Those of you who are familiar with the Lord of the Rings might recall a couple scenes where Arwen Evenstar wore a gorgeous red and black gown, commonly called her "death dress" as depicted during Aragorn's morbid vision of her while gazing into the palantir.
Well, here's how I recreated it.
Following the same mockup pattern that I used for Arwen's coronation gown (Simplicity Costumes #4940, style C), I slightly modified it by cutting a deeper neckline (to make room for the neckband) and increasing the legnth. I wanted a nice, flowing train for this one. I also changed the sleeves, which I'll explain in a bit.
I purchased everything, except for the lace, at Joann Fabrics. I used about 6 yards of black velvet and about 3 yards of red velvet. I also found a red paisley silk print, which I used for the neckband and sleeve cap things (I forgot what they're technically called). I simply made a small pattern out of newspaper for the those.
Here's a closer look at the paisley fabric. The actual fabric print that Liv Tyler wore had some black in it, too, but this was the best I could find.
According to picture references, Arwen has some sort of lace which looks like it covers the top 2" of the neckband. This REALLY bugged me while I mulled over what it could possibly be. So I ended up taking a scrap of the paisley back to Joann's, where I maticulously went up and down the aisles, laying all sorts of laces over the paisley, trying to find one that looked right. Unfortunately, none of them did. But then I came across some black tulle with silver sparkles and thought it gave a satisfactory, dimensional, effect.
Once I had trimmed and tacked the tulle over the top portion of the neckband, it gave a similar appearance to the real deal, but not close enough for my liking. Once I come across a more accurate lace, I'll probably replace it. (Later, after finding a better picture reference, I realized the top portion actually lays UNDER the dress, but alas....)
I used a different lace, also ordered through an Etsy supplier (fabulessfabrics), to overlay the paisley fabric on the "sleeve cap things". This lace also had a paisley pattern.
The sleeves on Arwen's original death dress are actually much longer and more rounded than what the Simplicity pattern provides, so I experimented with muslin until getting the general shape. Basically, it's a very long D shape.
I did use the Simplicity pattern sleeves for Arwen's coronation gown, which turned out pretty good, but I wanted a more dramatic look for this gown.
Once everything was all sewn together, I ended up hemming the bottom of the gown quite a bit, since I'm so short. I didn't want to risk tripping all over it. But I did leave the long, flowing train. The picture posted below was taken before I hemmed up the bottom.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. And may the evenstar forever shine upon you. :)