Monday, March 21, 2011

{Textiles} Tolkien-inspired Elvan court-gown.

A sketch is to come.


-Knee high leather boots, preferably custom made, in fantasy land where I can have whatever boots I want of pale cream leather, in the leaf-wrap pattern seen in the movies, with silver floral and vine embroidery around the edges, and white or grey leather cords to tie the boots on at the edges. Flat soled. In actuality, likely I'll end up getting a pair that are still custom made and expensive, but instead of a design that's close enough to keep the feel of the piece, in cream and pale blue leathers with silver-toned metals for the clasps. I know a few places in the Colorado Renaissance Festival out here that make boots like that.

-If not the boots, short silver and/or ice-blue satin slipper shoes with leather soles. Ballet slippers are close to the design, though the details are a bit off.

-Jewelry, silver with pale stones (again, clear/white and pale blue ones) set in it, in elongated knotwork. A necklace and possibly earrings, and a circlet that is shown primarily on the back of my hair, is all.

-Ear cuffs. I found an artist on both Deviant Art and Etsy who makes wire-wrapped ear points shaped like elf-ears. I'm aiming for a pair of those for this ensemble, because they're much prettier and much better shaped than the silicone prosthetic ears commonly found. And they're longer lasting, even if they're more expensive (approximately $60 a pair).

-Gown. Of my own design, and fortunately simple enough that all I need are measurements of the body in question to make it; no pattern is needed.

Construction of the gown:

-Fabric of thin, soft, stretchy, half-transparent and gently nubbed ice-blue silk for the exterior and bulk of the dress. If a type can be found which is woven so that it seems to change color depending on how the light hits it, it would change color from ice blue to midnight blue.

-A width three times the length of the torso from underbust to high-hip is gathered and laced around the torso.
-The skirt is several vertical panels, gathered and attached to the lower edge of the gown. It is long enough to brush the ground and indeed puddle on it by an inch. The gown would need to be lifted for walking-fitting of a court-dress. The "bodice" is a vertically gathered bit of fabric just wide enough to cover the bust completely, allowing for minimal cleavage if any at all, and the back of the neckline echoes the front's shape. There is 1-1.5" wide ribbon anchoring all seamed gathered edges, and in the case of the neckline and laced edges, it is sandwiched between the trim (mentioned later).

-The sleeves are tight to the arm, and similarly long like the torso of the gown. They are made with simple rectangles, and there are horizontally stretched and gathered pieces of fabric forming the caps of the sleeves.They go a bit past the wrist, the edges of the sleeves coming about to the end knuckle of the thumb, where the wrist widens at the base of the hand. There are petals attached to the sleeves just above the elbow shaped like elongated ovals, to imitate flower petals, which drape to the mid-thigh when arms are held out level, to the knee when arms are down. They are colored white, with silver thread shot through, and they are finely roll-hemmed in silver thread.

-The bodice, skirt, and upper half of the sleeves are lined with a thin, soft, but much much less stretchy and opaque flesh toned fabric. It is similarly gathered as the outer fabric, but half to 3/4 the amount is used for the gathering. The neckline is trimmed with silver floral trim, and there is the same trim decoratively sewn over the seam where the skirt attaches to the torso to hide the seam.  There is NO trim over the seam under the bust.

-The gown laces in the back with 2" sheer white or silver ribbon, or 3-4" wide swathes of strong but sheer or semi-sheer fabric. There is wide silver trim, likely fabric, around the back edges of the dress where it laces; the silver grommets are set through it.

-There is embroidery over the fabric on the bust, echoing in the mirroring area on the back of the dress. It is in silver thread. There is also embroidery on the upper portions of the sleeves, and while the bulk of the embroidery ends even to the underbust, it continues for another few inches where it fades off into a point. It is detailed, and of, for the most part, simple interlocking knotwork, spirals, or vines. Likely it would be done by machine, and it would be meant to be stretched with the fabric.

The ensemble would be worn with the hair half braided back, preferably intricately. The knot the hair would be braided into would be set to a level so that the back of the circlet could be pinned into the bottom of it. Makeup would be minimal, if present at all. Likely only foundation and a faint lip tint. No weapons would be worn.

This ensemble was also inspired by my drive to go to the local anime convention, and also because I've been wanting an elvan inspired dress for years, but I nixed this design for anytime soon thanks to the cost of the materials. I really don't like man-made fabrics, and I use natural fibers whenever I can manage it, so it'll take quite some time before I can afford this. The external fabric will likely be silk, and the lining will likely end up being bamboo fabric. Neither of these are cheap. I moved onto designing the Matrix-inspired ensemble after this, although this year-if I manage to go at all-it will likely end up being that I go dressed in some bellydancing garments, the alterations of which you will see in the next post-and the materials for which I already own.

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