Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Concerning Hobbits:

*EDIT 8-16-12* I just came across this site, Costuming Lavenda, which has an incredible breakdown of Hobbit dress styles from both the LOtR hobbits and the new Hobbit movie hobbits. Awesome illustrated examples with "documentation" from the movies!!! How cool is that?! Check it out!

Okay, so is anyone else totally geeked out excited about the new Hobbit movie coming out later this year? David and I have been eagerly awaiting it ever since we heard it was in production. For a long time we have planned David's 28th birthday party around the debut of the movie and for a long time I have planned to make Hobbit costumes we can wear to the theater when it comes out. For obvious reasons I've had to put the construction of my own costume on hold but now that my figure is (somewhat) normal once more it is time to get serious about this.
Layers of Skirts - cotton underskirt, wool overskirt and "mystery fabric" apron -

Plus, watching LOtR over and over to catch what details can be caught of hobbit costumes (and hearing the wails of small boys who erupt into passionate anger when the pause button is hit yet another time so you can look more closely at relevant scenes with pretty costumes) is an activity very convenient to a new mother, who is supposed to spend the majority of her time taking it easy and nursing a frequently hungry baby.
Lightweight gauzy cotton for shift

Over the weekend I went to the thrift store and found some deals. With stuff from the stash to round things out I think I have what I need to start working on my hobbit frock.
Wool and cotton for bodice, possible trim? Other laces may be used instead.

I have no idea how long it will take me to get this done. Hopefully not too long. The only part that should hold any sort of difficulty is the fitted bodice and I think I have the construction of that all mentally sorted out. So we'll see what the children allow me to get done over the next week or so.
Basic Hobbit Frock with double skirts, apron, and elbow length shift. 

Below are the notes I jotted while watching the first part of Fellowship of the Ring. They mostly pertain to the daily life scenes, not the party scene. And the list is by no means exhaustive but its a starting point.

Elements of Female Hobbit Outfit:


  • Style - Full bodice with gathers (drawstring?) at neckline. Line of gathers/drawstring appears to be most often set an inch or so below the edge of the neckline so as to form a small ruffle at the edge of the neckline. Neckline appears to be squared in visual examples. Sleeves appear to be raglan style but may be set in style. Sleeves appear to be either short sleeves gathered to fit (drawstring?) at the hem, with or without a substantial flounce below the hem or elbow length sleeves, with or without a substantial flounce below the hem. 
  • Fabrics - observed visual examples appeared to include solid colored fabrics, small prints, small checks/plaid and woven designs (tone on tone). 
  • Colors - observed colors included medium brown, white, light tan, light yellow, light gray, light blue, cream.


  • Style - Plain rectangular construction skirt. Skirts most often appear to be quite plain. Two skirts may be worn. Observed examples of double skirts appeared to have the lower skirt worn just above the ankle and the upper skirt worn just below the knee. Some skirts appeared to be shorter, perhaps mid-calf length to just below knee length. Skirt appear to be pleated wtih very small pleats or cartridge gathered to a pain rectangular waistband. Skirts appear to fasten at center back. 
  • Fabrics - fabrics appeared to be fairly substantial. Possible fabrics for a similar visual effect may include wool, linen or heavier cottons (quilting weight or heavier). Skirts appeared to be solid colored, plaid, striped or printed. 
  • Colors - Apparent colors included light tan, dark brown, a print appearing to be brown and cream, moss green, teal, dark orange/peach, mustard  yellow, medium brown, blue, rust red. 


  • Style - Fitted sleeveless bodice, fitting quite snug to the figure. Back lacing closure. Cut without darts. Shaped pieces, including center front panel, side front, and back pieces. Shoulder straps may or may not be cut seperately from bodice and later sewn on. Some shoulder straps appear to be cut wide at the shoulder to form a type of "cap" at the shoulder. Necklines on bodice cut to be lower than the neckline of shift/chemise. Neckline shapes include squared, scooped, sweetheart and arched (the arch swooping upwards towards the throat). Often the center front panel is of a contrasting fabric than the rest of the bodice. Wide array of possibilities for trimmings, including embroidery, false lacing at front panel (one example had what apepared to be a lattice effect with strips of ribbon crisscrossing the center front panel), applique, bands of trim at top of panel, etc. 
  • Fabrics - Fabrics appear to be fairly substantial, to support the figure. Wool, linen and heavier cottons would all work well to give a similar visual effect. Fabrics appear to be solid, striped or check/plaid, with the stripes and checks sometimes being cut on the bias for an interesting visual effect. Sometimes various fabrics are used in one single bodice for a very colorful and whimsical appearance. 
  • Colors - Green, dark red, dark brown, red-brown, dark teal, mustard yellow, blue


  • Style - Simple waist apron with back tie fastening. Aprons appear to be gathered to waistband. Examples appear to go from back hip, across front, to back hip. Hem length is shorter than skirts.
  • Fabrics - Fabrics appear to be similar to skirt fabrics, perhaps a bit lighter in weight. A medium to lightweight cotton or linen would work well, as would a lightweight wool. Aprons appear to be solid colored although at least one example appeared to be checked and another striped. 
  • Colors - white, cream, red/white check, light green, light blue, gray


  • Style - triangular garment worn tucked in at the bodice neckline. The garment falls over the shoulders and the point lies over the bodice in the back. The length of the point appears to be varied, some reaching the waist and others reaching "bra band length". 
  • Fabrics - Lighter to medium weight fabrics. Similar to apron fabrics. Appear to be solid colored or textured/woven patterned fabrics. 
  • Colors - blue-green, light brown, light blue


  • Straw hat - in at least two scenes a straw hat on a female hobbit was obserbable. In one scene, the hat is seen from the back, appearing to be a medium sized straw hat with a brim large enough for shading the neck and face but not overly large. A dark colored band was around the crown of the hat for decoration. In another scene, a closer view of a straw hat shows a medium sized hat with a rather open weave, lacey looking brim. Hats appear to be quite "rustic" in appearance. 
  • Mob Cap - in one scene a light colored (light blue?) mob cap was observable. It appeared to be worn by an older female hobbit. The crown fit the head rather snugly (the top was not "poufy") and the flounce draped down around the ears. 


  • Hair arranged 'up' - Curly hair (all hobbits) arranged in a high bun towards the top of the head, low pigtails, hair arranged low (perhaps braided?) and then flipped up onto the head and pinned into place. 
  • Hair arranged 'down' - hair loose and flowing in the back but the front sides pulled up and tied wtih a ribbon.



  1. I too am geeked out about the new Hobbit movie! I doubt I'll make a costume to wear to the premier but the hubby and I will probably go see it opening night! Can't wait to see your Hobbit costume!

  2. How fun! Oh, how I wish I could touch those lovely fabrics you've collected. I love a good texture for a costume that's so rustic. I can't wait to see the results!

  3. I was happy when you said you were making hobbit costumes. I will await the conclusion with much sitting on end of chair.

    My family is hyped up, but only I and my sister are interested in costumes (my three brothers see it as, 'if you make something I will wear, I'll wear it, but I don't really care').

    Hope all goes well and is greatly satisfactory!

  4. Love the fabrics, not too crazy about that particular lace - it looks a bit too synthetic and stark white to me. Yay for hobbit costumes!!!

  5. I too will make a Hobbit costume for the premier!
    I'm already curious about your costume!

  6. Oh geez, I'm super excited about The Hobbit movie! I just thought I'd share, there's a WONDERFUL costuming website found at where they have an amazing Lord of the Rings page with all manner of set photos and more information on the characteristics and construction of costumes than you could ever want.

    Also, do you have any ideas at all what that "mystery fabric" in the first photo might be? I have almost the EXACT same stuff in my stash that I got from a discount fabric warehouse and I haven't the slightest idea what it is!

  7. Do you have the extended edition DVDs with all the wonderful behind the scenes goodies on costume design??? I love the parts where they were going over several of Arwen's gowns and describing the exact fabric type used and the hand work that was put into making it "flow". I can't remember now if they had sections on the hobbit gear, but I'm sure they do! I should steal, err... borrow those DVDs from my mom again to see :)

    Can't wait to see what you come up with!!! I love LOTR and I am really hoping I can drag dear hubby to see it...

  8. That sounds great! I'm excited too, but I wonder how kid-friendly it'll be. :) Will you be posting about the boys' costumes? My 9 yo brother LOVES The Hobbit and I'm hoping to make him a hobbit or dwarf costume! I'd love to have some inspiration!!!
    Pax Christi,


  9. Another geek here! Excited about the movie, and your costume. When the first LoTR movie came out back in 2001(was it?), me and a handful of friends dressed as characters and went to see it opening night. One of the funnest nights of my life.

  10. Sarah W - that is what I am thinking too. I have a ton of antique cotton eyelet tape that would look really cool, and at the thrift store found a smaller amount of antique cotton knitted lace, which has a very olde-timey feel to it. This one photographed shinier than it really is. The only thing that is making me consider it is the color of the ribbon behind the lace, it helps add to the whimsey. (that is also why I'm going with green for parts of it instead of the cream I originally was going to do. The colors were just too. . .serious. . .together.)

  11. Hazard, I LOVE that site!! I came across it a while ago and have been poring over it ever since. I really like some of their feet ideas and the scrapbook page is just totally inspirational!! I just wish there were more photos of female hobbits from the movie, as most of their links to pictures were dead. *sadness*

  12. Sounds like you will have fun with this, it is an interesting creative project, I will enjoy hearing and seeing the photos. Will you do a Hobbit family photo? Hope so!

  13. A hobbit family photo would be super fun! My current plans are costumes for me and the baby and hubby (he will likely just wear his regency clothes and his black frock coat though) and a gown and cap for the baby. The boys have been asking me for "Frodo clothes" though so I may make them some quick little short trousers and shirts and suspenders. They were hobbits last year for Halloween but they want to be hobbits again this year. So, that would be excuse enough to make them outfits too.

  14. *although it is quite possible David will end up going as Beorn, since he bears more physical resemblance to him than he does to a hobbit - David is 6' 5"! :D

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  16. Wow, this breakdown has really inspired me! Some friends of mine and I have been considering doing something like this, and your breakdown is making it look very doable.

    How did you get the hair on your feet to work?

  17. The hair on my feet is just my own hair. :P I save the "brushings" from my hair brush (the matt of hair that builds up in the brush over time) to make hair ratts for Victorian era hairstyles. So I just used some of that hair and teased it out to make a fluffy hair cloud. I used syrup to make it stick to the top of my feet per suggestion on the Scrapbook page on the Alleycatscratch website (which worked great!) For the real thing I will try to make more uniform hair matts instead of just glopping them on real quick.

    Oh and Hazard, I am not sure what the mystery fabric is but my guess it is definitely some sort of cotton blend. I used it to make a baby sling for my baby and it acts a lot like cotton does. Not sure what else is in it?


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!