Christiane Edel


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

jewellery: Catherine Martin

Outline the story …

When the theme was announced, I immediately thought of my favourite book, "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, which I read about once every other year. My dress is for the character of Arwen Undómiel, who marries the newly crowned king when the main adventure of the book is over.

Here I am imagining her as queen, living in Minas Tirith. We know from the book that she prefers a simple dress and I have therefore kept the decoration fairly unobtrusive. I would like to think that in her home of stone, she would surround herself with images of nature wherever possible, including on her garments.

Rather than going for the usual vaguely medieval long sleeved style often found in fantasy images, I took inspiration from the artistic reform dresses and art nouveau decorative arts from the turn of the 20th century, to create a light and unrestricted dress that she might be comfortable in at leisure on a warm spring day.

Outline the construction…

For the pattern I combined a princess style with dolman sleeves to achieve the flowing unrestricted style of the artistic dress with a more feminine, less angular, line. The material is a cream coloured chiffon with a chartreuse cupro lining and piping.

Some months ago I purchased a tambour hook on a whim and was therefore happy to have an opportunity to try this new technique on a project, using rayon embroidery thread with glass beads and sequins. Unfortunately, the fabric in my stash that I had earmarked for this project turned out to be unsuitable for any kind of embroidery and I had to find something else at the last minute, losing about two weeks that I had counted on thanks to the current lockdown and backlogs at the shops after Christmas. I improvised an embroidery frame that could take the whole width of the fabric and embroidered each panel separately, which then required careful matching when sewing everything together.

It also took me a while to figure out a suitable finish for the seam allowances of the centre side seams in this sheer fabric - not something I would normally work with. The front and back panels were assembled separately and edged with piping, then hand sewn together at the shoulders and along the top of the sleeves in intervals, giving a slashed effect. The hem is also edged with piping.




  1. Avatar Sadie on March 11, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    This is so ethereal, and the embroidery is so delicate and beautiful!

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 16, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you, I wondered if anyone would actually notice my creation among (expected) much flashier pieces 🙂

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:22 am

    The details on the sleeves are absolutely gorgeous!

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 16, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks! This was actually a last minute decision, when I saw that my original design (alternating half circles across the top) would have distracted from the embroidery.

  3. Avatar Lowana O'Shea on March 13, 2021 at 6:09 am

    A lovely design and interpretation of character! The embroidery is beautiful.

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 16, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate that!

  4. Avatar Rebecca on March 14, 2021 at 12:32 am

    what a pretty sleeve! this armen is a vision of spring! good luck from icarus!

  5. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:17 am

    Arwen is one of my favorite characters, and you really captured her natural grace and elegance. The embroidery also feels so organically elven!

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 18, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you! I‘ve always felt that Tolkien‘s elves and Art Nouveau go hand in hand.

  6. Avatar Catherine Sutton on March 14, 2021 at 6:04 am

    I particularly love the stunning view from the back!

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 18, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks. I made sure the embroidery would not be covered by my hair (which saved me some work on this rather large task).

  7. Avatar Briana on March 15, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Wow! What a dress!

    • Avatar Christiane Edel on March 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      Many thanks!

  8. Avatar Amanda on March 19, 2021 at 1:08 am

    I love the simplicity of the shape with the lovely embroidered details, it’s very elegant! Well done.

  9. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 10:31 am

    So lovely and elegant!

  10. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 19, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Fantastic job! I love your concept to use an art nouveau gown for a character like this, and you’ve done a great job bringing it to life!

  11. Avatar Linda Call on March 20, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    I can envision your character wearing this. When I saw your title, I wondered if it was Hobbit related…I am not disappointed at all. I love the simplistic embroidery – although I don’t imagine it was easy matching placements. Great job!

  12. Avatar Stephanie Tietze on March 22, 2021 at 9:31 am

    It’s an elegant piece. I love the floaty quality of the fabric and the delicate embroidery.

  13. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 22, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    I loved that flowing embroidery up the back and the detail shaping on the sleeves – especially the end bead. Also, the art nouveau is a brilliant flip from the medieval and totally works.

  14. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 24, 2021 at 1:50 am

    I love this so much, it is exquisite and truly elegant! Lord of the Rings was my favourite series growing up (I definitely wanted to live in Rivendell!) and Arwen was probably my favourite character too. I adore the art nouveau style and this interpretation of her is just gorgeous, the embroidery is beautiful and I love how you incorporated the floral imagery, so characteristic of art nouveau, into the design. I feel like it is a style is perfectly suited for the elves!

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