I’ve finished the last bit of machine sewing - the belt thing. I used the same gabardine as the dress, with added interfacing. It looks a little off in the photo since I'm not wearing it, and ironing would probably help, but you get the idea.
Planning out all the designs first took a while. I’ve had it sitting around for a couple of weeks now, as I’d occasionally get round to doing some more measuring, marking and pinning, then get fed up!
The vertical skirt part was easy, I counted the number of designs on the actual dress, and found the size they’d need to be to fit on to the length of my skirt. That was the simple bit, but whether the proportions would actually work out was another matter - what if I had to make curves too small in order to fit enough in? But amazingly, using the right number of designs produced curves which looked about the right size as well, so maybe Miranda Otto is about my height? I'm just delighted that it worked out perfectly first time!
The horizontal hip section was a bit more problematic, since it’s hard to count exactly how many designs there are. I was assuming it was identical to the skirt section, but wanted to check. Eowyn wears a medallion belt over the fabric part, and the medallions correspond to the gold trim designs. The usually amazing lotr costume site was amazingly wrong this time, suggesting that there are 24 medallions… which is not possible. To fit in 24 medallions, and allow for gaps between them, they’d need to be about the size of a 10p coin! Also, elsewhere on the site, it’s suggested that the medallions are about 2.5” in diameter, which is quite the contradiction.
So I chose to ignore whatever the actual number of medallions may be, and just go with a size that looked correct. My medallions are going to have a 4-5cm diameter, and there’ll be 16 of them. I think on the real belt, there can’t be more than 18 medallions, so I should be about right. In applying the medallion size to the fabric belt, the hip section ended up having identical measurements to the skirt part, which is what I was planning to do anyway.
After all that effort with maths, I had to mark out where all the trim needed to go, using a circular tin as a template for the curved lines. I drew on the interfacing on the reverse of the fabric, then with a bright light behind it, I could pin the trim in place on the correct side. I liked this method since it let me doodle away on the interfacing and experiment without having to worry about anything showing.
Actually sewing down the trim went very quickly, even though I used almost exactly all of the 10m I bought! With the curved trim sewn in place, I lined the pieces, then sewed the long straight strips of trim down, which acted to topstitch the lining in place as well.
There are hooks and eyes at the back as a closure, and belt loops, made from a thin cream cord inserted into the side seams of the dress. As well as those, I decided to put a snap in the centre front to ensure it stays in position.