Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hobbit Costume!

Well, with the finishing of my cloaks, I decided to move on to my own Hobbit costume. I'm going as Elanor Gamgee (Sam's daughter), so I went for fairly rich looking fabric, since she's basically hobbit royalty (She went to become Arwen's handmaiden at 15, was named by Frodo, and inherited the Red Book of Westmarch (the book you see Bilbo and Frodo writing in at their desk and also the most beautiful prop book I have ever seen in my life)). She's a great character, and also has golden hair, a fairly rare trait among hobbits.

Pretty fabric!

Even the back side was pretty!

I found Simplicity pattern 5582 at Joann's and decided to use version C (the big picture on the right) for only the bodice and the normal looking skirt (I have no idea what that yellow looking disaster is).

So, first thing I worked on was the bodice. I knew it was the hardest and most complicated part, so I wanted to take my time.  So, after making marks on it and leaving it for a while, I realized that although I bought the pattern size 4-10, I am a size 12 in the strange world of pattern sizing. I had already marked it and couldn't really return it, so what's a girl with an occasional blonde moment to do?

Grade up!

Which basically meant tracing over the original pattern (size 10), then moving the line to the next size  (8) and tracing the size 10 line again, this time using the space between lines to move the size 10 up to a size 12.

Being the professional I am, I traced it with some wax paper and a dying Sharpie. Hey, whatever works, right?

Alright, I have my wax paper patterns, so I cut out my fabric pieces.

 Then it was time to add the interfacing, which is the stuff that goes between the outside and the lining.

So, see the V cut at the bottom of two pieces, that's to make a 'dart seam', so it's smaller around my waist than around the top. I couldn't figure out how to transfer the marks, so I added pins in a line and went for it.

 Not too bad, eh?

I did the same thing for the lining, minus adding the interfacing, then had to deal with bias tape for the first time. Bias tape is the silver line around the edges and the armholes, and helps everything look finished and pretty.

I used Extra Wide Double Fold, and researched several ways to apply it online. The best one I found was from a blog called Smashed Peas and Carrots (click to see it, she explains it much better than I can), and basically said to sew along the first fold, then fold the sides over, and sew along the edge. 

You can see the finished bias taped edge up in the left-hand corner, as I ready my hammer to start adding grommets.

Not going to lie, adding grommets scared me. I would have to cut holes in my beautiful bodice, and adjust the spacing from the original pattern, and pray that this wouldn't kill the hours of work I put into this thing. But hey! After some hesitant cutting, they turned out alright!

Well, I couldn't figure out why only half of the grommet spread out after banging on it forcefully with my hammer.

But then Jim pointed out that I'd probably have more luck hammering on a surface that wasn't a bouncy plastic work table. And I did!

I sewed a channel for my boning, which is a fancy word for plastic wrapped in thread wrapped in a ribbon casing. I've heard of other people using zip ties instead, and I'm sure that would work just as well.

After what felt like years, I finished my bodice. Onto the skirt!

I couldn't find a matching blue cotton fabric at Joann's, but my next trip to the Goodwill revealed a great matching bedsheet! For $4.00!

So I used some clever folding to maximize yardage, but kept wondering why the fabric kept sliding down the back of my table.

Apparently the kittens thought my fabric was some sort of new bedding/fort/toy.

After shooing the cats out, I cut out the pattern...

Attached the sections, pressed the seams...

Not pictured - my struggle to make a tie out of fabric using vague inclinations left over from 8th grade Home Ec while the epic sounds of Les Mis played in the background and finally ending with success.

Though I'll probably replace it with elastic later.

And here I am, with a finished bodice, a thrifted shirt, and a skirt that is not hemmed, but I was too excited to wait for that.

The Hobbit Costume with the Hobbit Cloak!

Les Mis was still playing in the background, and c'mon, how can anyone not be dramatic when Enjolras is belting out "Red and Black"?


  1. you are amazing! and it looks so awesome! you will be best dressed for sure :)

  2. Gracie! This is soo awesome! You are inspiring me to want to sew! Or at least inspiring me to wish I had a sewing room so I might want to sew... Love the color :)

    So... are you seeing Les Mis the day after you see The Hobbit?

  3. Also. Your kittens are very cute. You should make them costumes.


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