~ The Requiem Cloak ~ (not open yet)
~ Special section: The cloaked elves ~

A very intricate blue/silver dress worn by Arwen in RotK. The dress is best seen when Arwen turns back to Rivendell instead of going to the grey havens with her fellow elves and has a discussion with Elrond about her future. For some reason, this scene was called "Requiem for the age of Elves", so that's where the name Requiem Dress comes from. It's an official name, btw ;-)

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This dress has been at the London Science Museum exhibit where I saw it (and also had a quick touch experience on the sleeves when it was re-arranged in the display), so I can tell a bit more about the details.

Fabrics & Materials (according to the tag in the museum):

Outer Dress: Hand dyed silk velvet.

Underdress: Hand dyed silk satin, silk chiffon, silk brocade with metallic thread and glass beads.

Which fabric for what part?

Silk satin has probably been used for the part of the underdress that isn't visible. The upper sleeves don't appear to be satin (not shiny enough), and satin would be a good choice to wear under a velvet dress because it's slippery (velvet tends to 'crawl up' on you). So, silk satin for the underdress.

Silk chiffon...hm,yeah, maybe the upper sleeves. *Must* be the upper sleeves. If so, the color is a custom mix. It is of a very lovely dark lavender color, sometimes blue, sometimes more on the violet side, hard to describe.

Silk brocade has been used for the lower part of the sleeves. It is a very fine, pale grey (almost white) brocade with tiny tiny tiny silver leaves embroidered into it. You can't really see this on any picture or in the movie, it looks just like plain silver fabric there. Pattern sketches for both upper and lower sleeves are below. It's a very light-weight brocade (otherwise the sleeves wouldn't drape that nicely).

Upper sleeves

-pattern sketch in progress-

The upper sleeve has a flower-motif emroidery that is partially beaded itself. The flowers and stems are made from purple emboidery thread (one or two shades lighter than the background fabric). The flowers have eight leaves, four to each side of the middle axis; arranged in groups of two.

The center of each flower is built by 5-7 small silver seed beads arranged in a circle. The stems/swirls end in a loop, this loop is also covered by 5-7 beads. Along the stems there are groups of three beads with a distance of about 1 cm between them. Somtimes they begin right where the stem connects to the flower, sometimes they begin a bit underneath. Just check how it looks, if there's a cluster of too many beads i.e. where the lines cross, just begin a little lower.

The same pattern also appears on Arwen's Lavender Bead Dress (on the capelet), and you can gain some quite detailed info on the beading from there:

HIGH RES SCAN of Arwen's Lavender Bead Dress.

Lower sleeves:


The pic to the right is a sketch that I did in front of the dress at the museum. The left one was done in Photoshop, using background color taken from a pic of the dress.; trying to show the arrangement of the pattern (the leaves are following no rules; they're upside down and in all directions). The leaves are silver metallic thread; very flat embroidery, almost disappearing into the fabric. Probably not really embroidered but woven. The background is more grey than silver, but probably there's metallic thread in them as well. From a distance, the pattern isn't even visible and the sleeves look like all-silver without any pattern. One leaf (= a group of 3 leaves and a stem) is about 1 cm. As I said,they're very tiny....

Sleeve length and shape

The lower sleeves are almost floor-length. I always thought they were left open from the elbow down, because you can clearly see Arwen's fingers holding up the dress in the famous "gazing up" pictures. The only mystery was how the sleeves could be open and at the same time look like this:

Definitely longer than Arwen's fingertips! If they were split, her fingertips would be visible and the sleeves would hang down from there just as the sleeve is doing on my brown elf dress (ignore the socks please *grin*).

However, there's another mystery - at least for me. On the pic above, the sleeves look trumpet shaped; with both sides equally long. So far so good, but looking at the trailer again, I noticed something....

Look at the pic to the right. Doesn't the sleeve trail out and billow much more behind her than in the bluescreen pic? Okay, she's standing a bit differently, but still...If you roll your mouse over the pic, you will see what I mean (I marked the spot in red).


So, is it a trumpet, a circle or a tube,or something entirely different?

Are they floor length or only just a bit about knee-length?

When I saw the dress at the
museum, the sleeves extended to the floor and seemed equally long on all sides. This photo confirms what I saw. Still, on the bluescreen pic, they are _much_ shorter. With the pic to the right, this would be three different sleeve styles and lengths. Which one is correct?

My theory is that maybe the dress/sleeve shape on the right picture was an early version for the trailer (this scene doesn't appear in the final cut of RotK). The designsketch for the Requiem Dress shows a shape similar to this. The bluescreen dress and the bridge dress _might_ be the same, the latter one being just a little more in perspective. The dress from the museum is probably identical with the 'gazing up' dress.



Go below to "My Requiem Dress" section to see what sleeve shape I decided for :-)

Another observation

Kyla sent in this picture, that clarifies much of the sleeve mystery. Thanks Kyla!

The sleeves are gathered on the inner seam. Clearly visible on this photo, the right sleeve. You can see the gathering lines. The sleeves *definitely* weren't gathered in the museum display, there was no seam and they were equally long on every side. So....

...maybe they are indeed floor-length (or at least longer than Arwen's fingertips). For the scene where she's running up the stairs, gathering seams have been added because she needed to be able to move her hands without having to look silly when trying to find the 'exit' from such long sleeves. For when she's on the horse, and also for the museum display, the seams have been removed...and voilà...still the same dress, two different sleeve lengths!

I think the shape of the sleeves comes closest to the shape in the designsketch. They are maybe a little longer than that, somewhere between knee- and ankle-length. If you look closely, the sketch even shows the sleeves with gathers!!! They're on the *outside* though, that means, on the shorter side where Arwen's hands can be seen. When she turns her arms into their normal position, the gathers will move and now be on the *inside* as we see in most photos. This will also produce the characteristic folds. I have tried this method with my sleeves, and it gives exactly the same results. So...the answer is:

It's the designsketch-sleeve, one time with gathers and the other time without them!


Underdress and sleeves (wide trim)

Click for trim reference photo

The trim used for the underdress and for the connection of upper and lower sleeves is the same. It's a very wide trim (about 4,5 cm). The background is silver.
Embroidery is done in silver metallic thread, probably bouillon wire (1), flat black sequins (2) , black plastic seed beads (3) ....yep, *plastic*.... and black glass beads (4).

Check the gazing up picture at the arm section. That's the best view on the trim pattern so far. You can clearly make out the star/flower that sits between the two curves.

About the colors:

The sequins and glass beads were *definitely* black on the original, though they look silver in all pictures. I'm almost sure there's either some color filter thing going on in the movies, the pictures have been photoshopped, *or* there are two or more versions of the Requiem dress! I almost believe in the latter one. First, there's the sleeve mystery. Also, someone over at ACS pointed out that when they saw the dress at the museum, the outer trim *did* have a pattern to it (and I believe them on this), while I saw clearly none...


The trim around the sleeve junction is the same than the neckline trim, but it has a *black* background instead of a silver one. Check the "gazing up" picture.

Trim of outer dress (small trim):

Again, this trim consists of silver embroidery; but I noticed immediately was that it is mounted upon a light violet background! It's only visible upon close inspection, but it's a nice detail. The edges of this trim are again silver metal thread. There is one row of small black glass beads on each edge of the trim (the same as on the wide trim). It appears as if the black and silver sequins are randomly sewn onto the trim, no particular pattern. The little beads do take on a floral pattern from time to time,resembling small leaves, but it's too random to be a distinctive pattern.

If you look closely, you can see the violet background on the outer trim on this picture.

Any kind of Sari trim with silver beads will work for this.

A visual:

My Requiem dress is finished! Yay! I have to say that this one was more relaxed and easy to make, unlike the Coronation Gown which still gives me headaches with the embroidery

The materials are silk velvet, silk chiffon and silk satin - just like the original ;-)
I dyed everything myself, and although the blue of the overdress is not exactly like the original dress, I like this shade of blue!

Yes, I love Photoshop! :-)

Colors used:

Silk velvet
First dye: Jacquard Acid Dyes #638 Silver Grey
Second dye: DEKA L Dark Blue and Brilliant Blue mixed 3:1

Silk chiffon
Avantgarde Silk paintig colors "Atlantic" and "Periwinkle"

Silk Satin
DEKA L Brilliant blue and Avantgarde "Periwinkle"

The dress is two-part, but the underdress is no dress...only a blouse. It is princess seamed and has a zipper.
The overdress is constructed from a back and a front panel. It has only side seams, no princess seams or darts, and is fit through the side-seams.

I decided to go with the sleeve shape of the designsketch because, like I explained above, it seemed the most accurate one. The tubes would have eaten too much fabric anyway. Plus, an observation that I made: The designsketches seem to be 99% accurate with the dresses that have later been made, so it seems likely that the Requiem sleeve shape follows the sketch. I also put the gathers in...on the *outside*, so when my arms are in a normal position...like in the photos above...the gathers will be on the *inside*, thus making it easier to hold the dress up :-)

This is the fabric I used, a brocade in greyish white with a tiny silver flower design in metallic thread
* Picture 2 in different light
From www.fabricuk.com

The upper arms...I embroidered the basic pattern with a normal sewing machine, using an embroidery foot (but no hoop) and thread one number lighter in color than the fabric. I guided the fabric through by hand. This was quite some work,ugh :-) Then I beaded along the pattern with tiny silver bugle beads. Luckily I have that large poster of Arwen in the Lavender Bead dress (that has the same embroidery on the cape as the Requiem sleeves) where you can see quite some detail on the pattern of the beads.

Left: my sleeve, right: Arwen's sleeve.
The color on my pic is a bit too bright (flash) and Arwen's is equally darker than in reality.
I also decided to make the 'body' of the blouse from silk satin,not from the beaded fabric. You can see a bit of the beaded chiffon through the armhole of Arwen's dress; I think they used it as far as it would be visible and then switched to the silk satin, but I didn't want to bead even more of this stuff....and...honestly...who looks through my armholes? ;-)

I used the dyed trim on the neckline, but left it black around the arms as I think I'm seeing it in the original Requiem dress. More on the trim below...

Comparing the pattern. Unfortunately the only good close-up of the pattern is from the b/w picture of the
Lavender Bead Dress,so the quality is a bit bad, but I have this in bigger as well....click the pic....

Another comparison of the pattern, the flowers this time. The original is in the middle, of course. You can see here how the beads are arranged (I did it exactly like in the Lavender Bead pic). I will make a sketch of the bead pattern soon...

The black silk trim from www.dollarfabric.com (a link to the trim can be found in my link list) that I used for the under"dress". I think this trim is very close to the original, at least if you don't want to embroider something yourself. It has the swirls and also the flowers. I just overdyed the black background with silver fabric paint. It was hard to bend into shape though because of the stiffness of the beads, and I had to cut out little "V's" and make inserts to achieve the desired effect.
It was a pain in the a** to sew on,and I'm still not 100% satisfied with the look. It's not silver enough for my liking. I decided to add some silver bugles and mini sequins (if I can find some,that is. 4mm sequins seem to be the rarest thing in the world) to the bouillon embroidery.

The trim on the overdress was a lucky last minute eBay find. It's two beaded collars that were already bent into a curved shape. It's a bit too wide for the overdress,but it has the same random pattern than the original one...so, what? ;-)

And lastly...the train. I didn't want to make this dress trained originally, but then there was a tiny little rest of fabric left that I would have had to cut off ...and I couldn't resist and made a train *lol*
It's a short train that not too many people step on ;-)


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