Female Hobbits
Making Hobbit Skirts
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Female Hobbits

(ooops, sorry we're under major reconstruction here, pics coming, please ignore references for now)


  • Making Hobbit skirts (separate page)

    Women Hobbit Costume Summary

    Making a Women's Hobbit outfit

    The inner most layer is a blouse. Looking at the pictures the women are wearing fairly sheer gathered blouses, with a variety of sleeve treatments. Many of the necklines look elastic gathered, although we know from Leah that a neck drawstring was also used. Colors tend to be whites, off-whites, pastels (especially yellow). The neckline varies between low enough for some cleavage for the younger hobbits, to mid-chest and higher for older hobbits.

    Sleeves, from looking at Rosie dancing, appear to be set-in. Sleeve lengths vary from rolled up above the elbow, puffy cap sleeves, elastic at the elbow and flouncy drapery "cuffs", and standard length short sleeve with an elastic ruffle. Choose a style that flatters your arms! However, other hobbits look to have the standard raglan sleeves.

    Check a pattern here: http://www.reddawn.net/costume/chemise.htm. Just don't make the casing right on the edge... move it in an a couple of inches. Shorten the sleeves.

    Blouse length: it's under two skirts so no one can tell! I prefer mine about knee length.

    Sleeve and neck gathered with drawstring in casings normally leaving a ruffle about 1-2 inches at the neck (some, not all) and 2-4 inches at the sleeve (almost all). Fabric: Use small plaids and checks, some stripes, heavy texture weaves, cottons, linens and wools.

    • gathered neckline: mid chest or higher. use either drawstring or elastic
    • hero blouses use set-in sleeves, others may be using raglan sleeves
    • sleeve length is at or above elbow; either ruffled, rolled up, or puffy with a cuff
    • blouse length unknown
    • Picture examples are minimal on the women. Market scenes: pg 72 & 73 in Official Movie Guide, almost the same pg 9 Visual companion, very small but women at party showing styles, pg 7 Photo Guide)
    Gathered neckline raglan sleeve, notice how far back the shoulder seam is, way down the back  

    The well dressed hobbit woman seems to wear two skirts. Young women wore their underskirt, or petticoat, a few inches below the knee, while older women wore them closer to their ankles maybe hemmed about mid calf but that varies based on the extra's height.

    The over skirt, or main skirt, is usually about 3 inches shorter. Fancier outfits have double skirts, two very different colors but muted. Some have multiple rows of tucks, like a ruffle, a few inches above the hem. I believe someone else saw ribbon on the skirts.

    The skirts should be simple straight, gathered skirts (no gores!) that attach to a waistband. Skirt colors varied widely, sometimes solid, sometimes plaid, sometimes small gingham checked.

    • straight gathered, no gores, to a waistband
    • to the knee or just below for young women, mid-calf or ankle length for older women
    • over skirt is about 3" shorter than under skirt
    • skirts may have ruffled hems and possibly ribbons
    • Sarah O'Donnell (Rosie!) described the under skirts as cotton petticoats and said that the skirts had lots of "bouffiness"
    Lighter skirt under dark skirt, apron lightly gathered. Back view... nope this isn't how they fit in the movie

    Boning along grommet edge to keep it from wrinkling


    On top of the skirts a woman usually wore an apron. The apron is either a straight apron gathered to a narrow waistband, or in the case of some larger women, an apron with a bib front worn instead of a bodice. Many have wide straight gathered aprons, muted colors but patterned. Some just tie a waist, some smocks type w/ a bit of a flared ruffle on the straps. Aprons are about 3 inches shorter than skirts. Some aprons are worn with one or both corners tucked up to the waistband for a drapey/pocket effect.

    • straight gathered to narrow waistband tied in back
    • larger women wore bib aprons instead of bodice
    • ruffled hem on some aprons
    • apron length about 3" shorter than top skirt


    Over the blouse women wore a bodice. Bodices can be fancy with neckline cutouts, false front-lacing, trim along the edges, or using fancy fabrics as front panel insets; or simple plain bodices of a solid color. One bodice shown was of green corduroy that buttoned down the front! Most bodices lace up the back. Many in the movie appear to be stock sizes which might not have fit all the actors the same: some show the laced edges actually meeting (it is historically common that most bodices have about a 2" gap), while many had large gaps in the back. The appearance of the gap is minimized by having a placket underneath that hid the bodice from view beneath the lacing. Use brass grommets and criss-cross lacing.

    The bodice neckline was often square cut, fitting just below the gathered neckline of the blouse (whether the neckline be high or low, that's where your bodice should fit).

    Neckline is high.  The shoulder strap goes about 3 inches to the back

    bodice and keyhole edged with bias tape and flat braid, bow is sewn on. Square cut bottom edge only to the waist.

    See edge with jute rope trim.

    The shoulder straps angled off from the bodice neck. Usually they angled so much that they hit at the shoulder point, and often widened at the shoulder line so that they were off the point! Not surprisingly, many women in the movie had straps falling off their shoulders, or slightly sagging. The shoulder straps may connect at the top of the back piece of the bodice, some (like the striped bodice) meet at the shoulder line, and some are literally a shoulder piece added squarely to the back, but less noticeably to the front (seams can be seen on both ends!). So basically this means that thing you need to do to put shoulder straps on, has been done in the movie! Just remember to angle them to the outside a little, and flare them over the shoulder point.

    The bodice only comes to the waist, it does not go below the skirt or flare over the hips; it ends on the square, no point.

    Cut of the bodice: The bodices are made in shaped pieces, NOT darts. There is a front piece that runs just center to the bust edge, a side piece that runs from the front, to the true side (under the arm), and a back piece. The bodices are stiffened possibly with a buckram-like interface that was so stiff it kept its shape on the hanger. Apparently very little boning was used, and would have been similar to the covered poly boning, or possibly rigilene (brand) at the seams.

    Square cut bottom edge only to the waist.   Note the decorate binding on the bottom that finishes the bodice.  

    Most bodices are edge finished with bias tape. Those with fancy front panel insets tend to have flat braid (or "gimp"), rick-rack or piping around the panels and around any cutouts.

    • square neckline just below blouse gathers
    • shoulder straps angle toward shoulder point, often falling off!
    • very stiff interface, possibly some poly boning (not steel)
    • bodice length to the waist, not over hip; square cut- no point
    • brass grommets for back criss-cross lacing
    • placket at back edge minimizes lacing gap by hiding view of the blouse
    • edge finished with bias tape
    • Front decorations may include false ribbon lacing or buttons or just decoration. Lacing on bodice may be covered by large shawl, triangle hangs in the back, front tucked into the bodice.
      • A lot of those had fabric mixes of plaids or stripes with a more solid color. Seeing these, it's easy to see where they seamed the pieces to shape the bodices. The bodices are very colorful with braid edging the joined fabric pieces. There are also colorful tabs across the bodice tops. Another had a narrow "V" pattern of lacings, couldn't tell if it was false. Not all the fancy bodices have square necks, some are shaped, some have cut out in the front. Colors examples: Brown plaid bodice front, green sides, brown trim; red stripes in the side with lighter colors in front. These are very obvious differences and make the bodices very bright... and very fun looking.
      • One of the hero bodices, had bits of fabric used as contrast which match Bilbo's "smoking jacket"


    The final layer seems to be an optional triangular shawl that most commonly tucked into the blouse neckline like an 18th century kerchief, or sometimes tied in front. Some women wore a mob-cap type of hat, especially when working in the fields, but many went bare headed.

    Unusual Tops

    Jacket: One hobbit is shown wearing a very different outfit of a button-front coat with long sleeves. There is no evidence of the boned bodice beneath it, or at least the coat is straight sided and is not as tightly shaped as the bodices. It also has a high, round neckline. It has a criss-cross pattern and is edged in brown and then white strips. Wide (3"-4") brown cuffs. 5 buttons.

    Green Corduroy (Mrs Proudfoot): I saw a couple of times one women with a green corduroy bodice that buttoned down the front. Maybe it was false buttons, but there seems to be an overlap. The neckline was edged in strips of corduroy cut on the bias. The side panels were also bias cut. This would make sense with some of the other bodies that had striped sides also being bias cut.

    If you wish to add pointed ears and larger hairier feet than you may be naturally endowed with, please see the page on prosthetics.

    Women Hobbits

    Movie snaps

    PR Shots

    Shots from Canes 2002

    Shots from ComicCon 2003

    A fan was dressed as a hobbit in one of the original costumes by the Weta team. It's Leah, the "Sam" from One Ring Circus

    Wearing a hobbit at Comic Con 2003

    Note width of the skirt  

    That was me up there in the WETA/New Line panel. I'm preparing a fan-level report right now with pictures, but before I forget let me describe in detail what I wore for y'all. Now keep in mind I am no seamstress so I will do the best I can at describing.

    So. In general, in terms of the clothes, all fabrics were woven. Very tightly stitched together. My outfit was cotton or other natural fabrics only. The shirt was a light apricot-colored gauzy cotton. It was practically transparent. The sleeves were gathered at mid-upper arm with some kind of stretchy stitching. The neckline was simple and round and very gathered, so it depended on a gathering string and the bodice for shape and needed tucking in.

    The bodice was dark green, red, orange, and gold plain woven material. Very nice and with raised striping, I had never seen anything like it before. The trim was scrolled cream colored polyester (or silk?) bric-a-brac. The keyhole was also trimmed with this and did not tie at the top, it was a built-in hole. It was stiffed by the fabric thickness itself and laced up the back. It had no boning per se but the edges were heavily reinforced with something, all along the bottom, neckline, and armholes.

    The bottom half was three layers. The first two layers were rough woven cotton skirts, first coffee colored and then caramel colored. When you looked at the skirts the warp and wefts were two different colors and very nubby and rustic looking. The top skirt was a little shorter than the bottom one which ended two inches above the top of my foot. Over those was a simple orange apron, with a very wide tie at the top. The ends were long and wrapped around me once before tying in a bow at the back waist. My triangular neck scarf was also orange and was made of that gauzy cotton material again.

    The wig felt like real hair, it was very high on top and had some stuffing in it. It was very curly and back-heavy, it had a false gather and the blue and yellow bows were sewn in place to look as if they were tied in the hair. Basically it just had curls boinging out everywhere which the guys in back arranged before I went on stage to put in front of the ears and create little bangs.

    I wore Elijah Wood's ears, Billy Boyd's feet, and Sean Astin's foot wigs. Whoa nelly!

    Feet on before blending Sean Astin's foot wigs
    Hobbit feet on, minus wigs CU of Billy Boyd's feet on Lea
    Foot wigs on  

    The Ears were molded latex, very firm, not foam. They were airbrushed and pink at the edges and slightly transparent so the light looked natural on them. They go over the entire ear. The Feet were squishy foamy latex that felt like foam shoe pads. The hair on the toes was long and had been attached by pushing the individual hairs inside each toe. The rest of the foot hair was a hand-knotted piece done with real human hair on wig lace. The hair was long, sparse, and dark, and I asked them how they got the curl and they said they had done that with hot curling irons.

    My feet were attached with silicone adhesive and smoothed at the ankles with a latexy type substance and long strips of latex laid over some fabric kinda like band-aids. A three-stage sponging process was used, three different colors of thinned makeup was placed on the foot and all the way up my leg. Then the hairpieces were attached to the false feet with regular old spirit gum. To finish the blending, my feet were painted with many different brush-spattered colors of super-thin flesh colored makeup.

    I'm in the process of getting my photographs together now and I'm submitting them all to TORN as part of my backstage report, I will drop you guys the link if and when they decide to handle that for me.

    Usually Samwise Gamgee, though ;)

    ROTK Opening

    5 hobbit lasses.  These aren't really large but they do show you some fabric variations.


    ROTK Wellington photos thanks to Green Leaf, Sytske, Tyellas and ToRN's Wellington gallery

    Extra making tips


    • How to make a Hobbit skirt
      • A straight skirt is simply made by sewing the selvages of the fabric width into a tube, then gather into a waistband at the top and hem the bottom to the desired length. How many panels you sew into your tube depends on your size and how full you want the skirt. If you are a size Large or larger, use two panels of 60" wide fabric. If you are smaller, use one panel of 60" wide, or maybe 1.5 of 45" wide. Make it bigger and try it on before you sew the waist band, you can always take out fabric! These skirts are truly a giant tube that is gathered to a waistband, remember to leave a few inches open at one seam for a waistband overlap with a snap or hook & eye (after all, you have to get into the skirt and don't want it to fall off!).
    • How to make a bodice
      • One way to make a bodice pattern is to use an existing pattern. I used a pattern for colonial (18th century) stays, combining the pattern pieces so that I only had 3 pieces per side. And then I attached shoulder straps. I made it into a tube and tried it on for fit, and then moved the seams to just center of the bust edge (instead of just beyond), and straight under the arm (instead of angled from the side-back). Added the shoulder straps and shortened the pattern to my waist -and it looks pretty much like the pictures. I tried using various vest patterns, but they all use darts for shaping or had very unsightly bulges above the bust near the shoulders.
    • http://www.alteryears.com/renaissance/ren-womens.html (BTW, if anyone wants to order from them, phone or fax, don't e-mail)
      look at the top picture here: Can't see the seam but pattern pieces are center front, side front, side back, back... actually all 3 (back lace, side lace, front lace) are almost the same pattern so you can look at all 3 pictures. (BTW, is a Ren Fair approved bodice.)
      For hobbits, move up the top of the bodice just a tad...

    • How to make a chemise
    • We have a list of patterns to get you started.
    • Looking for starter costume shortcuts, check Quick tips?
    • Check out Making 'em for sewing and pattern tips.

    Much thanks go to Leah & her friend, Emma & Ian for the use of their pics and insider hobbit knowledge .Thanks to all the Weta folks for the hobbit demonstration as well.

     Extra pictures thanks to Tyellas and Sytske.

    Section editors: Judy and Cat

    Check out Lav's study pages here:


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    This page was last updated 04/22/08