Elanor Gardner Attire



Kara Marie

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

My Sister - Photographer

Outline the story …

This project is a celebration of the first world I ever got lost in as a child, and one I still return to twenty years later: Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Because this world is beloved by so many, I wanted to add a fresh take to my design concept and branch away from the amazing movie costumes. The past of the LotR trilogy has been thoroughly explored, but the future is more open, and I think imagining it is a wonderful way to explore the theme of escaping to another world. I thought about what the hobbits in the shire look like to my own imagination, and more specifically, what Sam’s daughter Elanor would be wearing twenty years after the events of the movies. I took inspiration throughout dress history from medieval kirtles to Victorian lace to create my own fantasy aesthetic. What I envisioned was Hobbit style with elvish influences, as Sam loved the elves and would wish to keep their concepts alive after they sailed west. Sam also named Elanor after a flower from the elvish domain of Lothlorien, so I made it the main feature of the embroidery design, which has art nouveau influences in the elvish aesthetic, while still looking like something you could imagine a hobbit making in between meals while sitting by the fire. I wanted every aspect to look like something you could imagine a hobbit making, and I certainly felt like one throughout the process of what is now my most beloved outfit.

Outline the construction…

I had several main goals when constructing this ensemble. First being that I must include all the techniques that I personally love: hand sewing, embroidery, knitting, and smocking, secondly that I create something practical that I would want to wear all the time, or the design would not be believable, and thirdly that it stays true to the theme and looks like something a hobbit would make and wear.
The chemise underdress is made from a modified Folkwear pattern. Instead of pleats, I did hand smocking in the front and back. I hand knit the lace so no aspect would look like something you would purchase at a modern store, and because I love knitting! I finished seams with whip stitches, bias tape, and french seams.
The side-lacing overdress is self-drafted, and because I’ve never made a boned bodice before, it took 10+ mockup iderations to get the fit right, but making something that I could not only pose in, but move and live in was very important to me. I used a bag lining and visible running stiches to construct the bodice. The skirt is a simple gathered skirt of 3 panels. The embroidery was by far the hardest and most time consuming, but I think there's a certain magic to the look of hand embroidery that can't be achieved any other way. After drawing the design, I went through many attempts to successfully transfer it to the fabric. After that it was hours of happy (mostly) hand embroidery.




  1. Avatar Cassandra Sif Jensen Al-Towaiji on April 18, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    I love the detail work on this. Also mad respect for knitting your own lace, it looks so pretty. It gives that perfect homely hobbit vibe. The embroidery at the front is also stunning. It all fits together so well

    • Avatar Kara on April 19, 2024 at 12:47 am

      Thank you so much! Your comment made my day!!

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on April 19, 2024 at 9:13 pm

    It’s such a stunningly beautiful dress, I’m in love with the hand made lace and the elven-hobbit esthetic. The dress looks both structured and comfortable, I’d definitely want to frolic on something like that.

    • Avatar Kara on April 20, 2024 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks so much! I think lotr fans always have trouble deciding if they want to be a hobbit or an elf, i say why not both? 🙂

  3. Avatar Heidi McCreary on April 20, 2024 at 3:05 pm

    Before evening reading your description I thought of a fantasy world. It reminded me of an anime I watched. I can see you running through a meadow of flowers. Your projects peaks the imagination. Well done

    • Avatar Kara on April 20, 2024 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you! I always love work that can bring images and scenes to the mind, so I really appreciate this comment! If it was spring when I took these photos i def would have chosen a flower meadow!

  4. Avatar Bethany on April 21, 2024 at 8:06 pm

    You’ve achieved your goal of making something that could be worn every day. I’d happily wear that just around the house or out to do errands. Very pretty and practical, just what a hobbit would love. (And I’ve also been a LotR fan since childhood.)

    • Avatar Kara on April 22, 2024 at 12:28 am

      Thanks so much!

      • Avatar Laura on May 1, 2024 at 2:04 pm

        Absolutely love, love, love this! Fbulous dress and the amount of work that’s gone into it is amazing ❤️

        • Avatar Kara on May 12, 2024 at 3:03 pm

          Thank you for your comment, it warms my heart!!

  5. Avatar Jenny B on April 24, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    Beautiful use of techniques, and an incredible result!

    • Avatar Kara on May 12, 2024 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks so much! it was a labor of love 🙂

  6. Constance MacKenzie Constance MacKenzie on May 13, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    Well done for persevering with the over dress fitting, it really made all the difference your embroidery is lovely and the finish and fastenings really add to the character.

  7. Avatar Marti Dolata on June 4, 2024 at 8:15 am

    No one has yet complimented your smocking, the design of which I fully intend to steal on my next smock. /you managed to incorporate many forms of handwork without making the outfit look busy or overdone. Nice design eye!

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