“I am no man”.
You know, I used to be a major Scrooge about things like dress ups and costumes. But things have changed, and in recent years I have actually enjoyed making my daughters their book week character costumes. And I have to say, I think that this year is my absolute FAVOURITE.
Clare chose Eowyn as her character months and months ago. Let us confess right up front here that Clare hasn’t actually READ the Lord of the Rings trilogy – but she has read The Hobbit, and there weren’t any female characters in it that she was interested in going as (I did suggest that she didn’t have to go as a female character, but she would have none of that). So Eowyn it was. Clare googled images from the movies, and had a clear picture in her mind about what her costume should be like. She wanted it based on the green dress that Eowyn wore in The Two Towers. Enter Burda 2463 for the dress and vintage Style 1034 for the collared undershirt.
All the fabrics and trims came from Darn Cheap Fabrics, with the fabrics from the $2 per metre table or the remnants bin. The dark green woven appears to be a cotton blend and was very easy to sew, gather and press. The lace overlay is a stretch lace. Originally I was looking for a jacquard, but after cost comparisons decided that the lace worked well over the green anyway. The undershirt is a black chiffon base with gold printed all over it.
We mixed up the pattern views a bit, using the double layered skirt from one view with the longer sleeves and plain upper sleeve puff from the other. The lower sleeve was lined with the stretch lace, and the underskirt has a stretch lace overlay. This gave a similar look to the film photos, remembering that we were inspired by the film for the costume but weren’t trying to reproduce it completely faithfully. Lace trim was zig-zagged to the neckline after the bodice was constructed – it is fully lined – but before I inserted the lapped zipper up the back. There was only just enough of the trim to get around both the neckline and the waistline. It was meant to be!
Halfway through constructing the dress I realised that I had only cut out one lower sleeve, and was out of the green fabric. So while I was at work, I sent my husband back to Darn Cheap on a mission to buy one more metre. Luckily they still had it in stock! He also went on a sword hunting mission, locating this rather appropriate piece of plastic at a $2 shop.
The overskirt at the front was lifted at two points and secured under the lace trim with a zig-zag. Fortunately this also provided a handy place to store her sword. Who’d have thought!
The undershirt is a modified version of the vintage Style pattern. I cut it off at hip length, left off the sleeves, sewed up the centre front to the bottom of the collar rather than using a zip, and kept the collar edges with one point instead of being notched. Clare could just slip it on over her head, then use a safety pin to adjust where the collar meets in the centre front once the dress was over the top.
Clare centre parted her hair damp last night, and slept with clips keeping each side in place. We spent half an hour or so with the curling iron in the morning, and before long she was looking a lot like the Eowyn we know from the films (if anyone knows Miranda Otto and wants to send her a link to this blog post, please do!). She still had some henna painting on her hand from an Indian themed night at Guides a couple of days earlier, and thought that it added nicely to the overall look.
Overall, this costume probably cost us less than $30 in materials, including the pattern, zips and other notions. The dress used loads of fabric, but that’s not a problem when it comes from the $2 per metre table! But in terms of the hours spent making it? Possibly about 8 hours in total, I suspect. It could have been a little less. I didn’t really keep track. In terms of sizing, the undershirt was size 8 and rather roomy, and the dress was in size 9 which matched up with Clare’s measurements. It is a great fit.
I love that Clare chose such a gutsy character to dress as for book week, and that the entire family enjoyed the dressing up process so much. She’s really finishing off primary school with a bang!