Since August, I've been working on making my costume for Halloween with the help of my mom, my grandma, and a lady at church who has an epic embroidery machine. Yesterday, we finished it, so Mom and I did a photoshoot. Well, three photoshoots in different locations. And hopefully we'll be able to recruit a horse to use for another one before this part of Utah turns into a frozen, blizzard-y wasteland for five months.
(Click to enlarge.)
Now for some notes on the construction of the dress. It took the lady from church ten hours to do the embroidery on the vest and the neckline of the underdress. I feel kind of bad about that. It took me at least that long to braid the cording that's wrapped around my upper arms. My fingers hurt for days afterwards, but it was worth it. The bottom half of the vest is made of the same brown fabric as the upper half; I had to add all those lines of quilting myself on one of the sewing machines in the lab here at Utah State University, which took about six hours. I found the shoes at Wal-Mart by accident, so that was nice. All in all, this costume represents about 50 hours of work. I plan to wear it for Halloween every year until it no longer fits me, as well as to the premieres of the upcoming films based on The Hobbit
, and to any Renaissance Festival type thing I happen to attend. Previously the reason for growing my hair out so long, it will now be the reason for staying in shape. :P
The pattern we used to make the dress is not actually a pattern for Éowyn's shieldmaiden dress--no pattern seems to exist for that. At least, not commercially. I found a pattern by Simplicity that came close, but I had to add pieces to it, much to the horror of my mom and grandma, who are very "by the pattern" sewers and who didn't think a novice sewer like me would be able to pull it off. Those pieces were the cap sleeves and the embroidered girdle at the bottom of the vest, as well as the embroidery on the back of the vest above the quilting, because the pattern only called for embroidery on the front (which would have looked very cheap and fake, in my opinion). And I had to alter the neckline on both the vest and the dress. Because we did actual embroidery rather than basic ribbon trim, I also had to do a lot of hand-stitching on the vest. Oh, and I came up with those little ties to gather the sleeves the way they're gathered on Éowyn's dress, because if we'd followed the pattern exactly, we would have used the sewing machine to gather them and it wouldn't have looked as authentic. As you can see, despite Mom and Grandma's misgivings, all of that worked out rather well even though I'd never done anything like that before.
I fully intend to wear this around campus all day on the first of November, because Halloween rudely decided to fall on a Monday this year, but all of my classes are Tuesday/Thursday classes. And I'm certainly not going to wear it to work that Monday, lest I ruin it with pizza sauce.