Jen's Examples

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Jen RD  -   Washington,  USA

Click on pictures for enlargements.

Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Aragorn (post Rivendell/pre Lothlorien)

My husband has been growing his hair out for a while now, and one day when he was looking particularly scruffy this summer, I told him he’d make The Perfect Aragorn for Halloween. That decided, it was the impetus for the rest of us to jump on the LoTR bandwagon.

The costume was a bit daunting for me, as I normally make clothing for women, and I had never worked with leather, nor did I think we could afford the real thing, so I had to come up with some substitutes that looked right. The costume list was a lifesaver and we spent many, many long minutes (hours) trying to find the right scenes on the DVD to make sure we got it right.

The layers

The shirt was the least important layer, as he didn’t plan to take off his jacket much. We found a slate blue/gray corduroy that was pretty close to the sandwashed black color, and dunked it in black RIT dye for a little bit to darken it slightly. A welcome by-product of the quick dunk was that it dyed unevenly and looks a bit mottled. Very cool. I just sewed a square shirt with set in sleeves and didn’t bother with the sheering near the shoulders. I hand embroidered the small Xs around the neckline, added a patch at the bottom of the center front slit, and rough fabric ties halfway down that slit. I put the same type of fabric ties at the wrists.

I used a basic loose pants pattern and made them from black microsuede.

For the suede jerkin, we found a beautiful soft silky microsuede in chocolatey brown. I fused it to black canvas with Steam a Seam II and it really took on the properties of leather, in regard to stiffness and strength. The vest was just an elongated version of the shirt, slit all the way up the front. The side edges and center back seam were bound with 1” wide strips of the same cloth and laced together with brown cording. The front laces were tied as closely as possible following the drawing on ACS. I put my new leather punch to good use on this outfit!

The coat had two lives. The first one I made from $3/yd pleather, that had been sitting too long in the store and already had a dirty stained look. Lined, however, it was too heavy and didn’t flow like the coat should flow. I spied an old leather coat of mine from Chadwicks of Boston and decided it would make a good sacrifice. I ripped out the lining and discovered it was almost completely covered with fusible interfacing on the inside. ARGH!! I spent a good afternoon steaming off the old interfacing before I could cut up the coat. Luckily my hubby is about my size and the coat fit pretty well anyway. So, I cut off the sleeves, cut the front and back panels, cut strips of leather to bind the edges and laced everything back together (see above comment regarding the leather punch). Because we had to use some of the width for leather strips, the coat doesn’t completely close in front, but that’s OK, since we wanted it to hang open and show off the other layers and his weapons.


We purchased a pair of hardsole Minnetonka black suede boots and took out the side seam down to his ankle. I cut off the fringe at the top and sewed on a large strip of black suede to simulate a folded over cuff. When he wore the boots, he wrapped black suede cord around his calf and ankle in several places to hold it all together.

The belt was a second hand store find, and I engineered leather strips to hold up the sword scabbard and dagger scabbard, and made a small belt pouch from scraps of leather so he can carry his car keys and ID. The sword was purchased on line (not an official LoTR replica – we’re short, so all those were WAY too long) and the dagger was a kukri we had already.

The quiver I made from plastic mesh, duct taped into a tube shape. I covered it with pleather, lined it with black microsuede and added strips of real leather and an old belt. I tied on some interesting old silver jewelry bits with black suede cord. The bow was ours already, painted black a couple of years ago when he went as Prince Ashitaka from the Princess Mononoke movie.

One last item was a fingerless glove from a biker shop, modified with a scrap of the brown “suede” I made for the jerkin, to cover the big open space on the back of the hand.

Distressing the costume:

Once all the pieces were assembled, they just looked too nice to belong to a real ranger. We live in the Pacific NW and had planned on spending a weekend outside getting the costume dirty, since it is usually rainy and gross by mid-October. No such luck this year—it is still dry and beautiful, and no mud. So, that’s when the FUN began. I spent several evenings with black and brown fabric and acrylic paint, brown “dirt” powder, and an old Cover Girl foundation powder compact. I ruined two makeup brushes in the process, but, boy was it fun! I just sprinkled and dabbed and rubbed and painted until the whole outfit looked sufficiently grubby. Of course, he has to sit on a towel when he drives to parties, but it looks great!

The final touch was a bit of styling gel in his long wet hair, a week or more of no shaving, and now I have my very own Aragorn. :)



See more pictures of Jen's costumes

bulletSome group shots from elves to humans to nasties <here>.
bulletEowyn's green gown, pictures and notes
bulletGrima, pictures and notes
bulletWant to read tips and see Jen's web site, click <here>.

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This page was last updated 11/21/09