Caitlin's Costume Closet
Eowyn's shieldmaiden dress
The two pieces of this costume were constructed several months apart. The vest was started and completed in the four hours before we left for the theater on TTT opening night. Since we couldn't get the chemise done (poor planning on my part-- I've gotten much better since then!), we added long rectangular pieces of fabric to the sleeves of the chemise from my Ren Faire outfit, and she wore the vest over that. I finished the real chemise that spring, and she wore the whole outfit when TTT was shown on our campus in April. Once again, the resources at Alleycatscratch were invaluable in researching and constructing this costume.


I made the vest out of upholstery fabric from a local store. It's a thick woven fabric, not really quilted, but it had the diamond pattern. The pattern I used was a very old, out of print pattern that my school's costume shop didn't want anymore. In the real costume, there are actually two pieces, a vest and then a corset over it, but no one knew that when we made the vest, so it's just one piece. The vest fastens with a back zipper, which isn't accurate, but it's perfectly functional. The vest is unlined because the fabric was already so thick.


The chemise is made of absolutely gorgeous cream silk fabric that was on the remnant table at a local store. The fabric's pattern is not accurate, but Amy didn't mind, so neither did I. Since the silk was partially sheer, I bought solid silk in the same color and made a simple drawstring skirt to go under the chemise. The basis for the chemise was the instructions from Dawn's Costume Guide; I altered the neckline and the sleeves to make them look more like Eowyn's. I shaped the square neckline into a curve and bound it with bias tape, and I shortened the sleeves and attached long rectangular pieces of fabric to the bottom of the sleeves, which I then gathered vertically.

Those sleeves! Oh, the sleeves were such a pain in the neck. I couldn't figure out how to get them to puff nicely at the shoulders, and then I couldn't figure out how to keep the cording from falling down in droopy loops. I ended up making the upper sleeve in two layers, with the top layer longer than the bottom layer so that the top layer "puffed" a little. Actually, since the silk is quite thin, it droops more than it puffs, but it's still a nice effect. As for the cord, I ended up tacking it down every few inches around the sleeve, but I'm still not quite satisfied. I think I'm going to make a band of the silk and sew the cording to it, then wrap the band tightly around the upper sleeve and attach it. We'll see how it goes.

Shieldmaiden dress main

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