Notes from the Indiana Exhibit
== December / January 2006
The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy – The Exhibition
Postings are in reverse order, so the later information trumps the
earlier info. These have not been edited, nor are they all the notes,
just the ones that I could cut and paste in quickly. -Cat-
We got some absolutely yummy answers of questions from Mary Jane
from the Indy exhibit. These will get incorporated into web pages,
but in a tad... Cat's extra
comments in ( )
- Trousers: they're a dark brown to rusty black fabric, very tightly
- Trouser fabrics: texture is actually similar to waleless
corduroy. It's not a velvet or a velveteen. It's all the way up.
(IE, Leggy has sets of hero trousers and working ones - BtS shots do
show him with diff fabric legging and stench body)
- Trouser front closure: it's a zipper! There's a waistband &
- Tunic Design: The design is done in silver ink, but it's slightly
indented. I see no sign at all of burning anywhere. Possibly they
scribed it with a metal point? Not T-shirt paint. (*** Note, done
right with a hot point, the leather will not look burned, just
indented in the suede.)
- The blanket stitching on the front of the jerkin... where exactly
does it end? It stops at the end of the darker V of leather applied
jerkin. The point is hidden by his belt in front. (**** BTW, the
web page with the blanket stitch pages and detail got lost -cat hangs
head- anyone have them or save them off... need to rewrite that page)
- Back jerkin design: The back is decorated only on the shoulders,
and it's asymmetrical. There are silver tendrils on the back of the
proper right shoulder, and similar tendrils though with more
branches and more elaborate on the back of the proper left. The
tendrils are similar to those on the shoulders and front in style.
On the right, there are 3 upward-curling split branches and 2
downward curls; on the left, there are interlacing scrolls.
- Back jerkin slit/seam: It's slit up 11", and the edges are glued
back. The seam continues up the center back
- Trousers: The broadfall front is functional. They're covered with
the same velvet as the trousers.
- Robe pleats at waist: There are no sewn pleats at the waist; it's
gathered just with the belt. (***Ah, another movie magic bit... the
version touring is not stabilize... so you've got two options when
- Robe Yoke: the fabric is pleated and the seam stabilized/decorated
with a line of blanket stitching. Underneath, the seam is covered
with a strip of the robe fabric sewn flat over the raw seam.
- Cloak: (***Lots of new here, going to nee a drawing and a lot of
watching of the DVD to get it right) the cape was much more complex
than I thought! In back, the hood is sewn to the cape with a deep
curved seam that dips across the shoulders. Below that seam,
there's a deep curved moon-shaped piece that is inset flat. There
are tight gathers of the cloak fabric to either side right behind
the shoulder points, then the 6 gores of fabric creating the cloak
are sewn to this inset piece. I think it's to keep Gandalf from
having a round-looking back from all that fabric.
- the robe is a heavily distressed loosely handwoven cotton
- the cape is handwoven-texture silk, and a more plum color than the
road-dust-gray of the robe.
- Culottes: (**** Yes, we have a preoccupation with the guy's
trousers... but that's because they're underlayers, park you dirty
minds. ) The top of the culottes has a waistband with a big button
on each side for suspenders!
- - There is a 3" deep forward-facing pleat on each side. They look
me like a similar cut to the Japanese culottes worn with a man's
- - The fabric is an embossed metallic print. In other words, the
slightly raised. It was once gold 5-petalled flowers on curling
stems with some stylized leaves (2 different designs), scattered
over the surface in widely-spaced sprigs. The fabric has been so
distressed that the gold is oxidized to murky black.
- - The edges of the culottes have a printed trim about 1" wide;
part of the fabric and the culottes were cut to keep it at the
- - The hem is just turned up.
- There are no trousers with his outfit There's an underrobe, the
overrobe, and the ivory brocaded outer robe. (*** Freeze framing
the wizard fight we do see that he does wear think
tights/leggings... but they're nothing beyond tights then)
- The only real armor on this figure is what you saw; spiked
overlapping plates at the neck and forming the gloves and feet, with
solid greaves. The plates on all 3 are thin sharp metal, flexible
because of the overlapping plates but not across the plate. The
greaves are, I think, metal but I'll ask. The rest of the figure is
constructed for travel and the chest shape is formed of heavy metal
mesh! NOT original to the movie.
- Layers: It's a rat's nest! The inventory shows 4 layers only.
Arwen's Requiem gown
- The undergown has set in sleeves. Underarm seam but top of sleeve
attached directly to trim.
- Undergown: it's silk satin in a darker dusty lavender color
- Undergown is shorter than the over gown and slit in the back
center seam up to the rear. Seams are in the same places.
- Confirmation of no darts in the outer gown, can't see the under
gown, but assumed to be the same.
- The overdress hangs from the trim's lower edge. The trim isn't
applied to the velvet. (So folks, that means more like her green
- Lower sleeve fabric: non-stretch. it's a silver-on-white floral
- Lower sleeve pattern shape: (**listen up, way diff... we need a
drawing of this. Anyone? **) The basic fabric piece is a bit over
a 4' square. Of that, cut a shape like a gingko leaf with a
narrow "stem" for the arm in the center of the top edge and a curve
cut out on either side of it, ending at a point at the two upper
corners of the fabric. Then just cut a curve from these points to
the lower center edge. The sleeve is 48" long at the back and 22-
24" (depending on how it's held) at the only seam, which is at the
top of the arm. This seam is CURVED, following the line of the
curve cut as above.
- Sleeve seam description? The fabric is stabilized with a line
of machine stitches at each edge, then the seam is a running
stitch. The wrist opening is a hand-rolled finish seam.
- Underdress facing??? (**** Here's a new one ****) YES
- Underdress trim: It's trim sewn down, not beaded on dress.
- IS there any sign of power net attachments to these gowns to help
shape inside??? None that I could see, but I'll ask. (This goes
back to the conflicts between Liv saying she just wears her tennies
under her gowns and the strap of power net, or something, we see on
the first glamour shot of the req dress.)
Nazgul notes from Mary Jane:
Here's what I can determine about the Nazgul:
As I said before, it's a rat's nest. The exhibit inventory lists these
- Black hooded outer cloak
- Black midrobe with large square sleeve
- Black underrobe with large sleeve and collar
- 2-piece wrap skirt
- metal gloves
- metal greaves & boots
- Materials listed are leather, silk, linen, steel, and urethane. (They
are not listed next to garment pieces)
The cloak's hood extends down in points to the knees on each side of the
"face". The fabric is bunched together at the nape of the neck to form the
hood instead of being sewn like Gandalf's. It's tightly gathered across the
shoulders and the seam is covered underneath with a 2" wide strip of the
same fabric. There's a short, very raggedy cape attached to the cloak and
extending from 1-2', edged in applied trim like Schiffli embroidery on
gauze. The front edges of the long cloak are similarly trimmed; of course
the bottom is entirely ragged. Now it gets weird. The right arm has an
additional hanging strip under the arm and two over the arm. The arm itself
goes through rents in a square hanging kimono sleeve. The sleeve is edged in
applied lace and seems lined (unless this is the underrobe, but the fabric
is much thinner), but the lining is shredded. As far as I can tell, the left
side doesn't have that sleeve or hanging strips! At least, if it does, the
figure doesn't have its arm through it. The underrobe has an attached
stand-up collar rounded on the throat edges and bordered with braid trim.
The armor is overlapping spiked metal plates visible at the neck & on the
hands & feet. I think the greaves are metal. I did not identify the skirt as
separate from the other pieces, but if it's made like some of the "skirts"
on the men-at-arms, it's two large rectangles of fabric attached to a
waistband and wrapped to cover basically the outsides of the legs.
My recollection from when I was able to see the sleeve flap is that the
embroidery is different than the cloak embroidery; I recall large scrolls
but I didn't get a sketch before they covered it with the cloak.
Janice's notes from the sleep in
First, Sarah, Mel, Damien and I went round and had some discussions
during the first sleepin and here are our thoughts (Gang, correct me
if I err on anything):
Galadriel – the dress may possibly be lined, if so the lining is
fastened on the bodice and is loose at the hem.
Saruman, Nazghul mandarin collar – Sarah pointed out that these
collars are constructed in one piece with the body of the costume,
not as a separate strip attached to the neckhole.
Aragorn – we think the trousers are leather. We also saw that the
duster is faded to the extent that the hem of it is a lighter shade
than the shoulders when we were looking at the paint chips.
Requiem dress – we noticed that the upper sleeves of the underdress
are a slightly different color than the bodice.
Legolas – we agreed that the shirt is silver dupioni silk. We also
agreed that the decoration on the jacket and boots is embossed and
painted not embroidered.
Boromir – we saw the light blue shirt sleeves under the tunic as
mentioned on ACS.
My observations on my last day:
Galadriel – the five pointed "leaves" on her belt are outlined in
clear bugle beads. The filling is then done with white sequins and
white bugle beads. Between the "leaves" are small flowers which
are sewn with five gold seed beads each. If there is a lining on
the dress, it is definitely loose at the hem – I was able to see the
separate folds of it behind the sheer overdress layer, could also be
Arwen requiem dress – I thought the overdress was more purple in
color than appears from pics. The underdress is a purple color;
the bodice is a bluer purple than the upper sleeves. I was able
to spot a bit of the underdress hem among the hem folds of the
overdress. The underdress looks almost as long as the overdress.
It was the same color as the bodice. I believe that it is satin
from the bit I could see.
Saruman: the front of the belt is decorated with two gray scrolly
appliqués. The body of the belt is made of a silver brocade
backed with the same material as the overrobe. This may be possibly
be the same brocade as the trim on the overrobe, perhaps reversed,
but it seemed to have much more silver than the trim. The very
front of the belt is made of the same material as the overrobe and
the sennits of the macramé belt are sewn on it in a decorative
design. The overrobe is lined with a white fabric, I thought
cotton, and this lining is loose at the hem.
Gandalf – the buckle of the sword belt and the metal tip of the
sword belt are decorated in designs similar to those painted on the
sword belt. The strap of the satchel appears to be made of strips
of the same fabric as the robe braided together. I believe I have
worked out the embroidery on the sleeves and hem – it is what my
Reader's Digest Guide calls Holbein stitch with strays. I will
post a pic as soon as I can, now that I have a digital camera.
Nazghul – unfortunately someone pulled the cloak farther over the
front of the figure so it was harder to see the front, but I can
say, that first there is a sort of armor collar around the neck that
is the same pattern as the armor on the hands. Over this there is
a tunic with a mandarin collar with silver braided trim. The
tunic is a lighter color than the rest of the costume, and it is
tied off center with laces in a V shape. Over this is a surcoat
with a very deep V to the waist. I did notice a sort of
sleeve "flap" earlier (before the cloak was moved) with embroidery,
and after some looking at pics on ACS, and doing some research, I
believe this may be something similar to a 17th century musketeer
tabard which has open sides and open undersleeve seams, but this is
Someone had asked about the sequins on the requiem dress - they are
silver but of the iridescent kind that creates a rainbow effect when
light is shone on them.
Also took a bit closer look at the Orc armor - interestingly, one of
the Orc warriors is wearing a "recycled" Gondorian breastplate, which
was distressed to look beat-up and old.
Aragorn ranger – on right back of the tunic, there is what looks
like a patch sewed on along the hem. The top of the patch is
shaped like a series of crescents and is sewed on with gray thread.
It goes under the duster, so I couldn't see how long the patch is.
Arwen requiem lower sleeves – this is indeed a sewn-in pattern of
silver thread. The pattern is a broad-petalled flower with stamens
in the center (I believe it is supposed to represent a
chrysanthemum) surrounded by leaves and tendrils. The repeat is
very small; the whole fabric is just rows of the flowers running
vertically down the sleeve.
Gandalf the Grey – looked some more at the pattern on the edge of
the culottes. I now believe this pattern is in metallic gold, it
has been "antiqued" (or it is the low lighting) so it is not
There is a shoulder bag in the case with the Minas Tirith documents
that is listed as Gandalf's although I do not think it was used in
the movies. This bag is oval in shape with a flat top. The front
and back are of natural colored linen and the side is leather in
color matching the linen. The strap is a wide strip of brown
leather fastened to the top sides of the bag and is decorated with
one embossed line along each edge. The leather flap is also brown
and has two straps attached to fasten it. The straps are
interesting – cut of two narrow strips of leather which have been
twisted and "set" in the twists – does anyone know how this is
done? The fastener is a simple loop of leather which has been
simply been turned under at the sides and sewn on the front of the
bag below the flap.
The toffee (pipeweed) pouch is in the same case. It is a simple
oval leather pouch made of cream colored leather. It has been aged
to have a crackly appearance. The fastener is a single strip of
brown leather passed through slits on the "front" and "back" of the
pouch (ie there are two spaces with no slits on the "sides"). The
strap has been knotted into two loops for carrying.
I have looked some more at the embroidery on the robe slits and I
have concluded that it is cross stitches enclosed in boxes of
straight stitch. I have acquired another embroidery book and I
think the embroidery on the hem and sleeves is what the book calls
one-sided petal stitch. Will do some experimenting and report back.
I had thought there were five eyelet holes on the front robe yoke,
but there are six.
Saruman's belt tie – this is made of white and silver strands. The
silver is not single strands throughout the ties; there is a bunch
of silver strands then a bunch of white strands, if that makes
sense. The tie is macramé starting with one big knot (overhand?)
then it splits into at least 4 (can't see all of them to count)
smaller strands, which I believe are square knots This is followed
by a join of all the strands in one big knot (overhand?) followed by
a single strand, I think square knots again. The ties end in
another single knot (smaller than the previous one) and very long
tassels. I haven't done macramé in quite a while, but will take
a macramé book with me Friday to see if I can check the knots.
Galadriel – The cloak is fastened on the front on either side of the
brooch with clips which are similar to the "branches" on the
brooch. The folds of the cloak are sewn just behind the
shoulders to create the interesting drapery in the back – will try
to look at this some more.
Nazghul – I am seeing three layers – there is the outer cloak –
actually I am wondering whether this is a cloak or something like a
huge scarf – the cloak looks like it is knotted behind the hood
(difficult for me to see for sure). The inside of the hood has
something brown colored on it – perhaps a stiffener? Under the
cloak, there is a tunic of thicker fabric, which I believe is silk
noile. (Unfortunately, the caption lists the contents for the
armor only.) This tunic has a sleeve edged with silver embroidered
trim in a scroll pattern. I think there is something weird going
on with this sleeve – like it has a "capelet" or "flap" over the
sleeve part. It is hard to tell because the cloak partly covers
it. This tunic opens in a very deep V down to the sword belt to
show the under tunic. This under tunic is lighter in color than
the cloak and over tunic and has a mandarin collar edged with
metallic silver braided trim.
Frodo – looked for the cuffs, but as Daniel stated, you can only see
the very edge of them under the coat.
Elven Warrior - the "apron" is made of a fabric that looks like gold
Saruman - the sleeve construction is very interesting. The hem is
turned back and sewed down to form a cuff at the top of the arm.
Then the "cuff" is left unsewed further down the sides of the sleeve
and gradually narrows until there is no turned back material at all
at the bottom of the sleeve. His belt is decorated with what looks
like macrame work and the tassel at the end of the belt has a lot of
silver threads. There are fake "lapels" set into the shoulder of
the robe. The design on the back of the robe is made of several
very long tucks.
Theoden's armor - the leggings are reinforced with patches on the
inside for riding.
Arwen - swatch from Hope Dress. The leaves are formed from silver
embroidery (chain stitch?) and the veins and outline are made of
clear bugle beads.
Gandalf's hat - the one in the exhibit is very dark grey with an
almost suedey or velvety texture. The head opening has a flap in
the back, presumably to help it fit better. The hat is lined with
a black material, possibly also felt.
After last Friday visit to Museum - more on Gandalf. The stitching
on the robe slits is different from that on the hems. The pattern
is a column of X's inside squares - will try to determine if this
could be diamond stitch or just cross stitch inside straight
stitches (I am definitely not an embroidery expert.) The pattern
on the culottes includes back to back fleur-de-lis enclosed in
ogival curves, 4 petal daisies with tendrils, and vine tendrils with
leaves. I will be studying the pattern some more, as it is
intricate and I have not fully worked it out. The squiggles on the
hem design that is pictured on ACS have dots between them. I
believe the fabric is silk as stated on the costume description; I
have some dark grey handwoven Thai silk in my possession with the
same look as the background of the flocking - kind of shimmery
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