Legolas Costume Research
February 24, 2015
I've been trying to work on the costume between rounds of snow and ice cold temperatures here in the North East, it's been a brutal winter so there is a lot more to do. I've been trying to figure out which version of the costume I'm making, i.e. the movie version or the actual version so I can decide what colors to look at. I have a DMC floss color chart that I have made comparisons to and have the colors for the jerkin (the version from WETA) and hope to post that information soon. I think I've found a good source for leather to get the color pig suede that will be a very close match. I've been trying to fit in finishing up the mock up the Simplicity costume pattern in between everything and work.
Here you will find information regarding extensive costume research.
For anyone who has seen the movies Legolas basically wears one main costume throughout the three films with various bits and pieces being added or removed as the trilogy progresses. His basic costume consists of the two tone leather jerkin, tunic/shirt (“non-hero” and "hero versions), pants, boots, bracers and belt. He then adds bits and pieces through the remainder of the Fellowship of the Ring and the other two movies.
Fellowship of the Ring
Council of Elrond – Mirkwood Outfit He has his basic costume plus the white knives, traveling cloak, and the Mirkwood bow, quiver and arrows.
Entering the Golden Woods - this is the alternative outfit that consists of a different tunic and jerkin, along with his Mirkwood belt and knife. (This is the scene at night with Haldir), there is extremely limited information on this and most of these pictures are very dark being at night. Most of the pictures are also of the top part of the costume that doesn’t provide much detail of the overall jerkin and shirt.
Gandalf's Lament - He removes his jerkin and bracers and is wearing the “hero” version of the tunic/shirt.
Leaving Lothlorien – He has his basic costume plus the fellowship cloak and a new white bow, peacock quiver and arrows.
The Two Towers
Battle at Helm's Deep - Basic costume, fellowship cloak, Lothlorien bow, quiver and arrows, and Rohan leather battle armor.
The Return of the King
Coronation Outfit Completely new outfit with long outer robe, pale blue pants, belt, grey boots, new hair style and silver circlet.
Now that we have the various costume breakdown per movie its’ now time to start examining the basic costume.
The Basic Costume
Below is pictured Legolas' basic costume consisting of the jerkin, tunic/shirt, pants, boots, bracers and belt.
So now that the basics have been covered its’ time to delve into the details of the various pieces of his basic costume. Note at the present time not all links are working because the paragraph is currently blank.
Mirkwood Quiver, Bow and Arrows
Peacock Quiver, Bow and Arrows
As noted in the basic costume description, the jerkin is two tones of thin suede. The top of the jerkin is a darker olive green than the base jerkin which is a lighter olive/spring green (color corrections version). The upper part of the jerkin is heavily decorated with swirled elven patterns burned into the suede which is then painted in silver. (Details from alleycat)
The jerkin opens in the front and is closed with very fine hook and eye tape. There is no zipper closure. The eye and hook tape is placed around mid-chest and extends down to the waist where the top jerkin ends, if you look closely at the picture above you will see the location of the hooks and eyes by the slight spaces where the jerkin joins in the front.
If you look at the left side of the jerkin you will see a dark strip on the edge of the jerkin front which is the hook and eye tape.
The front and back of the jerkin are longer than the sides and are tapered from the sides to a slight point in the front and back.
You can see from this picture that the front and back of the jerkin come to just below mid-thigh in length and that the sides look to be 2 – 3 inches shorter than the front and back.
The back of the base jerkin is just a basic seam from joining the two back halves of the jerkin together, there is NO lacing on the back as can be seen in the pictures below.
I know it really tough to see the back seam in these pictures, but its there.
The sides have a complete armhole. The side seam extends down from the armhole about 2- 3 inches, see red arrow, where the jerkin splits and the side seams are reinforced with leather lacing strips all the way to the lower edge of the jerkin, see below picture, blue arrow.
The reinforcing strips go all the way to the bottom of the side seams. The side seams have lacing holes down to approximately the waistline. The lacing in this picture appears to be in a “V” pattern, but others have reported it in an “X” pattern.
I kind of like the “V” pattern and will be using that for my jerkin. The laces extend down for a few inches below the bottom edge of the jerkin as can be seen in the picture of the back of the basic costume.
Also if you look very carefully at the picture of the jerkin lacing you will make out a belt loop right at the waist line on the front part of the jerkin, see green arrows.
The back of the top jerkin has a slight dip in the center of the back. I got this detail from one of the commercial dolls I purchased. This also gives me the silver swirl pattern on the back of the jerkin which is never seen in the movie or production shots.
Note too how the bottom edge is slightly rounded and not flat across.
The front edge of the top jerkin is stitched down with a very fine blanket stitch that goes all the way round the collar and all around the top sleeves and along the back dip. The thread should nearly match the color of the jerkin’s top.
In assembling the jerkin the top part of the jerkin is not attached at the sleeves and just floats on top of the base jerkin. Its’ difficult to see in some of the pictures but the top sides of the jerkin just catch the base side seams at the arm hole. I think this is to keep the seam bulk down to a minimum around the arms. The top of the jerkin is also blanket stitched in place.
For the full hi rez picture for the above just click on the picture. This picture shows the blanket stitching around the jerkin front and on the top sleeves. It also provides additional detail of the swirl pattern on the top of the jerkin at the shoulders and some on the sleeve. You can also see that there are little feathery lines added to some of the ends of the swirl pattern that do not appear on the alleycat front swirl pattern, seen below. It is still difficult to know exactly if the swirl pattern continues onto the back and sleeves of the jerkin.
The top jerkin is heavily decorated in a silver swirl pattern. From my dolls I purchased I photocopied the back and one sleeve to get the patterns that will then be adjusted to fit onto the back and sleeves.
The front swirl pattern was already generated by alleycat and I will be using that pattern for the front of the jerkin.