Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Hobbit Maid Costume


Originally, this was supposed to be done by September 22, Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday. My excuse? A sewasaurus rex is never late; she finishes costumes precisely when she means to!

Walnut trying to get down = slightly better view of the whole outfit on me.

But if you ignore the fact that my self-imposed deadline was a couple months ago, technically this costume was finished early! I was only going to wear this for the movie premiere on December 14, and wear my Rohirrim gown for my party instead. However, I decided last minute that I should do a test run of the costume since it's done; I want to make sure it's comfortable enough for standing in line for several hours, and then sitting through a whole movie. I'm pleased to report that aside from it being very warm (too warm for our crowded apartment!), it is quite comfortable. With my elven cloak, it will be definitely be warm enough for SoCal on a December night.

I almost re-donated this pattern, but I'm so
glad I didn't!
This costume is basically three parts: the skirt, the chemise, and waistcoat/bodice. While I could've used the recently released Simplicity 1771, I know that the pattern drafting for Big 4 costumes tends to be ridiculously bad -- scanty directions, anachronistic zippers, up to eight inches of ease in bodices (I'm not even exaggerating), etc. -- and I wanted to make do with what I already had. The skirt was the easiest to make -- just two rectangles (a twin flat sheet torn in half), gathered, and bound at the top with a waistband. It closes with a grosgrain ribbon drawstring and a couple of snaps. The chemise was made from Simplicity 7842, a pattern I only picked up because it was part of a thrift store bundle, but I'm glad I had it, as it makes an excellent hobbit chemise. However, it would be pretty easy to make one even without a pattern; it's essentially a peasant blouse. For the bodice, I used Vogue 8648 because of its over the shoulder (as opposed to into the armscye) princess seaming. I did have to put together the bodice and waistband pieces to get the look that I wanted, as well as take out some of the ease to get an appropriately fitted look. To make the button front, I just cut my front bodice piece in half and added about 3 inches to the center front so that I could fold it over to make the button placket. My shell was originally a tablecloth, more recently cut into this dress failure, and now has taken its final incarnation (hopefully) as my hobbit bodice. The lining is an old pillowcase in a thankfully coordinating green.

My sketchy directions for making your own hobbit maid costume. 

To actually put together the bodice, I sewed the assembled shell to the lining, wrong sides together, then tried it on and folded the center front over to make the button placket. I topstitched all the seams so as to make the whole thing stiffer, then bound the edges in narrow olive green bias tape. Joann's didn't have too much by way of natural-looking buttons, but thankfully I found these buttons that have a similar motif as the tablecloth. Oddly enough, they're made of coconut shell -- somehow, it feels wrong to have such a tropical button material on a costume for what I imagine is a temperate-deciduous-forest-type community.

I was so please to see how all the various materials looked together!

Close up of the skirt opening. When it's all tied and snapped together, you can't even tell that there's a gap there. Also, if you look at the left side, you can see the place where I accidentally cut a square out of the fabric because I wasn't paying attention and had multiple layers stacked on my desk. I ended up putting in a bizarre little patch that people keep mistaking for a pocket. 
The chemise hits at about mid-thigh. 

The inside of the sleeve: I sewed a piece of seam binding on and threaded my elastic through that. 
A close up of the ties inside that gather the neckline. 
I'm really pleased with how this costume turned out, and I have to say that making it was also immensely enjoyable. I worked on it while my husband was just watching football, and we just so happened to have plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so I had nice large blocks of time to just sew away! There were only minor fitting issues, and no crazy new techniques to puzzle over, so I totally got into a groove, almost like runner's high, but sewist's high? Anyway, by the time I finished, I had a huge grin on my face because of how successfully hobbity I looked!

Summary:
Fabric: A cotton-poly blend twin flat sheet for the skirt, a 100% king-size cotton pillowcase for the bodice lining, 3 yards of 100% cotton muslin for the chemise, 1/2 of a small tablecloth for the bodice shell
Notions: Grosgrain ribbon for the skirt drawstring, 6 coconut shell buttons, a package of narrow double-fold bias tape, seam binding for the chemise elastic casings and drawstring
Hours: About 20 hours, most of which happened over one weekend!
Will you make this again? Not unless someone else wants a hobbit costume from me.
Total cost: $3 for the sheet, $6 for the muslin, $2 for the bias tape, $4 for the buttons, and the rest was free. $15 total for the whole costume -- not bad!


I'm hoping to get more/better pictures of me wearing this costume at the midnight showing. Elaine and I will be at the Chinese Theater line party. The last time I dressed up for a midnight showing on opening night was for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, so it'll be nice to do the whole take-pictures-with-other-geeks thing again!

Because, you know, I didn't do enough of that at my party. Also, doesn't Shayna make the most adorable male hobbit? 

29 comments:

  1. This is amazing! I can't believe this is a table cloth and a pillow case. Is there anything you can't make out of homewares? You look great and you are going to look fantastic at the movie - have fun!

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    1. Thanks! Although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to make a costume out of say, cutlery or dishware ;)

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  2. Wow! This is so awesome! I love all the things you make, you are very inspiring! I especially love the patterned bodice, what beautiful material!

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    1. Thank you! I'm just glad that the tablecloth had an appropriately hobbit-y pattern to it, which meant I didn't need to spend money on getting anything special.

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  3. I love it! You piece together your outfit patterns like I do. =) Those pattern seam-line sketches are so much more valuable than the cover art on pattern envelopes.

    You really should go into book diagram illustration - your sketches are so wonderful! I love looking at all the details you include in them.

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    1. I wouldn't have thought to use that Vogue pattern if it wasn't for another blogger posting about how she used it to sew a Downton Abbey-ish gown! But I guess when you think about it, all bodices boil down to a few basic types, so it's just creative hacking after you choose the right base.

      At one point I did want to be a medical illustrator, but that ended up not happening. I'm glad you find my sketches understandable!

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    2. Maybe you just tried the illustrator career in the wrong field. Your sketches are better than the ones in some of the costume & fashion books on my shelf! (I've always been annoyed by bad or ugly art in publication.)

      I originally wanted to be a Disney animator, but my lack of formal art training put me way too far behind by the time I started college. I know I wouldn't have felt as satisfied in an art career now though - I like to "build" physical things too much.

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  4. I love that you used what you have for your costume. You are going to look great tonight!

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    1. I figure Tolkien would be against using new fabric that's going to put more chemicals into the environment and pump more pollutants into the air, so recycled materials it is! :)

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  5. Wow! Great job! The costume is super cute! I've really enjoyed your birthday posts. Sounds like it was a wonderful time! The boxes and mural were my favorite decorations but it was all amazing.

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    1. Thanks for reading the overabundance of birthday posts! I was worried that it might be overkill, but then I figure no one's being forced into reading it!

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  6. great costume! never would have known it was made up of tablecloths and pillowcases. i also really love your sketches. sometimes they give a much clearer picture than words or regular pictures can.

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    1. I'm glad the costume's not obviously made of old household linens! And I love drawing sketches, partly because I agree that it's easier to see the details and lines than pictures might be able to show.

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  7. You are so cute in this. Don't you just love skirts with a bit of swish? Maybe I miss the 50's too much, but I love the feel of skirts. Here's hopeing for a wonderful time for you and all the other "geeks" in line. I will wait a few days, too ancient to wait in line anymore, but I do love Tolkien! Regena in TN.

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    1. Thanks Regena! Full, swishy skirts are indeed the best! It was indeed a wonderful line party, and the amount of material in the skirt actually helped a lot to keep me warm. Yay for other Tolkien fans!

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  8. This is absolutely rad! Well played, milady. I love how all the fabric and details came together so well. Now if you will excuse me I am off for elevenses...

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  9. Awww....don't you make the cutest hobbit! I love your outfit - it's so clever and beautifully put together.

    Enjoy the movie! And do a review - I want to hear your opinions on it! I've never done a midnight opening, and was too lazy to do the one here, so saw it at a very civilized 1 in the afternoon.

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    1. Heh, I want to see it again at a civilized time, as I was in a totally weird frame of mind (up very early that day to administer a final + too much coffee = hyper and sleepy at the same time). I would've loved to be at the NZ premiere, but alas...anyway, I wouldn't do a midnight showing for just any movie, as they are quite intense.

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  10. You have an AMAZING & MARVELOUS simply MAGICAL talent in making clothes! I'm wonderstruck!

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  11. Wonderful! You'd be right at home in the movie.

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  12. Walnut is ever so cute and your hobit maid costume looks lovely...couldn't spot the mistake at all! You are so talented with needle work! :)
    Also wanted to let you know that I am passing on the 'One Lovely Blog Award' to you, here's the post link if you want to take a peek:
    http://walkinginmay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/happy-blog-birthdayand-one-lovely-blog.html
    Have a fabulous weekend my lovely!
    May x
    walkinginmay.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. That is very kind of you! I will go check out your blog post!

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  13. Your outfit is fantastic! I love the bodice, and I hope you enjoy the film. :)

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    1. Thanks! I did enjoy it, although the fittedness of the bodice did make the experience ever so slightly less enjoyable :p

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  14. How cute! This really emphasizes your teeny-tiny waist! Great job, dood!

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    1. :DDD Well, the fullness/poofiness of the skirt does help with the waistal illusion too!

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