobbit later this year.I'll be in New Zealand for the premiere so I'm wanting to have the highest level of accuracy that reasonable possible. So let the nit-picking begin! Now since I'm a linear thinker, let's start from the top, shall we?
Hair - While my hair is the right length and colour, I have nowhere near the right thickness. All my hair would be taken up in one braid! Arwen sports 3 Herringbone braids as well intertwined with her half-updo. I don't want to do a full wig as I feel that's unnecessary. One friend suggested getting creating 3 Herringbone braids out of hair pieces/extensions and attaching them to a comb I can stick into my hair. Not being a hair person, I'm not exactly sure how that'll work. Thoughts?
Ears - This will be the one thing I may forgo if my budget gets too tight. But ideally I'll go with Aradani's silicone elf ears - Small Silicone Elf Ear Tips
While doing a cast and mould would be the most accurate, due to a hearing disability I have, I'm very nervous getting any chemicals/plugging up my ears outside of a professional arena (i.e if industry professionals were casting my ears for a film). Besides, Aradani's ears look perfectly fine from what I can tell.
Makeup - There's two charts online where they actually listed the products used for Arwen's makeup.
I'm not going to go THAT accurate (especially since everyone's skin is different and what worked for Liv Tyler won't necessarily work for me. That and half of those products don't exist anymore. But still, it might make for a fun blog post to go to Mac Cosmetics and see if they can do an Arwen makeover. ). Though I am debating doing the little scar on the cheek. Hmmm....
Evenstar Necklace - Got it! I received one from The Noble Collection as a birthday gift.
Dress Bodice - Fabric - Fine dove grey leather suede about 1/16th of an inch thick. The suede is closest in colour to DMC floss #318. I've been on the hunt for this fabric for a little while now. I've found some decent micro and ultrasuedes (I will admit I've been having more luck with upholstery fabric than clothing suede). But nothing has quite popped out yet to say, AH! That's it! That and I have no idea how much fabric I would need once I actually find it.
Pattern - I know it's going to have to be heavily modified, but I bought Simplicity pattern #4940. (I'm not sure if there's a better pattern out there now. I was going by information quite a few years old.) It has princess seams that meet up with shoulder seams.
I can't figure out how the bodice fastens. Apparently the London exhibit confirmed there was a zipper in the front with a top hook and eye. Though I'm not seeing any evidence of an invisible zipper. There is also said to be boning in the bodice, but I'm not sure where, how much, and how far it extends.
Collar - It is a continuous rolled collar with a lace overlay. I've heard various ways that people have achieved the effect of the "lace" on the collar, but does anyone know how it was actually done on the original costume?
Upper Sleeve - After being baseball stitched onto the bodice, it looks like there's a little decorative cap sleeve, then the full upper sleeve. Alleycatscratch.com has a great diagram for the elven design on the sleeve. However, due to my inexperience I can't identify how it was done on the original costume. Is it hand-embroidered? Paint? Stamped?
Under Sleeve - Fabric - I've read that this fabric could've been any number of fabrics. Some say it was crinkle lurex organza, finely pleated/crinkled silk, habotai chiffon, or silver tissue. And the colour varies too from ivory to cream to metallic silver to opalescent to off-white. I haven't begun to look for this fabric since I can't figure out what it is. Thoughts?
Ties (for front tie and back sash) - Light silk chiffon fabric about 4 inches wide in the back and 1 - 1.5 inches wide in the front in a purplish grey hue. (Though the DVD commentary says grey, it looks more purple in photos/film.)
Skirts - Same grey suede fabric as the rest of the dress. (There appear to be 4 skirts total, 2 in front and 2 in back.) The underskirt looks to be a light grey china silk, closest to DMC floss #415. Though there is a debate on whether it's habotai or chiffon.
Breeches - I've read multiple times that they were plum leggings but from the pictures I've seen, including the one above, they appear to be grey. It makes the most sense to me for the breeches to match the grey purplish hue of the rest of the garment rather than a rich purple colour like plum. Does anyone know what material they were?
Boots: Matching grey suede boots that lace up in the back. I imagine this will be a matter of just finding boots on Ebay that look closest or grey suede boots and try to put a false lacing up the back.
Feb 20, 2012, 12:47 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I'm finally doing this one this year as well!
I'm having the a time finding the dove grey suede as well. I'm gonna have to lean to a micro suede, just to save time.
The lace on the collar was floating around a LONG time ago. It was Italian lace. They had the grey for a very short amount of time, but it also came in white and red. The white could easily be died or painted. If I find the link, I'll post it here.
Aradani has started carrying AWESOME silicone ears. They look unbelievable:
Small Silicone Elf Ear Tips
As for the boots, I'm starting with a base boot, something like this: Dylan Boot at Alloy
Then I'm going to afix a spat to them for the back lacing. I'm having an easier time finding grey suede boots as opposed to dark olive for Legolas, as we're currently re-doing my boyfriend's Leggy! -_-. I'm starting to think I may have to dye boots.
Thanks for this write up, btw! I'm faving this to help me along and make sure I don't forget anything!
Feb 20, 2012, 1:50 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Celtic Ruins - Neat! I'll definitely look forward to seeing how yours comes out.
I've found on polyester faux suede at a local upholstery store, but it's quite stiff. In addition, it has a backing to it that I'm not fond of (rather than just being the fabric itself, there's this stiff backing to it). So, back to the hunt I go!
Do you know how they attached the lace? If you do happen to find that link, I would be most grateful.
Aye, those ears are awesome. I posted them up in my first post, but the link might have gotten buried.
I like the colour of those boots! I'll confess I'm very debating having a heel on my boots or not. While it's not accurate, it would make me about 6 feet tall. (And from what I can tell you don't see much of the back of the boots). Nah, I'm a perfectionist, I'll stick with the right type of boot.
I plan on doing a full writeup of everything I'm doing for this costume as a resource for folks (and for other people, like you to chime in), especially since I can research til the cows come home, but I'm lacking in the actual production department. So we'll see how this goes!
Last edited by TheLadyNerd; Feb 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM.
Feb 21, 2012, 9:01 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Derp! Didn't see the silcone link! Glad you saw it!
The Venice lace doesn't seem to be on laceheaven.com any more. Of course they had it YEARS ago, when RotK has just come out.
I may end up contacting them. It wasn't cheap, if I recall, at around $35 a yard -_-. But it's perfect. If it can't be hunted down, I may just do some sort of embroidery and cut out work.
Feb 21, 2012, 9:10 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
If you value your sanity, money, time, etc PLEASE don't order from them. I ordered Boromir's horn from them and it was about a year and a half of lies, ignoring of emails, and huge frustration until I got what I paid $400 for. It wasn't until I went and filed a claim with BBB and went public with the story here and other forums that I got my item.
Feb 21, 2012, 9:15 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I've got a really nice replica of this dress which was made for my wife. The shadowdale buckle was actually made for us; it was a one-off cast in pewter. I'm afraid I can't recommend them; I'm not sure if they're even still doing business but there were a lot of headaches involved in that transaction. If all else fails, maybe someone could make a casting of our buckle for those of you who are tackling this project now. Looking forward to seeing how these come out!
Feb 21, 2012, 10:36 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Celtic-Ruins - I actually do have a picture of that lace! I didn't know where it came from though. That's actually why I wanted to start this thread since most of the information I can find on Arwen's costumes are YEARS old. Go ahead and contact them, it certainly can't hurt. Though I would think that despite it possibly being $35 a yard, you wouldn't need that much for the collar would you? (maybe? I could be totally wrong on that.)
Arwyniel - That's why I wanted to ask first before committing. My friend's Padme buckle was gorgeous, but it was a serious headache. Though, after reading a few posts here on the RPF, I'm wondering if anyone's had good/fast experience with Shadowdale Creations at all.
Douglas - Who made your wife's replica dress? I'm very curious as to what fabric her undersleeves are. The whole ensemble looks very nice! Thank you very much for offering to have someone cast your buckle. I very much appreciate it. I'll shop around first (to save you the possible headache), but if worse comes to worst, I may take you up on that offer.
I found a decent-size picture of the top of Arwen's costume to get another look at the fabric of the dress itself. From the costume card it definitely looks like distressed leather. But from the screencaps and promo pictures of Arwen, there's definitely a distinct furry nap to the fabric like suede. Thoughts?
Feb 21, 2012, 11:48 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I went ahead and shot them an email. We'll see what they say. I asked if they atleast knew of any leads as to where the lace might have come from or if they made it themselves...which I doubt. I've scoured and can't seem to find that lace any more. It MUST be out there, I won't give up !
And no, you certainly wouldn't need but a half a yard, I would think. *crosses fingers that they would allow a sale of a half a yard!*
I think a polymer clay sculpt of the buckle might not be too bad, but I made a replica of the buckle several years ago, to wear with a personally designed set of elven robes, and it broke right in half -_-. So it has it's pros and cons.
If you can make a sculpt and then a mold, it may work to make a Resin buckle. This might just be the way I'll go about it, unless I can pry a friend away from their own costuming, in order to cast me one in metal!
Edit: Just got an email back from them asking what color! Awaiting further results!
Feb 23, 2012, 9:06 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Awesome! Well, if worse comes to worst and the minimum they'll let you buy is a yard, you take half and I'll buy the other half from you.
I've seen a number of polymer clay buckles and while they definitely work for basic costuming purposes, it's still not quite the same as a resin/metal casting. I'll scout around and see if I can find anyone who can or would be willing to do a metal cast.
Feb 27, 2012, 10:27 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I found almost the exact fabric for the undersleeves (thanks to The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes and a little creative Googling)! It's a crinkle silk organza in ivory. It's listed on Thai Silks and Exotics silk, the only problem is they both are on backorder.
Thai Silks - $15 a yard (backordered) - Thai Silks - Fabric » Organza » Crinkle Lurex Organza, 36"
Exotic Silks - $7.50 a yard (backordered - and when I tried to add it to my cart, it said I needed to order a minimum of 15 yards. ) - Exotic Silks - Fabric » Organza » Crinkle Lurex Organza, 36"
Feb 29, 2012, 9:47 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
There's some of the lurex organza floating about on Ebay for a pretty good price.
As for the collar lace...yeah, that ran cold. The last email I got from them was "We'll look for it." I replied back a few times after than and...silence -_-. Nice customer service there. *rolls eyes*
Feb 29, 2012, 10:25 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
You gals probably already know, but one possibility for the collar is fabric/puffy paint.
Feb 29, 2012, 11:51 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Yep! I remember Maggie and a few others using this alternative.
For my own personal fulfillment, and because I'm crazy and like meticulous things -_-...I'm thinking I may just couch down the design!
Mar 1, 2012, 10:32 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
On the makeup front, this is a really good makeup tutorial!
Arwen Makeup Tutorial - YouTube
Mar 1, 2012, 3:51 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
dude that is pretty to just wear on a normal basis ... hell i would
Mar 1, 2012, 4:31 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Isn't it?! She's got alot of great makeup videos. I really want to do her Galaxy makeup...maybe for a random outfit at Dragon*con!
Mar 11, 2012, 7:25 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
That is a great makeup tutorial! I also read an interesting little tip from Liv Tyler (though I believe this might be for her regular makeup and not Arwen - but it still might work).
"After applying foundation and a little blush, dust your face with translucent powder. Then mist your face with rosewater and lay a Kleenex over it for a second."
Helps to get that dewy fresh look, depending on one's skin. Now to get some rosewater....
Apr 4, 2012, 6:00 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Hi there. You can add another one to the list of people who hope to make this outfit for the opening of The Hobbit in December. My daughter, who is 11, wants me to make this for her for the opening night in Sydney. So I will keep an eye out for materials and suppliers, and keep an eye on this forum.
Do any of you have a proper pattern drawn-up as a PDF or an Illustrator document? The first thing I will be doing is making a mock-up out of calico so that I can get the pattern and fitting right and to have a basic pattern to start with would be great.
Apr 4, 2012, 6:49 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Apr 4, 2012, 7:04 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I am giving this outfit some thought and have been wondering if any parts of the dress would be faced.
For example, is the collar faced with a second piece of suede or is the roll we see with the lace attached merely the backside of the material. If it is just a single piece then I imagine part of the purpose of the lace would be to disguise the quality of the material, as often suede will have a good side and a rough side. The lace would break up any imperfections.
Furthermore, I would assume that the lace could be copied as there is an almost complete pattern in this thread. I wonder how much it would cost to get a little old lady from one of the many pillow/bobbin lace craft groups to make up a few metres of it - they can work pretty quickly when they know what they are doing.
Apr 4, 2012, 9:47 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
From what I've been reading the collar has been one of the hardest parts for costumers to figure out how to replicate. So unfortunately, me in my beginner sewing skills (and knowledge), can only go based on what I've read online. Not saying that the collar couldn't be faced, but I haven't read of anyone who's seen the original costume say so. But you do bring up an excellent point about the lace possibly being a disguise and not just decoration.
Apr 4, 2012, 11:44 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
OK. I have given the collar some more thought (I haven't looked at this project until today). I have concluded that the collar is indeed faced. In fact if you look at the close-up of the collar at the top of this thread you can see a fine line on the edge where the collar has a simple seam joining it to the facing. I am also going to suggest that the collar is actually further reinforced with adhesive interfacing. It is only by creating tension between these three layers that you can get the collar to hold its particular curve. This would have to be done very carefully while the costume was positioned over a manikin to get the curve of the collar perfect. This is why costumers would be having trouble with this detail. Once you have the two layers of suede stuck to each other via the interfacing layer the curve should hold perfectly. The lace could then be laid onto the collar and fix on the inside and along the edge. Because of the tension in the supporting collar the lace would not have to be fixed in numerous places and could mainly "float" as I think was mentioned previously.
I also think the body of the costume is probably lined with a fabric like coutil. There is probably boning in the six seams which join the various panels of fabric around the waist. I imagine that the lacing down the front of the dress would distort the shape of the garment if there was no reinforcement of the seams with boning. They wouldn't have to be very stiff - just stiff enough.
The boning would probably be slid into the sort of slim pocketed material that is used for corsetry. If the body is lined with something like coutil, as I have suggested, then the boning could be sewn to the lining rather than to the outer body meaning the boning would be more or less invisible from the outside.
The upper part of the arm is probably also lined for comfort (I can't imagine that raw suede would be very pleasant against the skin) but clearly the lower arms and the skirt are unlined falling away to raw edges. With the edges being raw and unreinforced the skirt and sleeves are able to flow like a much lighter fabric.
Anyway, these are my first thoughts on how the suede part of the dress may be constructed based on what I have read on this thread and having just watched the scene on the FOTR. If you have any feedback please let me know as I have only just started thinking about how I am going to get this done today and I could be totally barking up the wrong tree.
In case you haven't heard of coutil before here are some links.
Coutil is a wonderfully heavy and rigid fabric but is still very comfortable against the skin.
Last edited by EnfantDeGuerre; Apr 5, 2012 at 2:26 AM.
Apr 5, 2012, 2:05 AM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
I guess some (or all) of you have already seen this webpage which discusses some of the issues I raised in my last post such as lining and interfacing the collar. I have just discovered it myself.
Making Arwen's Chase Outfit
Apr 7, 2012, 4:12 PM - Re: Arwen's Chase Dress
Would anyone be able to estimate the colour of this costume as a Pantone colour? I read on the alleycatscratch.com site that it is similar to DMC Floss #318.
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