Closet Ideas for Quick Costumes
Up | Closet Ideas for Quick Costumes | Halloween LOTR Style | Quick Ears | Quick Hobbit Feet | Quick Legolas | Quick Elf Guys | Quick Galadriel | Quick Aragorn | Quick Boromir | Quick Wizards | Quick Nazgul | Quick Orcs | Quick Sauron | Quick Treebeard | Quick Fellowship Pins | Quick Jewlery | Quick Armor | Easy Sew Robe | Kids Costumes
Party FAQ | Party FAQ, TTT

The Hobbit
News 'n'  Exhibits
Quick Costumes
Making 'Em
Buy It
Search Us
Contact Us

v ----- Advertisement -----v

^ -----Advertisement ----- ^


Closet Quick Ideas

(TORN's "The One Party to Rule Them All" costume FAQ is here!)

Let's face it, parties happen.  What do you do when a costume party is declared and you have none or little time to make something for this event.

We'll point out things that you might have in your closet (OK very large closet) that you could use.  Also, we're going to list a few readily available patterns where you can get started on the costumes. 

Note: To simplify these costumes we are specifically making choices in this section.  These are just summaries, not exact but they're vaguely close and meant to help you prep in just a few evenings. 

Want exact? Go over to our Character section Characters.  Want  the pre-made licensed costume? Go to our Halloween section.

This is post TTT opening V3.0, January 2003.

Understand that we're going for wide approximations here - some 3 centuries wide but prowl around

  • The Quick section has all kinds of cheats to get a costume ready yesterday.

  • The Character section has pictures to get a better idea what the costumes should really look like.  Some have detailed descriptions and how-to-make them techniques.

  • Making 'em section has a lot of good general techniques for you to help you with your costume... everything from cheats on making armor, to leather etching, to fast fakes for Hobbit shoes.

  •  See the Research section for extra resources such as picture galleries and articles.

Quick and Dirty Fast Character Looks


Male Hobbit Costume Summary:

Basically, 18th century country gentlemen. So pull out our 18th century garb, though middle class outfits  could drop to 16th if no jacket is included.  Trousers are drop front, untapered leg, calf length.  Full sleeves with a two part cuff:  1" band buttons, then about 2 inches wide open.  Can be band collar or standard point. Shirt is colorful, except for fancy dress.  Suspenders required.  Working men wear a vest.  The shirt and suspender look is only just for relaxing in the afternoon.  Can also wear a jacket, often with a shawl or notched lapel.  Bilbo wears an ascot tie.  He and Frodo wear velvet and brocade.  Brass and bone button are big.  Capes are sometimes worn over jackets.

Pattern Suggestions, Men:

This is very preliminary... none of these are precisely right.  These were pulled together for a base reference for starter costume.

  • General:
    • Have curly hair?  Or a curly wig?
    • Remember hobbits don't wear shoes normally, but if they want to eat in a restaurant, they will need footwear.  Choose neutral sandals.
    • Hobbits do have various levels of status.  Consider what status you are... and choose fabric to go with that level.  No rags or holes, they dress neatly, regardless of their status.
    • Colors:  earthy and muted vs. bright:  reds, yellows, greens, browns, mustards, blues, off white to tea.  Checks and stripes OK.  Velvets to Corduroys to cotton.
  • Quick:
    • Consider:
      • Pants: ultra quick, hem up any non jeans pants to mid calf.
      • Pants correct: Tailor's Guide or Period Impressions Drop-Front Trousers.  Don't make the narrower breeches, just make short trousers.  Hem.
      • Need braces/suspenders - go more casual, no black
      • Shirt:17th or 18th century shirt (or Faire if you don't have the other).  Some ideas: Tailor's Guide Trade Shirt, Period Impressions Late 18th century work shirt, Folkwear's Cheesmaker's smock or Missouri Rive Boatman shirt. Add wider cuffs. 
      • Vest: Structure depends something on status.  Try Tailor's guide Men's Western Vest, Period Impressions Civilian Vest, Folkwear's Vintage Vests
      • Coat:  18th century any. Shawl collar better
    • Basics:
      • 17th or 18th century shirt, button front, wide cuff.  Only dress-up white, other wise many colors.
      • Pants: Should be dropped front, not tapered leg, ends mid calf, but in a pinch, skip the belt and hem them.
      • All hobbit men wear suspenders
      • At least add a vest, borrow a 17-18 century coat from your  wardrobe if possible, no tails.  Brass buttons, if you've have them.
      • Dress up, can wear an ascot tie.

Female Hobbits Costume Summary:

Basically 16th century renaissance faire look, upper lower class and lower middle class. Two skirts, straight gathered, faire blouse, apron, bodice (if possible)  and kerchief.

Pattern Suggestions, Women:

Approximate again.  These were pulled together for a base reference for starter costume.

  • General:
    • Have curly hair?  Or a curly wig?
    • Remember hobbits don't wear shoes normally, but if they want to eat in a restaurant, they will need footwear.  Choose neutral sandals.
    • Hobbits do have various levels of status.  Consider what status you are... and choose fabric to go with that level.
    • Colors:  earthy and muted vs. bright:  reds, yellows, greens, browns, mustards, blues, off white to tea.  Checks and stripes OK.  Contrasting and bold ribbon for trim. Velvets to Corduroys to tapestry  to cotton.
  • Quick:
    • Consider
      • Folkwear's Austrian Dirndl.  Make the higher necked one.  Bodices' fasten in front and the shapes not perfect, but you get a blouse and apron pattern.  The skirt is already the right length.
      • AlterYears' Irish dress and underskirt.  Maybe do the bodice out of an alternate fabric. Consider closing the front.  Shorten the sleeves.  The high neck gives it a 'hobbit' look. (Note: this pattern doesn't really match the movie, but it's easy and appear to be what the Tolkien folks adopted for hobbit women before the movie came out... so,  it qualifies.
      • A little closer, but multiple patterns... AlterYears Peasant Chemise and Back Close Bodice.  Straight gather a skirt.
      • Folkwear's Greek vest.  Make w/o tabs. 
    • Have a Renaissance Fair outfit?  Use the bodice and shorten an old skirt.  There are no sumptuary laws for hobbits.  The men use velvet, so no problem for the women doing the same.
  • Basics:
    • Skirt: Just gather a couple lengths of fabric into a waist band.  Do a deep hem (4"-5").  If you have time, make two.  Inside one can be longer, can have patterns.  (See our quick hobbit skirt pattern.)
    • Blouse: Any Faire blouse or anything 17 or 18th century.  Can be a mute color vs. white. Three quarter length sleeves are better, but not required.
    • Bodice:  See patterns above for an approximate.  However, you do not have to have a bodice if you're doing something quickly.  Bone the Bodices at lacing point, front, back, sides.
    • Apron:  Just gather a piece of fabric.  Add a tie. Hem shorter than the skirts.  If you don't have a time to do a bodice.  Add a bib top and wide straps down the back .. and make the ties bigger. 
    • Kerchief:  Fold a long rectangular piece of fabric, drape behind and tuck the corners into the blouse, bodice or apron front.


Check out the main character section for The Hobbits for pictures and a more detailed discussion of the costumes. 



Male Elves Costume Summary

There are two main styles of dress.   The ruling elves wear long robes, two layers, not exactly a Mandarin collar, but will work in a pinch.  Under robe is closed all the way up to neck. (Could use an invisible zipper or fine set of buttons for closures.) Outer robe is open. Both are long sleeved.  Under sleeves are quite narrow.  Both can be etched with fine swirls of lines.  Long wide fabric belts for the under-layer.  Think Turkish robes and long tunics.

The rest of the elves wear a lot of suede and stretch velvet.  They are very  unique wrapped outfits that will need a pattern made.  The under-layers can come out of the closet, close fitting pants, a bit softer fabric  than modern pants.  High boots  The under layer shirt is long sleeve and high necked, but not trimmed.  Certain calf length T-tunics and mundane knit tops might work in a pinch.  Vambraces, if you have them.

Fabrics are stretch velvet, brocade, silk, suede, moderate to heavy weight.

Colors: Rivendell uses autumn colors, with a few muted jewel tones tossed in.  Lothlorien uses whites and very muted pastels and neutrals.

Pattern Suggestion, Elves

Nothing perfect out there beyond bathrobe patterns.  Check your closet for a suede tunic if you're trying Legolas and the other hunters. 

Nobles, everything but the collars and parts of the sleeve are easy. Find robe patterns that are long sleeved and not fitted and make them up in rich fabric.  The full length tunics can include caftans.  Also look for a kimono pattern and make without the wide sleeves or find something for middle-eastern robes.  Pick patterns that have minimal shaping but match the collar.  From there you can just lengthen them.  Put a thick fabric belt with a long tail around the waist, or a bit higher.

Women Elves Costume Summary

Women wear long dresses, some with trains.  Sleeves are often 6 plus inches below the fingertips over very long wide half circles.    Tops of the sleeves are narrow.  They flare out starting above the elbow.  A suggestion for the sleeves, do not make them as non functional as most in the movie.  Make the flare short on the top so that your wrist can peak out and free your finger tips.  Only make the bottom half long. Other sleeves are just open from above the elbow.  They hang down and show a tight under-sleeve. 

Tops of dresses are form fitting with zippers down the back, skirts flare out.  Most collars are wide scoops, but some also fasten high up the neck like the men's.  Long wide belts are used sometimes.  (Think obi sashes but hanging down.)  Other belting appears to hang down to a point and tie in front with the ties hanging down.  Can use invisible zippers on the dresses, they are "period" for elves.

Fabrics are often sheer and beaded, though riding outfits use heaver fabrics.  Lots of  broomstick pleated fabric or pleated gauzes. On a budget, use curtain fabric.

If you have a fairy princess fantasy gown, would probably work.

Pattern Suggestion, Women

If you are shaped like an elf, can just shape on the sides w/ no darts, else look for your choice of princess seamed patterns with a scooped neck and preferably narrow sleeves.  There have been a lot of recent patterns issued that are in the style of the elves.  Check the bridal/prom sections.

Elf sleeve standard: top pattern piece is fitted.  This ends above the elbow.  Bottom is anything from a half circle to an oval. 

  • Pattern
    • There is a decently little princess lined Simplicity pattern going for the look of the Arwen.  There is a lot wrong and some right with the costume.  It will get you the look.


Check out the main character section for The Elves



Ah, tough so far since we're just seem warriors in their armor.  Quick guess, go for 5th to 9th century Western Europe.  They wear leggings, shorter T-tunics, broad boots.   Also, seems like a lot of shapes from a Klingon wardrobe would work -- the heavy belts, gauntlets, clunk shoes, much metal armor.

Fabrics, ah, much metal and leather.  Browns, brick red, deep earthy tones.

The women??? We don't know if we have seen any. <G>  Follow the men's section. Gimli himself says that the women look a lot like the men.  It's up to you whether you choose the "Klingon" option of skirts and even longer wilder hair or look just like the guys and add a beard.

Check out the main character section for The Dwarves



This is very preliminary... none of these are precisely right.  These were pulled together for a base reference for starter costume.

Human Men Costume Summary

Rivendell Council nobles are dressed richly in fur trimmed garments.  They wear leather and velvet.  Not doing a whole lot of speculating yet.  Guestimate 9-14th century - SCA  wear.  On the other hand, the mid-15th century look or Sir Thomas Moore would not be out of of place on nobles.

Rohan nobles, we have just the king since the rest are in armor.  Very Viking or Celtic.  Multiple layers of T-tunics would work.

 The lower classes: . Bree's tavern is low class medieval dirty - yes mud is a costume accessory!  Rohan looked mostly brown, though we've seen blues in the exhibits.

  • General
    • Everyone seems to wear dark colors.  Hair is long and straight or slightly wispy, unbound. Often dirty and stringy
    • Nobles: Wear long surcoat, often sleeveless or with open sleeves.  Fasten high up to the neck.  Lots of piping, edges of neck and front opening are trimmed with fancy trim 1/2 inch think w/ some metallic threads.
    • Middle and lower class: May wear a shorter sleeveless doublet.  Closures: ties or clasps.
    • Shirts: 16 century (ren faire), dark. 
    • Trousers:  Appear to be a bit blousy and tucked into boots.  Could use Folkwear's Sarouelles when they're not leather and close fitting.

Human Women Costume Summary

Have much less on human women..., We have Eowyn but by story line, is  a bit of a tom boy, so we don't know if she's representative of the rest of the women.

  • General
    • Women wear a full length gown, long sleeves. Often multiple layers.  The under layer tight fitting and the outer layer  Find a medieval t-tunic or houpelande  or  a more modern princess seamed gown with a flared skirt. You could also use a kirtle with a sideless surcoat  or cotehardie.  We see them all.
    • No trains seen (but haven't seen upper class).  Sleeves are tight, but normal length.  Rounded neck, but not as wide as the elves. Just standard one piece flairs.
    • Over the gown, open jumper with a scooped neck. Looks like it might be open on the side.  Also consider a open-sided narrow tabard with a scoop neck. 
    • Any Viking or Celtic dresses should work.  Just keep the colors muted.
    • Over the gown, some wear  shorter (knee length) long sleeved tunic or a corselet.
    • Tie belt over everything.
    • Upper arm sleeves are sometimes tied with cris-cross cord.  Sleeves do flair but not nearly like the elves.

Check out the main character section for The Humans



We just have 2 costumes to base our summary on.

  • General

    • Wizards wear long gowns with deep "V" necked yokes that  either laces of fastens up the front.  Sleeves quickly widen out reaching most of the way to the floor.  They have heavy cuffs turned up, but not evenly turned. (Turn is wider at the wrist.)  Robe hems are very deep and turned up to decorate.
      • If robe is split for riding, wear loose pants tucked in boots underneath.
    • Under robe is belted
    • There are narrow sleeves under the wide sleeves - variable for what's attached to what for the sleeves.  Sleeves are a bit longer than norm.
    • Wear an over robe that is basically a rectangle.   (An aba, ruana or the like.)
    • The robes look best with very long white hair, long beard and very large nose.
    • Staff is a required accessory, but pointy hat is option. 
  • Pattern
    • Haven't found a "V" yoked wizard pattern yet, but yoke could be skipped.  There are a number of long gown wizard patterns out there.  You also have the option of using a choir robe.
    • There is a Simplicity pattern going for the look of the Gandalf and his hat, but very marginally so.  Consider it ultra-beginner.

Check out the main character section for The Wizards.  As soon as we get a chance there will be some sketches and pics later as well as the regular links.



There really aren't any short cuts for costumes here.  You need to do research.

There is a Simplicity pattern going for the look of the Ring Wraiths, but very marginally so.  Consider it ultra-beginner.

Check out the main character section for The Nasties.  There is the beginnings of some discussion of the Ring Wraith's costumes there.


Apologies to Ngila Dickson for our Q&D generalizations of her wonderful creations, but we wanted to give folks some quick shortcuts.

Any special queries, contact us at  Also, if you want to help update this section... give us a yelp.

Join the discussion list :

v ----- Advertisement -----v

^ -----Advertisement ----- ^

Up | Closet Ideas for Quick Costumes | Halloween LOTR Style | Quick Ears | Quick Hobbit Feet | Quick Legolas | Quick Elf Guys | Quick Galadriel | Quick Aragorn | Quick Boromir | Quick Wizards | Quick Nazgul | Quick Orcs | Quick Sauron | Quick Treebeard | Quick Fellowship Pins | Quick Jewlery | Quick Armor | Easy Sew Robe | Kids Costumes
LOTR Home | The Hobbit | News 'n'  Exhibits | Characters | Quick Costumes | Making 'Em | Buy It | Resources | Community | Search Us | Contact Us

This page was last updated 04/22/08