One more long-overdue project off my plate!
A few years back, my sister-in-law told me she wanted to be Galadriel for Halloween. So, for her birthday last year I found her the fabric for the gown, and for her birthday this year I am giving her the gown. And here it is, finally completed!
I used the Simplicity 1551 pattern for the main gown. I didn’t bother to take any procedure photos, because it was just a common commercial pattern that was nothing special. I was determined to just follow the directions and get it done ASAP… but, well, I have the curse of not being able to follow a pattern as written. I really wanted to, and when I did actually follow the directions, I regretted it. Immensely.
What I loved about the gown & pattern:
*It’s just so damn pretty! It’s certainly an iconic Galadriel dress, despite not being screen accurate. It’s exactly what I was looking for, and it was a nice and easy pattern. I enjoyed making it!
What I didn’t like or changed:
*Those stupid princess seams that looked extra stupid when sewn together as indicated. Who has weirdo lumpy boobs like that? Were those nipple holsters? I had to seam rip and pull out the bumps, making it all nice and smooth. Maybe it was the fabric I was using? The pattern? Maybe my sew-fu just failed me? Whatever. Boob Disaster Averted.
*That inadequate neckline facing. Really? A Galadriel gown that I had to make my own lining for? Come on! It’s WHITE! I ditched the facing and turned it into a full blown opaque lining so she won’t be arrested while wearing it.
*The drape around the neckline– they made it just an inch or so too long, so you are instructed to draw threads and gather it a little to “ease” into the neckline. I followed the directions, and hate the result. Now it just looks puckered like I don’t know how to sew, instead of being all nice and smooth. It wasn’t enough to give it a gathered effect, just enough to look puckered! GAH! It looks especially puckery on the back, thankfully her hair will cover it all up. If you are going to make this gown, just fit the drape to the neckline and change the side angle at the shoulder seams to adjust for the drapiness. I wish I had done that! Too late now!
*I didn’t bother putting little hooks on the back drape to connect it over the zipper– that would have just been too awkward to get in and out of… it looks fine hanging to points on either side of the zipper, her hair will cover it anyway. If I had it to do over, I would change that angle as well, so the drape ends lay neatly on either side of the zipper, and not make points. Ah, hindsight.
*The yardage requirements were out of control! They told me I needed about 11 yards 60″ wide, or 13 yards 45″. That is without a lining. Add another 7 or 10 yards for a lining. 18 or 23 yards of fabric! I suppose that would be okay if you used some dumbass specialty fabric with a nap, and used the gigantic “scraps” to make about three other dresses and a purse. If you use a fabric that looks the same upside down and rightside up (as I did with that sheer embroidered poly georgette) I did it in a little less than 7 yards 54″. The lining, using a fabric that was the same on either side (as most lining fabrics are,) I got away with a little less than 5 yards 60″. So, that is 11 total with very little waste, versus 18 with a shameful amount of waste. Blow it out your yardage hole, Simplicity!
*I used my serger for everything on this gown. All seams and hems are serged, which worked out really well and looks nice! A rolled narrow hem with Woolly Nylon on the sleeves, and a plain 4 thread overlock on all inner seams, even the armscye. I can’t stand to see seam allowances through sheer fabrics, this did the trick!
*I used an invisible zipper, not a regular one. I’m not really all that happy with the upper back of the gown, I was a little too sloppy and those drape puckers are still killing me. I am SO GLAD a mass of long blonde hair will be covering all of it up!
*I made a belt to go with it, but it didn’t come with the pattern– this is G’s Hobbit dress, not her LOTR dress. But, I felt she needed the belt! I made it from the scraps of the lining fabric, itself lined with interfacing, and added some pretty bridal trim with invisible thread. Oh, and PEARLS! Of course pearls.
I was a little horrified with my belt at first, no matter what I did, the edges puckered, lettuced, waved, twisted and looked generally asstastic, even with thick interfacing! I thought it would be okay with the part around the waist, it sat nicely on the hips and all the problems disappeared… but the hanging part just ruined my whole day. I re-cut it on the bias, remembering that cutting off-grain like that made a nice smooth edge for the 18th century gowns– and it did help, a little, but it was nothing to be proud of. I wondered and wondered what to do about it, and then finally the obvious answer hit me– just shove some plastic boning in there. It worked perfectly, and it looks beautiful. Very very happy with the belt now, she can wear it without it ever flipping or twisting around; it will always look fabulous, from all angles, in any candid photo. Whew!
*I haven’t hemmed the gown yet, I’ll do it later when she is here for a proper marking. She will probably want the train cut off– as it is for dancing around Halloween parties with a drink in her hand and surrounded by regular folk who don’t look where they are stepping– much better to not have a train. No big deal! I can add the removed train to the remainder of the fabric and probably squeeze a Regency gown out of it. Sure looks pretty for the photos, though!
*The gown feels heavy and slinky and nice, I really like it!
*Now I want one. I’m more an Arwen type, though, I’m not so blonde and ethereal. Maybe there is an Arwen-themed one in my future..?