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[personal profile] starlightmasque

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!

Other notes:

*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. 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 at 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..?







Date: 2014-05-31 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gorgeous ... and the boob shaping is just weird.

Date: 2014-05-31 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I don't even know what to say about Boob Debacle 2014. Some princess patterns are smooth and pretty, this one just made a weird lump! It has left me in an existential crisis-- Was it me?Can I even sew?

Date: 2014-06-01 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not you but a very weird draft for a princess seam. VERY!!!

Date: 2014-05-31 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Looks good! Definitely iconic Galadriel, and it sounds like she will wear it well. I always like hearing your notes and process too.

Date: 2014-05-31 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! She is blonde and gorgeous, it's a perfect costume for her!

Date: 2014-05-31 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Here via the LJ Home Page)

It's beautiful! Your SIL is very fortunate!

Date: 2014-05-31 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I... Home Page... What?

That's so pleasantly bizarre!

Thank you so much!

Date: 2014-05-31 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, it was #50. You're welcome!

Date: 2014-05-31 03:11 am (UTC)
ext_482226: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
How pretty! Perfectly drapey and ethereal!

And those yardage requirements are batshit. I seem to remember something similar with a "medieval" Big-3-pattern dress I made in high called for something absurd like 7 or 8 yards. That dress is long gone, but I am STILL using the linen scraps left over from it!

Date: 2014-05-31 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much!

I have several of those patterns here, and omg the yardage they want is laughable. I understand they have to map out for the worst case scenerio (nap) but it's weird that they think it's unacceptable to piece things like the olden days, especially those big skirts! I love the way things were pieced back then, wasting nothing. It's a thing of beauty!

Date: 2014-05-31 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, that's lovely! You did a great job!

Date: 2014-05-31 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! (Hey, did you see that photo I posted that reminds me so much of you? I think it was back in the jodpur post you did a week or so ago.)

Date: 2014-05-31 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really, really, really (cannot say that enough) like this. Perfectly elven. It's been awhile since I've wanted to do something LOTR but I do now.

Date: 2014-05-31 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I know I am really ridiculously late to the LOTR party, but it just never worked out until now... and now I want one, too!

Date: 2014-05-31 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, it's gorgeous! Just out of curiosity, what kind of serger do you have?

Date: 2014-05-31 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

I have a Babylock Imagine that I bought in 2004. It has been a total workhorse for me, I run it to death and it is still going strong. It's easy to use, easy to change threads, and I could not love it more. I've had to change the lightbulbs a few times, and the plastic housing is slowly turning yellow, but other than that it's a dream machine!

Date: 2014-05-31 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah, I'm familiar with that one. The Imagine and Evolution are the main ones we sell. I figured with a rolled hem that nice, it had to be a Babylock.

Date: 2014-05-31 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is my first and only serger-- I guess I have no idea how spoiled I am! It's dreamy to use. It made a gorgeous rolled hem!

Date: 2014-05-31 12:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wonderfully evocative! You've done a great job on this, even if you hated---with reason---plenty of aspects of the pattern.

Date: 2014-05-31 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much!

Date: 2014-05-31 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Princess line dresses are strange in the boob area. They take having specific bras on when you do the fitting to get them to work right.

Date: 2014-05-31 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

Argh, princess seams! Bah!

Date: 2014-06-01 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Another absolutely exquisite creation! That would make a glorious wedding gown! I adore the detailing and the belt is divine.I hope you will share some photos of your SIL wearing it!

Date: 2014-06-01 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! The belt turned out waaaaaaay better than I ever expected. I love it! I will certainly share pics this fall when she wears it!

Date: 2014-06-21 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is really, really beautiful. And the fabric reminds me of the one I used for the smock in my pre-raphaelite-esque wedding dress :)


Date: 2014-06-21 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! The fabric worked so well. I bet your wedding gown was wonderful! You have such terrific style!

Date: 2014-07-16 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katey fittingoff (from
This is beautiful! I'm thinking of making one too. What fabric did you use?

Date: 2014-07-17 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, Katey! I used a heavy (rayon-ish) bottom weight from Joann's as the lining, and the outer fabric is an embroidered poly georgette-- they both worked out quite well!

Georgette Question

Date: 2014-09-09 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paul hickox (from
Did you purchase the embroidered Poly Georgette at Joann's also, or somewhere else.

Re: Georgette Question

Date: 2014-09-09 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I bought it at a local fabric store called Mill End, so not at Joann's. There is a lot of embroidered georgette out there, I hope you find just the right one!

Re: Georgette Question

Date: 2014-09-09 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paul hickox (from
Thank you for the information. I appreciate it.

Date: 2015-04-20 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi there!
I was curious as to how I would go about taking in the dress (instead of using the belt) to give it shape.
Would you suggest taking it in at the waist? Or is there another method that you would use? (I'm relatively new to sewing so I'm unsure!) Thanks!

Date: 2015-04-20 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

The gown is shaped by long princess seams, so it would be very simple to nip it in to fit the waist! Good luck!

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