I now have two offerings for sale as patterns.
The hand stitching cord pattern as printable sheets with instructions
And Midna has been updated to include skirt design patterns.
It’s the end of November and I have just one month left in 2014 to Get Stuff Done.
I ended up taking a staycation last week and got three sewing projects knocked out and done, two of which were just finishing them for commission work, the third was my Arwen. Last night I sculpted and baked the belt buckle, so the things left are fixing the collar, maybe removing the zipper and figuring out if I’m going to baseball stitch the seams or not. The leather seams have a lot of bulk and it’s hard to keep the stitches nice and tight since they’re decorative and not functional. I also have to decide if I want to take in the bodice or not. I think I’ll pick up gloves at some point rather than making them, I don’t really have time to hand stitch a pair of gloves.
Things I Have to do this year:
1) Finish Brandon’s stupid uniform I volunteered to remake because I wasn’t 100% happy with the first one.
2) Eventually make Danielle’s Mara Jade jumpsuit.
3) Finish Arwen this year before the last Hobbit movie. If I don’t, it will never be completely finished.
Rocket Racoon, D&D cartoon characters and Purple Padme. Possible commissions on the horizon.
First con of 2015 MIGHT be Ichiban, we shall see.
Following various online sites for the “Chase Dress” from Lord of the Rings, I have mostly finished my grey leather Arwen costume.
I have a new costume I can literally throw on at a moments notice (yay) with minimal extra stuff.
This site had I think the most helpful photos. The movie is over ten years old now??? and some of the other sites had links to images on other pages that no longer exist.
This one is also full of embedded photos, but I didn’t always find it again when I googled the dress.
This page was most helpful with pattern suggestions.
I started with seven goatskin hides. They’re the right color but I mistakenly thought they were suede, which is what I really needed. In the end though, I really like the goatskin finish, even though they’re white on the insides of the skins. The ebay price was very good too – I couldn’t find ‘dove grey’ suede leather, and when I could, it was outrageously priced or far too thick. So this ended up being a really good compromise between settling for microsuede fabric and going for using all leather. I used 4 full skins for the skirts, which overlap very nicely and are full. 1 skin went to the sleeve bottoms, which are huge, and the other skins were enough for the bodice and upper arms. I had to re-cut one upper sleeve because the embroidery didn’t work out the way I wanted. It’s still hard to tell exactly how the design was done on the sleeves, but I’m happy with the machine embroidery, and it didn’t give me an issue with the leather. The bodice is unlined, but I’m considering either lining it or finding another way to reinforce the leather so it won’t stretch over time. I think I already have to take it in a bit.
Yesterday I re-hemmed the goldish sleeve material and fray-checked it. I glued down the inside of the sleeve material and trimmed it up – which is blue microsuede cut from a thrift store shirt. I trimmed down my ears yesterday too, so they should sit better next time. I still don’t have my 3D printed belt buckle, so it looks like I’ll just be making it out of worbla or wire reinforced sculpey. The last bit is baseball stitching the seams, but I don’t like the way I’ve started them. The good news is, this leather has been surprisingly forgiving of oopsie needle punches. I’m not entirely sure why the bodice pulls so much on the side near the arm scythe, so I’ll have to see if that’s fixable.
I think I’m planning on removing the front zipper entirely and replacing it with hand sewn in hooks and eyes. I don’t like that the zipper is somewhat visible, and that there’s a line of top stitching that is visible at the front.
The collar is still kind of crazy and needs adjustment. I should have done a pattern test on the collar, but alas, I did not.
I will probably not be offering this as a possible commission. The leather is too hard to find.
If we ever go back to New Zealand, I’m totally bringing this along.
We just bought a house, and it’s going to have a two-car garage, potential backyard space for a workshop shed and my sewing area will be doubled. We’ll finally have a room we can put all his grandparent’s antiques in and not leave them somewhere and hope they don’t get scratched. The house will be built to the design we want, and will be ready in a few months. Which means we have to move again.
Hubby’s working on a large vacuum former, which right now is taking up a lot of space in our rental place, but soon things will be changing. We’re one big step closer to renting out our original home after this weekend. In the mean time, we’re plotting up next DragonCon’s costume line up. I think the bug finally bit my husband and now he’s eager to put his workshop skills and tools to use on some fun projects.
This year, we went as our first ‘paired’ costume set, Rocket(te) and Groot. By DragonCon next year, we’ll likely again be Upgraded (fursuit)Rocket and (latex)Groot, some D&D characters from the cartoon back in the day, and a RIFTS duo. His costume, I think is secret for now, so I’ll just say I’m starting plans for making myself a Lay-line Walker and leaving it at that. My purple padme gown will make four costumes, and hopefully by then I’ll be in shape to wear Cursed Midna again, making that more or less my costume limit, allowing for one surprise outfit of some kind, maybe. I’m finding myself just not wanting to change all that often anymore. I’m having more fun wearing a well-made costume ‘all day’ rather than switching out to something I haven’t spent as much time on.
Poking around for Rocket Racoon reference images, I think this is my favorite thing that showed up. (artist and original comic book unknown)
I’m now sure that I can finish Padme’s Purple Senate gown.
Now I just have to find out what kind of dye to use.
Disclaimer: All photos of the dress are from Padawan’s guide. I haven’t made my own YET. But I’m working on it. The Padawan’s Guide photos are from here: http://www.padawansguide.com/purple.shtml – they are used only as references and to explain how the cord is laid out.
Use the photo below for how the cords should be finished – four rows of a single unbroken running bourdon cord (or two cords), as best described by Kay-Dee on her page here: http://kay-dee.net/costumes/purple/index.htm
The only thing her extremely helpful site did not have were the layout patterns for the cording; I am providing them here. I couldn’t have gotten this far without her pages and pages of tips and suggestions, so thank you Kay-Dee!!!
The reprinted images do not belong to me, but my traced pattern lines do. I you share them, please credit me back for the printable patterns.
Steps for using my patterns
- The images should all be printed out full size and taped together – they should all overlap by a few inches.
- Using wax-free tracing paper, put the colored paper face down on your fabric, the printout on top and trace the middle most inner line onto your fabric using the wheel. Pin the paper in place with regular straight pins so it stays straight up and down on your fabric. Your inner cord will fall along either side of this middle line, and then your outer cord will fall outside the inner cords. Use my printouts as a reference
The cording should end up looking nice and snug up against each other, in a flowing vine layout, done with a couching stitch and hoop. Use a silvery metallic thread if possible for shine.
The inner cord becomes the base for the outer cord. Snug the outer cord right up against the inner when you finish the full inner loop, which will run all the way around at the top, and then loop over your starting point. Add single loopys to the outer cord. Pay attention, some are single ‘tails’ and some are fully doubled, like the one on the inside that hooks off a bigger loopy
The cord will extend out past the top of the pattern I have here, but up until that point is all that is visible. I haven’t seen the dress in person so I don’t know if it extends further. Since the dress is always worn with the coat and the neckline under the coat is never seen, you could get away with just tying it off and not continuing the cord around the upper neckline and back of the neck.
I strongly suggest cutting my neck pattern down the middle and aligning the sides on your dress as needed for a wider or narrower “V” cording pattern. Unlike the front skirt panel and sleeves, there doesn’t appear to be any single loops using only the outer cord.
The sleeve cording pattern is ALMOST mirrored on each side of both sleeves, so you need four patterns total.
It doesn’t show the top of the arm, but we can infer from this and other shots that the sleeve pattern extends up and into the coat.
I like that these shots show the reflected purple glow from the velvet so you can really tell it’s not black.
Above is another shot from Padawan’s Guide – you can clearly see the cording extending all the way up to the sleeve cap/sleeve opening.
In this shot here (also from Padawan’s Guide, you can clearly see the waist seam, and you can kind of see a new curly pattern on the arm up at the top, which I’m including in my pattern. Anything above the mid-upper arm really is just guesswork on my part, so feel free to use the top sections as I have drawn them, or not.
It might be difficult to hoop the sleeves and neckline, but you can still do it by basting your cut sleeve pieces down on another piece of non-stretchy material at the edges, and then hooping. Cut the material off around the sleeves and you have an instant layer of interfacing. The sleeves seem pretty stiff in photos, so this might work out well in the long run. My sleeve pattern might have to be cut into a few pieces to get it lined up on your fabric correctly, depending on your pattern.
The reason I say the sleeve pattern is ALMOST mirrored is due to this infuriating shot here:
Granted, I find EVERY shot of this dress infuriating because the color seems to change EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But what am I looking at specifically? I’ll tell you. (PS, there’s a great shot of the crinkle fabric coat lining here)
This. This right here.
You can clearly see some of the loopy’s at the seam pointed down against the outer ones pointed up. I’m not going to redraw the pattern just for these couple of differences, so I’ll either conveniently ignore them or do the outer sleeve panels first and decide if I want to give myself a migraine or not.
I don’t have any other good shots that I can reference of the inside of the sleeves, so I’m going to just have to assume these are the only differences, if only for my own sanity.
The neckline might be best done after the dress is complete; just make sure it’s very well interfaced. Saving it to the very end/post attachment means you can cord around the upper neck easily. If you aren’t sure if you have enough to go around the back, start at a shoulder seam and stitch in place while the dress is on a manikin or a patient friend.
And that’s it for my contribution for your own costume’s construction. For everything else, go check out Kay-Dee’s tutorial, or if a Rebel Legion member, there are lots of helpful people on the forums who have already constructed this dress or can help with specific techniques.
Had to finagle the design some – my ‘leaves’ were too thin to properly 3D print, so I selected out the leaves and thickened them. I added more posts, and made them all the same height to help with printing. I pulled out the back of the design a bit too, since the buckle frame was curved inside itself a little, cupping inward from the back. I brought it out to strengthen the frame.
We’ll see if it works this time.