18th Century Rosie Cotton



Lauren Thomas


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

Rosie Cotton is a minor character in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series. Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin return to the Shire from Gondor, after saving Middle Earth by fighting in a great war and casting the Ring of Power that held together the life force of a remnant of the first great evils. They find their idyllic home has changed and is occupied by ruffians and a greatly diminished Saruman, called Sharkey. The four heroes drive out the ruffians and Sam settles down with Rosie Cotton to live a happy, prosperous life.

I always liked Rosie as a character, though her part may have been small. She says some fun, cryptic things upon first seeing Sam after he returns from his grand adventure that bring more depth to the "women's life" of the shirefolk that the books don't really go into. When I first read The Lord of the Rings, I imagined the hobbits of the Shire wearing a high school Lauren's vision of 18th century dress. Now, being inspired by the many amazing sewists in the costuming community, I wanted to create an 18th century gown for the Rosie Cotton that I imagined years ago. I chose to follow the Isabella MacTavish Fraser Gown pattern created by American Duchess because of its accessibility and beginner friendliness.

*The shift I am wearing is medieval and not made for this gown*

Outline the construction…

My materials are a very strange wool/viscose blend that I got on sale and would not repurchase, and linen thread, beeswax, needles, and 2.25yds of cotton velvet from B&T that I will. This gown and petticoat are 100% handsewn because that's how I like to spend my evenings. Most seams are done in a running backstitch and seams are finished by turning and felling them. The skirt panels were cut selvedge to selvedge so those are unfinished. I had two major challenges in this project, my fabric choice and fitting onto my own body alone. The fabric is a woven blend where every other fiber is wool or viscose and also a sort of open weave, so it almost stretches. I had far less trouble with the velvet from which I made the petticoat. I had the presence of mind to make a mockup for the bodice and that is a good thing because I have a more extreme bust:waist ratio than Isabella did and wide shoulders to boot so I had to add in a triangular wedge to my pattern. I found the AD pattern booklet invaluable as it is so detailed and helpful. Because of the detail included in there, I am happy with how this fits and I have a good amount of arm mobility required by a working woman of the Shire.




  1. Avatar Wendy on March 12, 2021 at 2:34 am

    I love the stays, so pretty and the blue is super fun.. The velvet petticoat is gorgeous. You look fantastic.

  2. Avatar Sparrow on March 12, 2021 at 3:07 am

    I’m loving how many of us looked at the contest theme and went “Tolkien character!” The blue contrasting with the stays’ main fabric is so striking and the whole thing looks so comfortable.

  3. Avatar Anasazi on March 13, 2021 at 12:08 am

    I love the beautiful color contrast of the stays, and how the stripes meet at a diagonal on your bodice front 😍 So lovely, and all hand-sewn!!!

  4. Avatar Margoton on March 13, 2021 at 11:55 am

    The stays are adorable, just like the gown! It’s really beautiful. What impresses me the most is that you’ve matched the stripes everywhere, I’m sure it wasn’t easy! That’s an delightful ensemble, well done!

  5. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 14, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    That velvet petticoat looks so comfy !!

  6. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 3:45 am

    Delightful garment, and beautiful work.

  7. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 15, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    That is so lovely- it just makes my heart so happy!

  8. Avatar Maia on March 17, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Rosie is such a kind, smiling character! You got it exactly. Very well done!

  9. Avatar Susie on March 17, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    This is gorgeous! You did a wonderful job. I love Rosie!

  10. Avatar teresa van twuijver on March 21, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Never saw a ‘polonaise’ with six back panels before (perhaps I haven’t seen enough of them), and it really works with the striped fabric. Very pretty

  11. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 24, 2021 at 12:26 am

    The bodice has such a beautiful shape and fit! A also love the stripes ! You look as happy as only a hobbit can be, well done!

  12. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 4:55 am

    This is so beautiful. I love the entire thing! So well done! Thank you!

  13. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 25, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    This looks fantastic! I’m impressed with your finishing!

  14. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 3:35 am

    You’ve made a wonderful dress for Rosie, the shape of the bodice is gorgeous! Well done for all your hard work, hand sewing the entire thing, and for struggling through all the fitting on yourself (I understand how hard it is!), you managed it beautifully!

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