Eowyn's Dress Diary


I'll document my dress here. Right now I'm in the design stage. This frock will be based on the one that Eowyn wears when she is packing items for the move to Helm's Deep. She pulls out a sword and has a few practice swings and during a back handed one, her blade meets with Aragorn's Elven knife. (Note the symbolic here)

(Movie sketch)


This frock has been duplicated many times with woes stated on getting the correct colors and Linen weight. The blue/gray underdress has a unique texture and it has gold thread running through it. The jumper is a medium weight linen.

My delima: Don't buy any more material. Use what I have. I pulled out a linen and a cotton that I had. Here are the colors:


Now I do like this color combination, very vibrant but I don't think that the people of Rohan would wear orange and fusica. So I went to the store and purchased the cheep Rit dye. I used 1 box of Sunshine Orange#43 and 2 boxes of Scarlet #5. Following standard instuctions here is the result.

(after 1st dye)


Even though the colors are muted from before, the more I looked at it (which as several months) the more I realized that they would not do. So I took the leap and dyed them again. This is a lot of material. About 8 yards of cotton and 6 of linen. I used 2 boxes of Rit dye Dark Brown #25. I used the machine method because I'm lazy. Set the water temp for Hot/Cold large load. I filled the tub with the hot water about 1/2 way. Added the pre-disolved dye into the water. I then added an unmeasured amount of salt (probably 1 to 1.5 cups) and added the material. Pushed the material down real good so that it was all squished up and under the dye water. Turned off the machine and put the timer on for 20min. Went back after that timer and started the machine up again. After 5 mins, the tub was full of water, turned off the machine again and put the timer on for another 20mins. After that time, I let the machine finish the load. I put the fabric into the dryer after the dye bath. Here is the results:

(2nd dye fabric)


I like the colors, much more muted and suitble for the people of Rohan to either purchase or make. It looks to me that they like bright colors but the living at Edoras and the Eastfold is hard and their color pallet is green and brown with red accents. The brown is a nice appropriate color and the fusia turned into a purply-burgandy kinda color. My problem is that the linen is this color and the brown is the cotton. I have much more of the cotton but it's cotton so will become the underdress and the linen will be the overdress.

Next step: The Pattern!


What a frustrating week! I had such plans for making up the pattern for the underdress. I used Simplicity 9103 for the pattern and ended up modifing like crazy. I wanted to use a pattern so that everything would fit together, but since nothing worked or rather I changed way too much.

I raised the neckline. The underdress has a higher neck. Then I changed the sleeves. I wanted the tight fitted sleeve but with the option to roll them up. I do believe that Eowyn had two underdresses for the movie. One with tight sleeves and one with wide sleeves that rolled up. Anyway I changed the seam line to run down the back of the arm and aline right under the wrist. I plan to have a loop and yarn closure to bring the sleeve in tight at the wrist.

I made the front of the bodice and made a back piece and sewed the sleeve in....ACK..what a mess. In my hury I didn't make a proper back. I picked out everything and started over. All this work an it's just the muslin!


Pulled out my 2 sewing books and read up on sleeves. I don't think anything in a book is going to help. My sleeve pattern resembles the older style in the 1500's. I'm looking at sites that have cotte and surcotte's on them. These patterns are more closely related to this outfit. I'm still trying to fit the dang sleeve in, but it looks like the armholes are too small and this underdress would look so stupid with puffed sleeves!!!


I gave up and walked away from the dress for a while. Worked on finishing my Ren fare bodice and finished that today (another dress diary). Went to JoAnn Fabrics and purchased another pattern. McCalls 4991 View D has a Blood Red Dress design (Yes I'm thinking Elven...doesn't everyone!) I'm thinking make something that's already planned. Don't reinvent the wheel...I see a problem already this pattern has princess seaming. I don't want seams...well only on the side.

I'm not a professional or even intermediate seamstress..all this is way beyond my experience...I'm still going to give it a go. BACK TO ROHAN.

I'm going to try another pattern Simplicity 8725 (discontinued). Modifications will mean a shorter dress length. The neck and sleeve looks good.


Today is Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday (even though he died in 1953, Happy Birthday Frank) He is the best American Architect ever.

OK back to ROHAN! I can't believe I'm still working on just the muslin. I'm not sure I have the knack for this, I guess I have to remember I'm still new at all this.

I've finished the underdress...mostly. I have to insert a zipper and do the hem. Here is what it looks like:

I'm sure the ladies had their hunting dogs with them, so here I am with mine. (sorry for the back side view)


I cut out the linen and here it is with the underdress.

I was toying with the idea that the outfit needed more contrast, so you see a bit of white at the neckline and the cuff of the sleeve. I've decided against that idea. When I cut out the linen I was going to line it. When I had both together it weighted a ton. So I'm not going to do that. I used the lining material (100% cotton) as a muslin and I am so glad that I did. Multiple fitting problems!

I don't know how to rescue this project..I've cut the linen and I don't have any more to make this. Some how the neckline is off. I thought I cut the fabric just like the underdress but I guess not. The shoulder straps are off the shoulder or almost. It's almost Elven in shape. I was going to have the shoulder wings but now I'm not sure. It looked OK in the picture above, but when I started sewing it all together it looks much different.

look at the shoulders and the wrinkles! Granted I'm holding this with my hand.

So now I have to work on the shaping of the dress and I decided to keep the bottom sides of the overdress open. When you walk you can see the underdress and it's very nice. So I'm going to lace the overdress on the sides without the openings like the original. I never was going to make an exact replica, but it bothers me that there are so many design changes going on.

6_25_05 Happy Birthday to Me!

Had to do that...sorry OT. I did work on the dress finishing up the seams and handsewing the lacing rings on the sides.

6_27_05 Finished!

Here are the final pictures.



Would I do this again...NO (ed note: see bottom of page)

I'd rather spend a lot of time making a very fancy dress then spend all the time I did on this dress and have a plain one. It is very confortable but I don't think I'd want to do this again..I know I would not. So next dress will be fancy(er). I really like the riding dress but since this was too much, I'd better not tackle it until my skills are better. So the Green Dress (which everyone does, but it is so pretty). The Beacon is nice too, but I like the green one about the blue coat! All that fur on the collor and the cuffs yummy...not green think green.

Back to the Refugee Dress

1. Colors and fabric is very different from the original. As a matter of fact I don't think I recognize the refugee dress in my dress.

2. The neck line was so very different from the original. The pattern I used was not close enough.

3. I could not for the life of me figure how to do the side lacing of the original. How do you finish those curved edges????

Next project will be Elven

P.S. 9_16_06

Wore this dress to the Ren Faire today and had a blast!  This was the most comfortable dress I've made I think and it was easy to move and eat and drive in.  I think now it was worth all the fuss. Yes! I'm glad I made this dress.













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