Monday, December 10, 2012

Nynaeve Outfit 1

By Linda

The second character in my Wheel of Time doll series to be costumed is Nynaeve. (The first was Aviendha). Nynaeve and Egwene were the first two dolls I bought and in typical fashion their travels from the US were not smooth. In fact, they went in completely the wrong direction, ending up in a post office in Jamaica, despite the parcel being clearly addressed to Australia.

I’ve chosen to sew Nynaeve’s first high status outfit, kindly given to her by Lady Amalisa in Shienar:

Her dress was pale blue silk, embroidered in snowdrop blossoms around the neck and down the sleeves. Each blossom centered on a small pearl, and her belt was tooled in silver, with a silver buckle set with pearls. He had never seen her in anything like that. Even feastday clothes back home might not match it.

The Great Hunt, Dark Prophecy

Rand’s description is clear, but na├»ve. With silk, pearls, and silver tooling, this is a very expensive outfit, which no one in the Two Rivers would be able to afford back then, even if they had anywhere to wear it.

As I explained in the Aviendha’s post, the dolls are quarter scale, which means fabric thickness, decoration, etc, should ideally also be at quarter scale. The garments are sewn by hand with silk thread, whenever I could get some that matched, since they are small and the fabrics are often delicate.


First up was the creation of Nynaeve’s underwear. Such rich outer garments would be accompanied by equally luxurious underwear. Nynaeve’s shift is white habotai silk (see above left). It has French seams (fully enclosed seams), and neck and armholes bound in silk tape. The hem is trimmed in lace. Her petticoat (see above right) is white silk satin tied closed with silk ribbon instead of button and loop. It has lace around the hem matching that of her shift, with a row of chain stitch in white silk above the lace. Below left is Nynaeve in her shift, and the full ensemble below right.

Her ivory-coloured stockings are of a fine silk jersey. They have a seam up the back. Her shoes are purchased. I was able to find a pair that matched her outfit (see below). She got them off ebay like so many other young women.


As per Jordan’s description, Nynaeve’s dress is in pale blue silk with snowdrops embroidered around the neckline and down the sleeves. In the real world, snowdrops are pendant flowers yet Jordan specified that each flower centred on a pearl. This is not easy to reconcile. I attempted a full-scale version earlier on the year but could not get a design that made the description work, and sewed the flowers pressed open. This time I decided to let the flower hang from a sweetheart neckline from a wandering green stem to give a little bit of colour and value contrast.

I marked the outlines of the bodice and sleeve garment pieces on the blue silk, completed the embroidery and beading, then cut out the pieces and sewed them together. The pearls are from a broken vintage necklace. Then I constructed a bodice of pale blue silk chiffon as a lining and lined the sleeves and attached them.

Next was the skirt. It is 4 or 5 times Nynaeve’s waist measurement, and like the bodice, it is lined in chiffon. Both outer and liner have a French seam at the back and a rolled hem. The lining was placed inside the outer and the two were gathered at the waist as one and attached to the bodice. Finally buttons and buttonholed loop closures were sewn on a little distance from the opening edges. As was typical with these high status dresses, she cannot do it up herself, but would need someone to do it for her. Quite a contrast with Aiel clothing.

Nynaeve in her dress front and rear view are shown below.

Nynaeve’s belt is a pale blue ribbon (rather than leather which I couldn’t get thin enough) embroidered in silver thread in a design to match the dress, then another length of the ribbon sewn on the back. I made the buckle by buttonholing silver thread over an oval ring and buttonholed the cross bar, attaching pearl seed beads as I went (see photo below).


Nynaeve didn’t have a Yellow Ajah shawl in The Great Hunt, of course. But then her hair wasn’t this short, either. This is Nynaeve after the battles, in a dress that I hope she managed to keep, it being in Lan’s favourite colours of blue, white and green. Nynaeve’s shawl is yellow, but it too is embroidered in these same colours. I’ve sewn forget-me-not like flowers, although with a trailing habit, in silk threads in satin, split back and French knot stitches on yellow dupion (see photo above). The flame of Tar Valon is a white silk satin applique. The fringe is made by unravelling the dupion fabric and making tassels out of the weft threads by looping them into a foundation of squared Palestrina knot stich, which was also sewn using the dupion’s unravelled threads. The shawl is lined in thin yellow silk satin.

Nynaeve in her full outfit front and back.


Loopy_Lupe said...


Hopefully we do see this dress again, yes.

Anonymous said...

Nynaeve is always tight-fisted with her coin... I like that the shoes came from ebay!

Fragrant Elephant said...

Wow! Great little outfit!

I always thought the shift was one piece, but seeing the top tucked into the bottom and cinched at the waist made sense.

That shawl is epic. The fringe screams, Do not mess with me!

Unknown said...

Stunning! and so much work. I'm in awe.

Old Salt

Anonymous said...

Just a note: I think this dress was burned, along with all other belongings, when Nynaeve joined the Tower.

Linda said...

The White Tower burns the clothing a novice wears to the Tower, but not the other clothes she brings.

Nynaeve was not even a novice, but went straight to Accepted.

Both Nynaeve and Egwene took clothes they had been given in Shienar with them when they ran away from the Tower with Liandrin.

It was the Seanchan that burned everything that Egwene took with her to Falme. This is part of their dehumanising of damane.