Making the Jerkin
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Making the Legolas Jerkin

V1.1 May, 2004

Legola's costume was redone after shooting had begun.   There was a frantic 30 hour marathon session during which it was reworked.   We're interpreting this to mean, that they draped and fudged like crazy... and did not go to a flat pattern for the first  jerkin that Legolas wore.  However, we recognize that not everyone is happy with draping and that some would rather just modify a pattern, so we are going to present both version of the sleeves.  See yet another method in pattern modifications for a "half wrap" sleeve pattern.

Draping the sleeves

== Judy

I've *attempted* to draw the pattern shapes and how I curled it around the armhole. Please be kind, I have problems drawing stick figures. ;-)

Because I sewed it all together, I pinned the top leaf wrap in place and then pinned in the bottom/inner leaf wrap and sewed them both in one seam. And did a lot of fussing with them!

In the topleaf I started with a half-oval shape, and then tapered the ends a bit. The mid section is sorta straight and rounded. It's kinda like a not-quite half-circloid, Then I tried to draw how I wrapped it into the armhole.

Visualize, I started pinning it at the bottom under the arm, and worked around to over the top... and then instead of pinning it simply along the straight edge of the "leaf" at the top, I pulled the point through the seam, so that the seam (that dotted line going around) cut off about 5" of point - it helps shape the leaf and keep it from flapping as much. Does it make any sense?

In the bottom leaf, I did sorta the same thing. I used a much longer piece (the full 45" fabric width) to do the same basic half-circloid shape. Then I curled it so that the two points overlapped into a "tube" sleeve, creating a straight circular edge for the armhole. Well, of course this was much too floppy, so I did the same sort of thing I did with the topleaf: I pulled the points through! Yes, this changes the angle of the overlapped curve, but it worked ok. So when I stitched the two leafwraps into the armhole, it looks rightish from the outside, and on the inside, I have a lot of excess points (in quilting they call things like this "bunny ears") padding my shoulders. I'll trim it someday.

I'm not exactly sure what the final pattern piece shape is, when you start with the half-circloid and end up trimming 5" or so of point off at an angle - that's art and I can't even see it! I only know that I fussed it in the sewing.


Flat Pattern

== Naomi


The easiest way to make the leaf-wrap design sleeves on Legolas' jerkin is to begin with the sleeve pattern that comes with the base pattern from which you are making the jerkin body. You need a set in shirt sleeve pattern.

  1. Take the sleeve piece and lay it out on your muslin/calico fabric, with the grain of the fabric aligned with one side of the piece, along the underarm seam! This is important!!!! Now trace the sleeve head onto the fabric, flip the sleeve pattern over along the grain line, and trace the sleeve head again, just as in the diagram. This broadens the sleeve head in relation to the actual sleeve itself, and avoids any gaping in the finished sleeve. You now have a double width sleeve piece. Cut along the sleevehead line only, leaving excess fabric on all other sides.
  2. If you want to, you can then pin the sleeve to the body, (or just to the dummy,) as though you were attaching a normal sleeve, matching point A to underarm seam and points C to shoulder seam. Or just freehand a rough on the fabric, following the drawing. Measure the desired underarm to elbow length of your sleeve along the grainline, this is Line A-B. Draw in the curve as per diagram, bearing in mind that the sleeve actually is slightly longer at the front of the inner arm than at the back. Cut out with generous seam allowances, pin in place and trim to size to suit your fabric (leather needs no seam allowance, obviously, merely fine-tuning). Finish edges where required by narrow hemming.


  1. The main difference with the oversleeve is that the grainline is placed along the centre of the pattern, just as for a normal shirtsleeve. You will need one side of your muslin cut slightly to one side of your sleeve pattern at the back, where it wraps under the arm, and another that terminates about where the sleeve would normally wrap under the front of the arm towards the underarm.
  2. Measure the distance between shoulder seam and desired length of oversleeve towards elbow, Line C-D. Mark that point along grain and then draw in the curve as per diagram, again, bearing in mind that the sleeve curves away and is longer towards the back of the arm on the oversleeve. Trim as for undersleeve, to suit fabric.
  3. Any decoration should be applied now!
  4. Cut a matching piece of lining fabric for your oversleeve, join along hemmed edge, R.S. tog., turn rightway out.


Complete the body of the jerkin first, including side seams. Pin the outer sleeve in place, matching point C to shoulder seam and point A to side seam of jerkin. I recommend you baste it or machine stitch it near the seam allowance, to hold it in place. Then position the inner sleeve, beginning with the front of the sleeve, match point C to shoulder seam, point A to underarm, and then fold the back around and up, matching point C to shoulder seam, so it lies innermost. Pin, then machine stitch all layers together.


  1. Take your basic shirtsleeve and cut another pattern piece in paper. Measure the desired starting point of the flare from below the elbow, and draw a line at right angles to the centreline. Slash the pattern into even divisions and flare the pieces out until you have the desired width at the wrist end of the bell.
  2. Position your sleeve pattern on the bias. This is important to get the proper drape from your belled cuff. Cut your sleeve out with a good seam allowance, assemble and attach to shirt as normal.

NOTE: When Legolas wears his jerkin and vambraces, the bell is folded towards the inner arm and held in place by the vambraces.


Collar diagram follows basic principle of all continuous roll collars. (See directions in Collars section). Facing should be cut to continue to waist line of shirt, or even down to hem if you are making it with continuous panels and no waist seam.

Basic sleeve Splitting the sleeve
  Neck facing

Find out how to estimate how many hides you need to make the jerkin.


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This page was last updated 04/22/08