Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Hobbit Bodice, Pt. 1

I really think that I am very bad at scheduling, organizing and carrying through with my sewing projects. Lately it seems nothing gets done unless I have a deadline. Deadlines always motivate me. There is some sort of adrenaline-pumping pleasure I get out of beating a deadline. But when there is no deadline, unless I am really, really, really in love with a project, it usually lingers on my sewing table for a long, long time. I'm especially bad about finishing details. Like sewing on hook and eyes. Or doing a hem. It's like I get almost done with something and then my steam runs out. And besides, I have a very cute distraction from the sewing room. Sometimes it's a lot more fun to sit and cuddle a baby, trying to coax out a smile, than it is to work on stitchery.
7 weeks old!

So that is why the hobbit bodice still isn't done. Last week I half heartedly cut out two woolen 14th century style cotes for the older boys. I pulled out David's 1840's fall front trousers (which should have been finished before Christmas last year and lack only a waistband and hem and buttons to be complete) and I spent a day or two going through my stash, organizing things and trying to get inspired. Then I found out about the soon-upcoming Second Breakfast day and I got inspired. Not to finish the cotes or the 1840's trousers, but to make the hobbit bodice!

So far all I have been able to do is to make a mock up and refine it and make a second mock up. The second mock up works pretty well but I need to add a little bit of length around the sides and back, I think. Just an inch or inch and a half.

I started with my 1780's bodice pattern and cut the point off the front. It fit okay, but since I am not wearing stays with the bodice I had to take in the front under the bustline. This actually improved the look a lot and made the bodice look more like the ones in the movies since it created some princess seam shaping. Then I had to take in the waist a bit (since my stays actually make my waist bigger when I wear them!) and take out some extra flappy material at the front armscye. The cut of the neckline is a lot lower than the bodices in the movie but this is for nursing purposes. I can do my usual "lift, flop, feed" method with a lower neckline and that is a lot easier than having to make a tight fitting, front-opening garment.

I added a side seam and eliminated the curved side back seam. The fit is tight. It is a "negative ease" garment, because I want this to be a supportive garment. I don't want to have to wear modern undergarments underneath it since I don't think hobbits had bras. ;) The cut of the bodice and the fabric will shape my body and the boning will support the fabric so it won't buckle (the wrinkles you see here are, I think, mostly stress lines, not a result of fitting problems). I will lightly bone the bodice at each seam and then at the center back to support the lacing.

The back looks pretty messy here. Mainly because I automatically cut the bodice to have a few inches of gap in the back because of the lacing. (corseting habit). Then I realized that the bodice ought to lace shut in the back, so I sewed on an extra strip of cloth to close the gap. I left the bodice unsewn for a few inches at the back waist so I could wiggle into it to check the fit, thus the messy look. . .I know that when the bodice is finished and laced properly there will be no gap.

My plan is to create a stiffened interlining using quilted fabric that is boned at the seams. I will probably quilt the interlining with cotton flannel and cotton twill. Then the outer layer will be mounted on top and then the lining stitched to the inside before the top and bottom is bound off and finished. That at least is the plan at the moment. It may change as I make progress. We'll see! It must be finished before Second Breakfast day so I hope to make good progress on it this week.



  1. That mock-up looks really promising! Good luck on your progress! And thanks for posting that 2nd Breakfast link! I had no idea about it, but now I am very excited and have something fun to look forward to. Yay!

  2. I think that you're doing a fantastic job with all the projects you have, considering you have a wee one and three older boys besides. I believe the end result will be really great. I'm not sewing any hobbit type projects, but my older children have a great interest in Tolkien and I am familiar with some of the techniques you're using, so it is fun for me to follow your posts on it.

    Children grow up so fast. Two of mine have graduated from high school already, and I have one younger one left. Take all the time you want to with your children:).

  3. Very cute! And I love your new kittens :D

  4. That little hobbit sure is the prettiest little hobbit I've ever seen! With 3 brother hobbits I wonder if she's going to be more of a sugar and spice, everything nice hobbit or a little more snakes and snails and puppy dog tail kind of hobbit!

    I'm guessing she's gonna be sugar and spice, with a little cayenne thrown in to keep up with her brothers. Methinks you shall have a dainty yet feisty hobbit.

  5. Mrs SM, thank you for your encouraging words. When all is said and done, at the end of the day it doesn't matter how much stuff I'm able to get done, but I definitely would miss cuddling my little ones if I hadn't done it. Everyone tells me this time of life goes by so fast. Thanks for reminding me it's okay to not be as "productive"; after all, I've got Little People in the making and they are the most amazing things to work on. :)

    Robin's Egg Bleu - I think you are right!

  6. The mock up looks great, looking forward to the actual bodice.

    I think the second breakfast thing sounds awesome, but if I do it, it'll be at some other time (like when the movie is opening), when I can invite friends over. If I did it now it'd just be me and little B, as Tobias is in school at that time (and I'd likie a hobbit outfit, and don't have time to make one right now)....

  7. Sarah, I too am going to be doing it on a different day, (planning on the 22nd of this month, but another one when the movie opens sounds great!!) since David will be home on the 22nd and not on the 21st. I hope I can find some friends who want to come over to share in it. This may just have to become a yearly tradition!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!