Tuesday, October 23, 2012


By Leaves of Lorain

I love Halloween. To be precise, I love the costumes.
I’ve done everything from Queen Amidala to a rock star to Cat Woman.
I get around a bit.

This year, my debate on what costume to do started about three months later then normal - in the middle of February.
Maybe I obsess too much??


I went through a couple different options before sitting down one day as saying to my self, “Self, you should do Robin for Halloween.”
That was about mid-May, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since!!

I’m really happy with my choice this year, and for the first time ever, super excited!!

I had in mind to do a straight up replica of Robin’s garb.
I started with a lot of research.
I’m a fan of Robin. I have a preference to Batman over Superman any day, but Robin’s my guy. I’d rather be the sidekick who can say the one liners, do the childish things and enjoy life.
So anyway, my research wasn’t on the various Robins, but Robin’s costume. Of which I found waaaaaayyyy too many variations!!!

Not only does every comic book Robin have a different look, but all the film Robins have different looks, as do many of the fan pictures, costumes, and cosplayers!

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that rather then trying to pull of a guy look, I was going to design my own Robin costume and make it decidedly female.

I had a couple different things in mind when designing this costume.

1) I want to look female/sexy with out being overly exposed in a skin tight mini skirt and low cut bodice (like most of the female variations I came across in my research) which ties in with reason # 2 --

2) I want this to be a functional costume that could conceivably be worn as an actual super hero outfit. In other words, I want to look sexy and still be able to kick your butt.

3) I want this costume to be something that will stand up in the line of Robin costumes. Upholding the Robin tradition of comics and films.

So this is what I came up with.

What do you think?
The proportions are a little off because I was in flurry of creativity. He he.

Colors are the key to classic Robin’s costume. (with a few other basic elements)
I knew what kind of fabric I wanted for the costume (Knit) because it comes in the bright colors I want, and it also has the right feel and look to it.
I wanted satin for the cape, of course!

I was able to find everything perfectly - bright green, bright red, dark black, and a light yellow (not gold!) for the cape.


I worked on the leggings first.
I have since vowed to never make another pair again!!
They turned out alright, but I discovered that you should always check to make sure the fabric you think is double stretch really does stretch both ways!!

I used a pair of my leggings for a guideline, and they worked out well. The cut leggings look a bit like a lop-sided triangle.
I also added a few inches to both top and bottom for hems.
Wide band of elastic at the waist

The cape is wider then it is long (due to the skirt, I chose to go with a shorter cape)
I measured across my shoulders and added about 4 inches in either direction for width.
For length, I went from shoulder seem to mid butt.

I self lined the cape, sewed it together, pressed and then top-stitched to make it lay flat.

My mom helped me gather it in at the shoulders and I stitched it to get the gathers to lay correctly.
I used Snap Tape to attach the cape to the tunic shoulders.

Tunic/Leotard/collar/cap sleeves
I started with finding a really long shirt that fits my curves really well and was high necked.
I used that as my pattern and added a few inches to the bottom  and sides for seems.
I sewed the shoulder together and split the back for my zipper, and widened the neck hole a little bit.

The collar I used from Simplicity 4942 for the basic shape, but did some modification to make it fit correctly.

I cut the collar in one piece (it looked a bit like a bat symbol!), cut two of fabric and one of interfacing. Then I cut them all in half.

The collar will be in two pieces because the zipper is going all the way up the back into the collar.
I sewed it them together, and top-stitched to lay flat.

I pinned the collar into the neck of the tunic and sewed it down. It was hard to get it centered with out a marker, so it ended up a bit off center, which screwed up my pattern.
Oh well.
That’s how you can tell I’m a real super hero - my costume was handmade!!
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I put the zipper in next. I think next time I will go with a shorter zipper.

I sewed the sides together and it looked something like a tunic.

After three hours of work, this was the shape that came out.

I started out by cutting out the sides where my legs would be, then sewing the bottom together. I then took in the sides to match my curves and worked on the shoulders and seems.
My siblings got tired of me yelling ‘I need a zip!!”
They told me next time to make it so it fit the first time.
I love you guys.

I added the cap sleeves in green after I finalized the tunic. I laid the tunic down on my green fabric and tried the match the shape of the sleeves to the tunic. I had pin and re-pin them a few times before I was happy with the placement and sewed them down.

I roll hemmed every rough edge on the tunic and sleeves.

I used a skirt of mine as a pattern (I recommend using a circular one)
Sewed the sides up, put in the elastic waist band, edited the length, and then cut out my ‘fluff’ and sewed it under the elastic band.

Utility Belt
Still is in need of utilities!!!
I measured my waist (wearing my full regalia at this point) and added two inches to either end, cut and sewed, then turned it and top stitched.
I did not use any interfacing so that it would fit my curves better.
I used hook and eyes for the closure.

I designed my own version of Robin’s emblem and drew a full sized pattern which I cut out and used to trace my ‘R’, sewed the two circles on to my tunic and then traced everything with black fabric paint to make it pop.

I used heat adhesive interfacing on the back of the R and the braces to make them more sturdy.

The three braces or cross pieces or thingies (think classic Robin) were cut out, then roll hemmed and attached to the tunic.

I cut two long strips of fabric (enough to cover my forearms all the way around and from finger tip to elbow) and basted them together, then narrowed them as needed for my wrist, using my own arm inside the ‘sleeve’ as a guide.
I narrowed between the fingers and the thumb as well, to create the look I wanted.
I roll hemmed the gloves and might add some embellishment later if I so feel.
Oh, do note, I made the gloves out of knit, so they stretch a bit. That’s important!!

Here I am, in all my sidekick glory, ready to battle some supervillians!!


I better get my boyfriend in his Batman suit over here soon…

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Arwen’s Rose Gown, Lord of the Rings,

The Fellowship of the Ring, cut scene

By Leaves of Lorian

        …A Quest…
…One Ring to Rule them all….

…and many…

I might be just a little bit obsessed with Lord of the Rings… just possibly.
But only if you ask anyone who knows me.
Or reads my Facebook account.

My latest project is Arwen’s Rose Gown. She wears it in a scene cut from what was probably The Fellowship of the Ring. (Who knows with all the mixing they did)
There are pictures of Liv with the Hobbits, Peter Jackson and a few production assistants on set for what is obviously Rivendell.


Besides that, I don’t really see this as a traveling gown.
In one of the sites I ran across in my research, it credits this gown to a scene between Arwen and Aragorn while Frodo watches. It did not site how this conclusion was drawn, and I disagree. There is no evidence of this. (unless it is mentioned in one of the special features on the DVDs that I haven‘t watched)

My research on this gown has been expansive, and in all the photos and references to the gown, Aragorn is never seen or mentioned. In several photos on set, Liv is standing and all four hobbits are with her, but never Aragorn. My suspicion is this scene comes between Frodo being hugged by Merry and Pippin (during his first day up and around after Weathertop) and his reunion with Bilbo, and was between Arwen and Frodo with the other hobbits watching. Likely the conversation had to do with the Flight to the Fords.

*** I have also seen production photos of Arwen in her Chase Gown fighting orcs or nazguil (out of costume) and it is possible there was a battle scene during the flight that was cut, and this enters the conversation.

The background of the photos looks more like Helms Deep, however, and in that case, this whole realm of thought was irrelevant. He he!! ***
We now return you to your regularly scheduled notes!!

Ok…one more note. There is one photo that I found that confuses me greatly. It’s a scene cap of Arwen looking up at the camera, and based on the neck line and color, it’s her Rose Gown. However, the fact she isn’t wearing her cape and that her hair is different then in all the other photos make me highly curious what scene this shot was actually in. (??)

(of the dress!!)
The Rose Gown is at least three parts - underdress, overdress/coat, and cape with hood/cowl.

The underdress
Based on other Arwen’s dresses and the fact many of them are constructed the same way, I believe the underdress to be silk, probably dyed light rose, with a sheer netting of white embroidered flowers sewn over it.

(As though the silk were lining, but sewn with the right side to the wrong side of the netting so it shows through on the final gown)
This idea for construction is similar of many of Galadriel’s gowns, and Arwen’s Arch dress.
The shape of the underdress almost appears to be an empire waist. It’s much looser in bodice and fitting then many of the other dresses in LOTR.

The sleeves are tight, similar to the loose/tight fit of the Battle Dress, Farewell Gown and Reforging Cape’s underdress. They appear to have a slight flair at the cuffs.

The collar is a deep cut, almost V neck. It rounds gently and sits wide on the shoulders and deep in the breast, like the Arch dress, Morning Gown, and Lavender Bead dress.

The hem is a straight hem, just above the ground. There is no train.

The overdress/coat
(I will call it the overdress)
Is likely a dyed velvet like many of her dresses. It is a lovely rose velvet, and you can see the sheen in the folds of the dress.
It is slightly fitted through the bust, then falls free.
The front is sewn together from the neckline down about six inches. (Over the bust) It is open the rest of the way.

There is no seam below the bust, it is one piece of fabric from shoulder seam to hem.
The neckline mirrors that of the underdress. You can see a hint of the light rosy underdress under the collar of the overdress.

The sleeves are in two parts, seamed at  1/3 down (from the top) There is a Elvin scroll pressed into the velvet just above the seam.
The top part of the sleeves are tight (ish).
The lower part of the sleeve is much larger. They are split at the elbow, not above it. The hem of the lower sleeves are straight, not rounded.
Falling straight down, the sleeves of the Rose Gown look like tube sleeves, but are not because of the split on the side which allows for more movement.
Ignore the strange pull on the fabric on the dress and sleeves in the pic below. It’s from the mannequin, not how the dress is styled.

The hem of the overdress is a lettuce age.
The overdress comes down and puddles around the dress. It likely has a train. It is the longest part of the gown.

The overdress has a belt of matching velvet (about two to three inches wide) that fastens around the gown just below the bust, creating an empire style waistline.

My guess is they used buttons (maybe even a zipper??) to fasten the belt. I will probably use hook and eyes.
The belt is not in the display of the rose gown, so it obviously is not attached to it.

The Cape/ Hood/Cowl
Had me confused for a long time, reason being there are no reference photos showing the hem line of the cape, and the only thing I had to go on the was original concept design.

My original idea had the cape as a leaf-shaped, single piece of velvet that fell from shoulders to ankles with a hood/cowl attached.
BUT, after careful examination and some logic work, I think I finally figured out how they made the cape, and my first guess wasn’t that far off.
The cape is made of the same rosy velvet as the overdress. It falls from the shoulders to just above the ankle at the longest part. It does not look like there is any sort of pattern on the cape. It is shorter then the overdress.
The cape is a rectangle of fabric with a hole cut in the center, draped over Liv and then the front cut in two. (somewhat similar to Legolas’s counsel cape or Eowyn’s starry mantle)

See that little drape up there that just appears and is shorter then the rest of the cape?? That’s the edge of the rectangle of fabric.

You can see how it sits on her shoulders here, with the cowl.

My theory is you have to get into this thing by pulling it over your head. See how they are adjusting it? Liv is pulling at the cowl. And in the second picture, you can see the assistant holding the cape by the cowl, and the hole there.

The cowl is large enough to be a hood, and drapes down the back. It is sewn in at the neckline. (the original concept design calls for a crossing of the cowl, but I don’t really see that in the photos)

Mine will probably be made unattached and then sewn on to the cape after I get the positioning correct.


(I know you probably get tired of seeing my poor imitations, but hey…
..it’s my blog…and maybe my mistakes will help you make yours better!!)

I went to the store knowing exactly what I wanted.
And I found it.
Rosy colored stretch velvet. It has the right sheen, the right texture and falls right.
The down side will obviously be the stretching. Blick. Well, storage in a box, here we come!!
I am glad I didn’t get ’real’ velvet for this gown however, because I do have one dress made of velvet and I have to be extremely careful about storage…my Arwen’s Battle Dress
(I have a blog for that, if you haven’t seen it - it is one of my faves!!)
The stretch velvet will be for the overdress, cape and hood.
I wanted 9 yards, and ended up with 7 ½…I guess we’ll see how much I can stretch out of it, eh?
No pun intended, of course.

For the underdress, I didn’t have as clear an idea. I knew I wanted something light, pretty and soft. I also knew I didn’t want to go the two layers of the undergown route.
What I ended up finding, much to my surprise, (I would have never picked this!!) was a bolt of quilter’s cotton in a beautiful marbled pink.
It doesn’t have white flowers, but the pattern is gorgeous! There are light pinks, roses, bright pinks and white all marbled in together. And to my shock it actually looks really nice under the stretch velvet!
Not to mention it is washable, press-able, lightweight, soft and breathable…I think a win?

So maybe not perfectly accurate, but I am happy. I can always make another underdress should I find a perfect material later on.

For the underdress, I used Simplicity pattern 4940. It’s one of the Lord of the Ring
take-off patterns.
(Eowyn’s Shieldmaiden gown, her green gown and Arwen’s Blood Red dress)
I used the pattern for the ‘Blood Red’ take-off gown,(dress C) minus the collar, sleeves and bows.

I used this pattern primarily for the neckline.
We had to make our own facing for the gown.
For the sleeves of the underdress, I used Butterick B4827
I’ve used this pattern many times, most notably for my Arwen’s Battle Dress and Contessa Dress.

For the overdress, I used Butterick 6630.
It’s pattern for a Napoleonic style dress and coat. I used the coat part, because it opens and fits the bust like I want my dress to do.

For the sleeves, I combined Butterick B5007 and Mccalls MP273. I used the top of the sleeve from B5007 and the bottom of the sleeve from  MP273.

For the belt I used my favorite belt pattern from Butterick B4827

I cut the underdress pretty much to the pattern, only adding a few inches on the bottom to ensure it was long enough, and of course cutting the sleeves from Butterick B4827.

Was very interesting to cut out. The fabric was so thick, I has to resort to using our Cutco© scissors because our fabric sheers wouldn’t cut!!
I cut the 6630 pattern mostly to specs. I did have to modify the neckline to mach my underdress, which was archived by holding the underdress up to the cut fabric and then cutting it. Then I had to match the back to the front…I hope it turned out ok!!
The sleeves were fairly simple. The top part (B5007) did not need any modification, and the bottom part (MP273) I cut down to get it to match the width of the top sleeves and keep them straight on the bottom and sides.

Cut on the smallest size of the B4827 belt pattern.

The Cowl/Hood I cut out using my Legolas’s Counsel cape cowl as a reference.
I extended the cowl so it would be larger.
I folded the fabric over and cut along that line. The hood is about a foot tall, when standing up

For the cape itself, I got my mom to lend a hand. We cut a hole in the center of a rectangle of fabric (not too large!!) and I put it on (short sides to at my arms), rounded slightly, and cut up the front.

(the best part!!)
The underdress was fairly easy. I opted for a zipper in the back since it would be hidden under the overdress and cape. It’s shaped but roomy. I did have to take up the shoulders a bit to fit my figure better.

For the sleeves, I sewed them a bit narrower and widened out at the bottom for the flair.

All the seams on the underdressed are surged.
The hem is about an inch and a half above the floor, and it is roll hemmed.
The back is a bit lower then I would have liked. I would recommend cutting it higher.

The overdress was interesting. The pattern was very different then anything I’d worked with before, and add to that the add lib I did, you get a very unique gown!!
The bodice was a pain in the butt.

It has interfacing and lining (I self lined), and the lining gave me quite a bit of trouble.
After getting it all together I discovered that the bodice didn’t fit me right, so I had to take up some tucks on the side, which helped considerably.

The sleeves were actually quite easy. I hemmed them the bottom section first, then sewed it to the top part of the sleeve and attached them to the bodice.

 The skirt of the overdress came together well. It is about a foot longer then the underdress and drapes very nicely. I rounded the hem and roll hemmed.

The bodice itself is fastened in the front by seven hook and eyes.

On the whole the overdress turned out nicely. I dislike the seem between the bodice and skirt, but am hoping the belt will hide that when I get it done.

The belt does not have interfacing (I tried it and it was way too thick). It is top stitched to keep its shape, and fastened with hook and eyes.

The cape was roll hemmed only, nothing further done. Might want to do some stay stitching at the shoulders if your fabric will allow or is stretchy like mine.

The cowl was fairly easy to sew. I put the seem on the outside (or underside, depending on how you look at it) and sewed that up. I had my mom pin the cowl to the cape while I wore it, so I could get the positioning right. It was slightly prickly.
I was forced to hand sew the cowl to the cape because of the thickness, and then hem the cowl over the opening. I really like how it turned out. It hangs very well and I like how it sits on my shoulders.

Over all, I’m very happy with my Rose Gown

What do you think?
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.
Nai elyë hiruva.

Nai truantel ar varyuvantel i Valar tielyanna nu vilya!!