Lord of the Rings Costumes

Lord of the Rings and its handwoven clothing.

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Even today, in this age of computer animation and technology, handweavers play a significant role in the motion picture industry.
Handweavers are able to make small production runs and produce fabrics that have unique structure, colour and design.

Many of the unique costumes featured in the movie “Lord of the Rings” were made of handwoven fabrics.


Lord of the Rings Costumes

Wardrobe Supervisor, Carolyn Fenton describes the detailed process of making the costumes for LOTR. One of the issues faced by the costuming department was the issue of scale. Making Hobbits appear to be only 3 feet tall, next to a 7 foot
Gandalf.

Designs are sketched, with details of necklines, sleeves, etc.
Fabric and dye samples are made.  Mockups are made and adjusted for
sizing.  Several copies of each garment has to be made, both for the
actors and also the doubles that are used in the production of the movie.

The design team was comprised of jewelers, hat and boot makers, pattern makers,
sewing technicians, dyers and weavers.

Elven Cloaks
The fabric for the Elven cloaks was woven in New Zealand by Cheryl Eldridge of Stansborough Fibres.  The yarn used for the Elven cloaks was a 2 ply blend of Gotland sheep and alpaca, spun
at approx. 35 wpi.  The fabric was woven and processed at a mill in Wellington, NZ.  The fleece is a natural grey colour, though it appears to have green tones in parts of the movie.  This is a result of
post-production colour adjustments.

Theonering.net
This website has some excellent close-up pictures of some of the costumes – taken at the
Toronto exhibit.

Hobbit
Costumes

Rohan
Child

Wormtongue

Saruman

The Toronto exhibit has a good close-up picture of Saruman’s costume. And other costumes as well.

Toronto Exhibit

Lord of the Rings – Official Site


Gandalf

The costume designers and wardrobe managers took the utmost care
in designing each costume to make them look and feel real.  From
Gandalf’s wizard hat to the pastoral nature of the Hobbit cloaks, all the
clothing was influenced by centuries of European culture.

Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition
The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King Extended Editions)

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Author: Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi