Ann W's Examples Oregon, USA
(but from New Zealand)
Click on pictures for enlargements.
Pattern: I used one of the suggested patterns, Simplicity 9951, which I had to alter to make the collar right, put in sleeves, do the join of the two materials, and get the cut of the bottom pieces. Warning: because it's made to be a coat, you need to use a WAY smaller size than it says on the packet to make a well-fitting tunic.
I made a mock-up out of felt (to match the leather's qualities), and an old sheet, which I highly advise doing. The lacing at the sides was done with leather laces and gold rivets (easier than sewing it in). The gold vine pattern was painted on using acrylic paint.
Fabric: I used real suede for the dark green parts of the tunic, and a "moleskin" shirt for the light green. I bought the shirt at Walmart (white stag label) for $15, and had to take it apart completely to get enough material, which was a bit of a pain!
To sew the suede, I got a leather needle for my sewing machine, but it still wouldn't pull the thread through properly. So I ended up punching the holes with the machine, and then stitching all the seams with the suede by hand (arrrgggh!). I used heavy duty cotton thread and a saddle-stitch.
Then I glued the seams, using fabric glue, and ironed on hem tape. I'd advise rubber cement rather than fabric glue, mine hasn't stayed down too well.
I got the moleskin material looking stiffer by ironing on interfacing, however, I would recommend instead using a lining, it doesn't look the best on the inside! The blue shirt that I'm wearing is a cotton one that I got from goodwill and did some "quick and dirty" alterations to (turned down collar and sewed, removed button facing on front, put in side pleat, and removed collars, to make it look less modern). An improved version is in the works, however!
More notes: First of all, I would never have managed to make the costume (nor been inspired to do so) without the LOTR Costume site! I'm pretty much a beginner, I know how to sew a little bit, but haven't made many things, and don't do crafts regularly. The main thing I had to learn was how to work with leather. The belt, quiver, and vambraces were all made from scratch out of scrap leather. I had to learn how to cut, punch, sew, skive and glue leather from library books, which was really fun! My university craft center was really helpful, there was a guy there who had worked with leather, and he gave me some good pointers.
The bow and arrows I made myself (also with help from the craft center), using a branch that I found that was the right shape, and wooden dowels. The branch for the bow was sanded and stained a mahogany color, as were the dowels. I then varnished both with a couple of coats of spray varnish. The feathers on the arrows came from a guy at the craft center who lives in the country and got real turkey feathers for me!
The boots are from goodwill, and I altered them, sewing on some black leather on the top to make them look more like Legolas' (supposedly!). The trousers are the only thing that I didn't make, they were also from Walmart, (grey "moleskin").
Oh and hair and makeup - when I did it for Halloween I got greasepaint makeup, and used it to make a "square-jaw", had never done this before, but it really worked, people said my face was a different shape! I also got "fake skin" to do elf ears, it worked ok, but got a bit droopy towards the end of the night. I did the side braids myself (they're pretty easy), and had a friend who knows how to do herringbow braids do that one at the back. And finally, as if this wasn't enough, I bleached my hair to make it look more like Legolas'!! This was a big mistake because I really didn't do my research first, and it went kind of yellow. Lesson: visit the hair color store and get advice first!