Arwen's Chase Dress

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TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member





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.
Arwen Makeup
Elven beauty

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.


 

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CelticRuins

Sr Member
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!
 

TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
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! :)
 
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TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
Ack! I completely forgot the front buckle! It's an intricate piece for sure.







Shadow Dale Creations made the buckle in the last picture. While I think it looks perfect, I've also heard alot of negative things about the company. Has anyone here had experience with them? I was tempted to put in an order, but a friend of mine didn't get her own buckle order (for a different costume) til months and months after it was supposed to arrive. With there being an actual deadline to my costume, I don't want to risk not having an important part of my costume before I leave.

Are there any other companies or any sole person who could make Arwen's buckle?
 

CelticRuins

Sr Member
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.
 

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Arwyniel

Well-Known Member
Shadow Dale Creations made the buckle in the last picture. While I think it looks perfect, I've also heard alot of negative things about the company. Has anyone here had experience with them? I was tempted to put in an order, but a friend of mine didn't get her own buckle order (for a different costume) til months and months after it was supposed to arrive. With there being an actual deadline to my costume, I don't want to risk not having an important part of my costume before I leave.

Are there any other companies or any sole person who could make Arwen's buckle?
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.
 

Westies14

Master Member
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!



- Douglas
 

TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
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?

 

CelticRuins

Sr Member
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!
 

TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
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.
 

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TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
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. :confused) - Exotic Silks - Fabric » Organza » Crinkle Lurex Organza, 36"
 

CelticRuins

Sr Member
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*
 

CelticRuins

Sr Member
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!
 

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CelticRuins

Sr Member
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!
 

TheLadyNerd

Well-Known Member
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....
 

EnfantDeGuerre

Active Member
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.
 

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