Excellent, Admirable Hobbits

My goodness, it’s been a busy month, and the next one doesn’t seem likely to let up! Between commissions, cons, interpreting gigs, family visits and wedding planning, I never seem to have a moment to sit down and write a post! BUT–today I am finally taking the time to write about the rest of my Hobbit costume, and to tell you a bit about the event I wore it to.

I talked about the skirt last month (how has it been a month?!) in this post. I added a peasant blouse, bodice, wig, foot wigs, and ears to the look before attending Saturday of ALEP 3.5 at the end of April.

The peasant blouse is very simple. It’s basically a over-sized shirt gathered at the neckline. They are often gathered with a drawstring, but I just gathered mine into a bias binding. I’m planning to use it as part of a Snow White cosplay from Once Upon a Time as well, and that is how hers appears to be contained. The fabric is white cotton lawn, which I dyed with tea to a cream color.

I did put drawstrings at the cuff, which lets me adjust the sleeve length from long to short by folding the sleeve up and tying the drawstring around my upper arm instead of my wrist.

The bodice is a bit more exciting. I made it by modifying and combining several views of McCall’s pattern 4107.

When I got the pieces all sorted out, I interfaced both the lining and the front fabric with canvas, since I wouldn’t be wearing stays, but still wanted it to be nice and stiff-looking. The lining is an adorable heart calico that my grandmother gave me out of her quilting stash at some point. I interfaced it by simply pinning down the canvas, trimming it away from the seam allowance, and zig-zagging it to the fabric in rows.

I catch stitched the interfacing to the fabric so that none of the stitching would show on the outside.

The next step was boning. I sewed commerical plastic boning directly to the lining by the fabric casings.

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I knew I didn’t want to bag line the bodice, so instead I used the lining method I learned at the Burnley & Trowbridge Pelisse Workshop. I started with the center front:

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First, I put the center front and center front linings with wrong sides together.
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Then I added a side front piece, right sides together with the center front fabric.
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Then a side-front lining, right sides together with the center front lining.

When they were all pinned together, I had something that looked like this:

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Once those pieces are sewn together, you simply fold the two outer pieces back out towards one another, and they line up as side front and side front lining. I left the seams open a bit at each end so that I can finish the edges later.

I sewed the rest of the bodice in the same way, sandwiching the each piece between the fabric and lining of the next piece until it was all put together.

Which is when I realized that I’d forgotten to put my planned ribbon decoration on the center front, and tore it all apart again to fix that.

Here it is all put together again:

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I finished the edges by turning them under and prick stitching around the perimeter. I may go back and bind them with ribbon or something instead, but I haven’t decided.

The bodice laces in the back with one of my favorite details: hand sewn eyelets!

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This project got incredibly rushed, all packed into the week before the event, but I managed to get some foot wigs made to go with it as well!

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I got ears from Aradani Costumes, and styled one of our wigs from stock at work to complete the outfit.

My boss Heather, my coworker Hannah and I all drove out the Shaker Village on the last day of April to spend an afternoon in the Shire. We led a workshop about how to fit a mock-up and get the most out of your commercial pattern, but mostly we wandered around the absolutely stunning site, chatted with lots of new friends, listened to music, and ate delicious food at the Dancing Pony Tavern. I’ve never had salsify before, but I’m definitely a fan now!

If you love Tolkein’s works, definitely try to make it to the next full-scale ALEP (A Long Expected Party) in September 2017. It’s a truly unique event, peopled with some very fun people in an gorgeous setting (just the drive from the freeway to Shaker Village was worth the trip!

Heather snapped a couple photos of the costume before we left (sadly, I couldn’t wear my foot wigs because it was raining):

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As far as the costume goes, I’m pretty happy. I was mocking up and making quickly, so there’s a few fit issues with the bodice that need to be addressed, but that’s for another day!

 

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