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More Notes from the Boston Exhibit

== Collection of our group notes

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy The Exhibition

(These haven't made it to the main character section yet.  They may go away once I have the notes where they should be.)

Maggie / costumersguide

Maggie has a detailed review and sketches on her site.  The focus is on the Chase and Requiem outfit.

Dermawoman - September, 2004

All the costumes are in semi-tubular display cases, some with back
slots so you can see details of the costume backs--like Saruman's
funky cross between a butterfly and compass-rose point on the outer
tunic-vest-thingie.  The bad thing is that all the cases are 2-1/2' to
3' off the ground, and the lighting is indirect.  Flashlights, small
mirrors (like a compact, I didn't see inner sleeves on Gandalf's grey
tunic, but there was hemmed material around the garment stand; which
could have been just decorative), thread and paint samples, a [small]
magnifying glass are all good to bring. 

There's slate-blue-grey yarn embroidery down a slit in the center of
Gandalf's robe, so it must be slashed (fore-and-aft, I assume) for
riding.  Surprisingly, his collar is unfinished and ragged, looking
like two or more layers for the v-yoke in front and as many in back.
And I was really surprised because at no time in FOTR or the flashback
(Balrog) scene of TTT did I ever notice a cloak, or part of a cloak,
or what-I'm-not-sure being seamed into the pleated bell sleeves of the
grey outer robe, but something was there, and I don't know what it is
or was.  There is one brief scene in the (theatrical version) of FOTR,
the the Council of Elrond scene, when Frodo has put the ring down, and
he can hear Sauron whispering, causing dissent, Gandalf stands to
argue with Boromir and if you freeze the DVD, you'll see that his
outer robe has a sweeping shoulder-to-shoulder circular yoke that
comes down to Ian McKellen's shoulderblades, I'd guess, with a way
funky box pleating pattern fitted into it, all the way to the bell
sleeves and _their_ box pleats.

Gandalf the White's costume is _not_ on display (rats!), only
Saruman's, but you won't be that upset when you get an eye-full of the
texture, texture, texture, of all those fabrics--none of which are
actually white!  Saruman's frog closures on his yoke are quilted
ribbon, not knotted cord or fabric.

(also, contributed to the "about Boston info"

Ann D - August, 2004

My take on Theoden's red shirt: Yep--burlap. Well, burlap in that it is thick thread, coarsely woven. But I'm convinced that it's silk. The drape, the sheen, well--I've been sewing for 30-40 years and I just know what silk looks like. So--silk burlap.

There was a lot of silk there. The "skirts" on much of the armor (I'm  thinking of the stuff draping on the Haradrim--more silk "burlap"). Even Gandalf's robe (earlier sources said that it was a specially woven cotton, but the display said it was wool and silk). It makes sense, as much of the fabric was distressed to give it texture, and silk is strong enough to take the abuse. it ages beautifully. Especially in Gandalf's robe--this fabric was more than merely distressed. it had been tortured and abused and will need years of therapy ;-)

The underskirt on the Harad armor (think of the soldier who came to look at  Frodo and Sam huddling under the cloak outside the Black Gate) was of a dull gold color, alternating woven and non-woven strips a little over 1/4 inch wide. It looked rather like ribbon held together by threads. This is easily done with custom weaving, as you weave a quarter inch, then put in a spacer (to be removed later), the weave some more. None weavers could tediously pull threads from the cloth to get the effect. The drapery on the lower part of the face was the same fabric but had been seriously distressed and textured.

The raised embroider yon the collar of Arwen's Chase Dress was actually an overlay piece--like a piece of heavy irregular netting. It could be duplicated by using a dissolving background like Solvy. Draw the pattern, and then follow it with a close zigzag stitch using a rayon embroidery thread. When finished, soak it in water to dissolve the support.

Cynthia - August, 2004

Elrond Circlet

Yesterday I saw the LotR exhibit at the Science Museum in Boston. I was interested to note that on the Elrond crown that they had there, on the back edges were glued black elastic button-loop tape. Two sections per side, about 2" long each, with one loop hanging down where it could be seen from the side. I expect they used bobby pins to pin it onto the hair, or perhaps used the loops to sew it onto whatever hair weaves or wigs were used.

Aya - Opening August, 2004

Requiem Sleeves

Just to add my two cents after seeing the exhibit last night/today and spending an awful long time staring at the sleeve...

The only thing I can say for certain is that it is NOT cut on a bias. The grain of the fabric is perfectly parallel with the seam where it attaches to the upper sleeve. It is also perfectly parallel with the hem of the sleeve at the end of the sleeve for at least part of the way, but down towards the bottom the edge of the sleeve must curve in just slightly, because you could just make out the grain running ever so slightly into the seam where a fold of it was peeking out. Additionally, I couldn't make out any stitches in the hem... but given that it's a brocade and the thread catches a bit in the light, plus given that it was a bit beat up and some threads were sticking out, it's hard to say. I stared and stared...

Certainly the lower sleeve is sewn shut at least at the top part, and Daniel says that he saw that it was open down below at the exhibit. I didn't see this at the Boston exhibit, but you also couldn't see that part pf the sleeve so I can't say for sure. From seeing all the photos and the Boston exhibit, my personal opinion is that the sleeve is shaped almost exactly as the concept art, and that in the running to Elrond scene, the inside (curved) seam was stitched and gathered up ( ) to keep it out of the way... but let out in the blue screen (/rotk poster) shots.

Theoden underlayers

There is this photo: Which would suggest that there is a red burlapy undershirt with the green overlayer. The green overlayer is in two parts, as in the exhibit, in the back, the bottom edge of the red shirt protruded from under the armor at the waist. The suede that the leg scales are attached to bled onto the green underlayer (and the green underlayer is lined in a slightly lighter green fabric). The bottom hem of the red shirt was not hemmed (or if it was, the hem has disintegrated). The wrists of the red layer looked like they were finished with an overlock? (Not sure if this is the right word? It looked like it was done by hand... where you take the thread through the look of the previous stitch and the stitches loop over the edge of the fabric?) stitch in burgundy thread.

The pants are some sort of brown twill-type fabric, and have suede patches on the inside of the legs for riding. I couldn't tell if they were full seat or only went up to mid thigh (look at pictures of breeches to see what I mean).

Saruman Sleeves

After looking at this at the exhibit, I have to disagree with the description on ACS.  The outside and the inside of the sleeve are two different fabrics. The outer fabric of the sleeves are a brocade with a sort of abstract leaf shape. The inner side is a small, floral brocade. This is the same brocade that is on the placket/collar of the under-robe & the piping on the outer robe.

The belt is all edged in white soutache


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This page was last updated 04/22/08