An Unexpected Sewing Adventure



Sarah Macdonald


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer: Natasha Leese

Outline the story …

For my entry, I took inspiration from "The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien, basing my costume around Bilbo Baggins. Due to deciding to gender-bend the costume, I took most of my inspiration from a Tolkien quote describing hobbit clothing: “Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf)”. As most of my sewing for this project took place during the multiple lockdowns of the last year, I had to work with the materials I already had. The only material bought new for the project was the green velour which I used for the cloak. All the material in my possession was given to me second hand by a colleague of my aunt, whose mother (a seamstress) had recently passed away, so I had varying lengths of unidentified fabrics that I enjoyed combining for this project. I liked the idea of designing my own Bilbo costume as there is no defined period for the piece, due to its fantasy nature, which allowed me to go with a mix of historical and modern patterns. This project contained a lot of firsts for me, having only started my sewing journey amid the summer of the plague. I had very little experience with sewing, but suddenly an abundance of time as I was unable to return to university.

Outline the construction…

For the skirt, I used the Truly Victorian ‘1898 Walking Skirt’ no. TV291 pattern, shortening it to a more modern length. This was my first time using a historical pattern, making a lined skirt, and making a skirt without an elastic waistband. I enjoyed working with the heavy suiting material that is used for the outside of the skirt, but the silky lining fabric liked to slide everywhere no matter how well it was basted! For the blouse I used the NewLook 6891 pattern and a plain white cotton. Sewing the tie around the neck was fiddly as it was very small, but it resulted in a very pretty neckline. For the waistcoat, I used the Butterick B4669 pattern. My second historical pattern did not go quite as smoothly as my first. Having expected some issues with the fit, I first made a mock-up (something I learned about via CosTube) and ended up having to add an additional panel to the back of the waistcoat due to having a broader back than allowed for in the pattern. I had not altered a pattern before, save for changing the length of a skirt or hemming things as I am short, but I was overall very pleased with the outcome of the alteration. The final piece that brings the whole outfit together is the cloak, made using the NewLook 6535 pattern. I soon learned that velour is not an easy fabric to work with but is very striking as a cloak.




  1. Avatar Samanthalovestosew on March 12, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    A lovely Hobbit costume!

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    I Love this- I read Hobbit right away from this outfit- so pretty! I need to make my own hobbit outfit now 😀

  3. Avatar Lauren T on March 12, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Yesss, fellow hobbit! I’m listening to The Hobbit right now and this would fit perfectly! Your cloak and skirt are fighting to be my favorite in my head. Great job and may your Tookish side bring you merry adventures!

  4. Avatar Eugenia Snyder on March 13, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    I saw Hobbiton immediately. The skirt is especially nice!

  5. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 4:01 am

    A beautiful job on this outfit.

  6. Avatar Alexandra Blowers on March 18, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Ah, I love this!

  7. Avatar Annette on March 19, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    You really look like you belong in Hobbiton. Well done ❤️

  8. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 24, 2021 at 12:58 am

    That’s so beautiful! Great color combination and the cloak is like the chef`s kiss on the outfit! Well done!

  9. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 26, 2021 at 2:46 am

    So very nice, I love it! Thank you!

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