Monday, August 13, 2012

Hobbit Shift

"Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to it, difficult to daunt or to kill; and they were, perhaps, so unwearingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them, and could survive rough handling by grief, foe or weather in a way that astonished those who did not know them well. . ." 
~ Fellowship of The Ring

Besides several wrap style diaper covers this is my first real sewing project to finish since the baby arrived. Life is getting back to normal. We are getting into a routine. Yay! It is definitely possible to eke out an hour of sewing time in the afternoon or evening while the babe naps and the older children are occupied with other things. It is nice to have that "me time". It keeps me happy and creative and sane. Everyone benefits by it.

So, we have the hobbit shift done. I wasn't sure whether to call it a smock or a shift or a chemise but I thought that shift might be most appropriate since the hobbit costumes in LOtR are influenced by 18th century fashion.

It was incredibly weird working on something that is not really historical. Usually, with all my non-modern sewing projects, I have a visual example of a real original to look at and use as my guideline for cut, construction, appropriate fabric, fit, etc. With a movie costume like this all I have are a very few blurry screencaps and what details I can catch on t.v. as the scenes flash by. It's hard. It's depressing to have so little to go on.

So I decided to just go with 18th century style cut as much as possible, deviating from history where necessary to create a "hobbit look". To that end, I decided to not use a raglan sleeve cut for the shift but to use the more period appropriate square cut style with underarm gussets instead. The fabric is the lightweight gauzy cotton seen in my last post which is intended to look more rustic and hobbity. The period choice would have been a lightweight linen. The neckline of my shift is fuller than period shifts but this is to create the look seen in the movie. The sleeves are not terribly full and could potentially pass as 18th century but I used elastic in the cuffs instead of a drawstring so that they would stay up on my arm better.

The main seams are sewn on the machine with cotton thread but all stitching that can be seen from the outside was done by hand. I wish now I had cut the shift to be a bit longer, to hit below the knee instead of above it, but all in all I am happy with how this came out and no one will be able to tell how long or short the shift is once the entire outfit is finished and on the body.

This week I hope to get the petticoats done. Possibly the apron as well but I'm not going to plan too much or I will be disappointed if I don't get everything accomplished. The day promises to be cool and rainy - a perfect day for brewing hot tea and sitting down to sew!



  1. This looks lovely and you are going to make a perfect hobbit! You look so incredibly young in that last photo... I'm sure part of it is the camera angle, making you look short, but I can't get over it ;-)

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  3. Sarah! This is perfect! I am loving the ginghamylishiousness of your new shift- and the colours are positively scrumptious! Now I have to make one :)

  4. Gillian, ha, thanks. ;) Since I am now in the latter part of my 20's I am appreciative of anything that makes me appear younger. ;)

    Hopefully the feet will look better in the final product. I just glued hair to my feet for this pic, with hair I pulled out of my brush. I can't really find any fake feet that look that great so I think I'll just go with my own feet and try to make them look hairy and somewhat dirty.

  5. The dress (and feet!) look great! What a fun thing to prepare for!

    I was wondering... do you know of any resources for learning how to make period bonnets or even where to find the bonnet making material? I'm going to be making a Regency-era dress and want a bonnet to go with it.

  6. Very Hobbit-esque! Well done!

  7. It looks lovely! And very Hobbit appropriate! I think this is such a fun idea, I feel inspired to make myslef a LOTR outfit now too, in time for the premiere of the movie!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!