Monday, August 13, 2012

Lord of the Rings Photoshoot

by Leaves of Lorian




Contessa Sabina Del Moray of Braviana, BlackRock Medieval SummerFest 2012

Leave of Lorian Original Design

By Leaves of Lorian
Thanks to New Age Duchess Designs for the cover photo!!


I’ve been attending Renaissance faires for over six years. I’ve been working them for about a year now…and my greatest wish since my very first faire has been to be on cast…

So here I am, a dream come true….on cast for BlackRock (Which will be amazing!!) …playing the Contessa (the part I really wanted!!)

Naturally, I needed new garb for this part, and they wanted a Goth/vamp feeling for the part….my first thought in response was something along the lines of Padme’s Senate gown in Episode II…

But that’s far more renaissance then medieval....So I had my boss look through my sketch book, and here is what she picked out for me to make and wear.
And I’ll be the first to admit, I did not like this dress when I sketched it. It was based mostly on Galadriel’s Mirror Gown from LOTR

…I also worked in under sleeves from Arwen’s various dresses, a sash from Arwen’s farewell dress…the original design called for two dresses, the overdress of lace, like
Arwen’s Arch dress….Yeah, I make very simple patterns, right???
Well, after being simplified, my Contessa gown will be one layer of black fabric, no train, with tight inner sleeves of gold, huge black over sleeves lined in burgundy, a burgundy collar and sash both embroidered in gold.
Or maybe I didn’t simply that enough??

Sounds fairly easy, right? HA!

First off, I made two dresses. The first one made me look like a man (not like a young, shapely contessa!), so my mom helped me with the second one in order to get it done on time…thanks Mommy!!
The first pattern we tried was
McCall M4490
We’d picked this one up a few months before. It was period with no train and had lacing as well as tight sleeves. Game on! Eh, not so much.
It wasn’t until afterwards we realized it also called for 8½ yards of fabric…. And that it needed to be gathered in the front, which made for a very baggy front, at least on me. So…
We ended up using one of our favorite patterns- -
McCall M4491
We used this one for the basic dress (Dress A), and also for the huge sleeves (Dress D).
We used the bottom part of the huge sleeve, adapted a bit - we didn’t want the sleeves in two pieces.
(We did the same thing in my Arwen Battle Dress form Lord of the Rings a few months before - We’re getting really good at it!)

For the Sash we used
Simplicity 9891
Just the sash of dress B (I think), widening it a few inches per my fancy. This pattern is a take off of LOTR dresses
(Arwen’s Chase dress, farewell dress and dream dress)

The inner sleeves of the dress are from
Butterick B4827
The collar of the dress was add-libbed. You might be able to use the facing pieces from M4491.

Is always a nightmare for me to find…
Had I had my way, it would have been a velvet and silk gown, with embroidery over everything!

But alas, this is not that dress….so…

I got 7 yards of black crepe, (LOVE THAT MATERIAL!!!!) for my dress and over sleeves. It’s extremely light, flows beautifully, and is a dream to sew!! It also doesn’t water stain and washes well!!

For the burgundy lining of the sleeves, collar and sash I needed 4 yards. I ended up with lovely crepe-backed satin, which I used in my Evil Queen gown a few weeks earlier.
I loved it in that dress so much I went with it for this one. It’s fun and usually doesn’t water stain. That’s important if I get caught out in the rain.

I got an extremely light satin for my gold inner sleeves. That only took a yard. I was extremely relived…that there was enough material on the bolt!! :P

We started with the black.
We just cut the pattern normally (a relief after the last few gowns!!) but without adding the extension. In retrospect, we might have added the train because it was a bit short in the back when it came time to hem, so word to the wise!

We cut the over sleeves using pattern M4491, and adding the top of B4827 to get it to fit into the arm hole.

We moved on to the gold and cut the inner sleeves. We used the B4827 pattern for width, and cut them long, because I wanted to experiment with points.(Fun fun!!)

For the burgundy lining of the sleeves, we used the black already cut as the pattern. The sash was cut to the pattern, only a few inches wider. We cut the belt with no change.

The collar was add libbed, cut to match the top of the dress.


The dress was fairly easy. It sewed up nice and went quickly. Our sewing machine rage-quit once, but other then that it went nicely!!

I took the collar, belt and sash and started my embroidery. I seem to be obsessed with it…
I sewed a Elvin design on the belt, a few vines and my personal crest, and more Elvin deigns on the sash. I also did the Blackrock Phoenix from the emblem (with permission!!)
The sash is double sided so I can swap sides for different days. There are two deigns on each side, one larger on toward the top, and one at the bottom.
And the collar was a mixture of vines and Elvin symbols.
You can see the progression in the two photos there…

our crest in progress
Here’s my final Phoenix

I got the embroidery done in about 32 hours (total, not continuous time!!) and we were ready to move on to the actual dress.

We attached the collar to the dress
and then moved on to the lovely sleeves…We had to trim them down a bit, but they worked nicely and the burgundy lining looks fabulous!! I tacked them at my elbows to give myself more breathing room and also so the lining shows more!

The little inner sleeves of gold are faux sleeves. They are like opera gloves, come up to my elbow and are elastic, so I can take them off when I get hot. They point, and have  a loop that goes around my index finger to keep them straight ish.
Here’s a side and top veiw

The dress is a lace up pattern, so naturally I kept it! I punched and grommeted then used leather lace from other projects.
We took the gown in a bit at the natural waist to fit to my curves better and then hemmed it. The back was a tad short, but it turned out just fine.

So here it is!!
Thanks to everyone who took these photos!!!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or if you just really really like my stuff!!