Fabric Choice: Thranduil’s jacket has a very specific and unique look and texture which was crucial to emulate for this costume. In the movie they used a silk fabric that had been texturized as well as woven with a thick decorative metallic thread. As I did not have a couple thousand dollars to spare to purchase this fabric, I instead used a Christmas foil fabric that was designed for decoration and gift wrapping. The fabric was a heat embossed polyester laminated with a silver foil, which while being very different from the decorative silk in feeling, because of its luminosity appeared almost identical in texture to the naked eye.
Fabric Challenges: While the fabric had the right look it lacked the strength and capacity to be sewn that the silk used in the movie would have- this proved to be the biggest challenge of the costume. The laminated polyester was incredibly thin to the touch (think the consistency of tissue paper) thus a lining was needed and I decided to work with a heavy, double-faced polyester. While very warm, it had the flowing drape needed to emulate silk and perhaps more importantly, could be effectively ironed at temperatures that would not compromise the embossing on the silver polyester. Thranduil’s design required sewing strongly curved seam lines as well as a complex neckline, all the while needing the decorative fabric to hold up the weight of the costume’s train and lining. I first stabilized the fabric with a thin stretch knit, ironing on a cautiously low heat and constantly being aware of the heat of my ironing surface so not to compromise the embossing. The stretch lining would pull and reform to the embossing, reinforcing their form. I then interfaced with two layers of light weight, woven interfacing, with each having their straight of grain running in different directions. This created a faux grain line for the costume so that it could hold the necessary seam work.
Pattern Drafting: The jacket was completely pattern drafted from scratch onto paper. The challenging elements like with any tailored costume were the arm holes and neckline, as well the curved seam in the front. Thranduil`s shoulders are very defined and hug the side of the arm in a particular way while also sitting straight across the top. This required creating a unique type of sleeve head for the pattern that looked like a suit but fit like a jacket. The neckline had a very specific drape style as well, coming straight up from the collar then curving horizontally before spiking back up. Getting the collar to curve back on itself in this way, without causing folds along the back of the neckline, required (once again) a unique conceptual pattern. Usually, fitted garments such as Thranduil’s have multiple seam lines to fit into (as you only fit about a 3cm dart into a seam without puckering), and while this would not be an issue in the back, the curved seam lines in the front required the use of expert pattern drafting technique to move the fit into a curved horizontal seam. The 8 seams on each side of the front also then had to be drafted accurately in parallel.
Finishing’s: Because of the quantity of seam lines in the jacket and the fact that the front is meant to be perfectly symmetrical, sewing proceeded with much care. The seams had to be absolutely even otherwise it would be very visible in comparison to the other half due to the luminosity and drape of the costume. All seams were adorned with a piping, for which I used faux-stretch suede to emulate the animal skin look they have in the movie. Over 30 meters of piping were present in the costume, all of which had to be fashioned by hand. Instead of usual piping cord I used roman shade cord as it is more rigid and would help support the form of the costume. Internal piping then had to be added on the top of the shoulder seam and in the armhole seam, which gives the jackets silhouette rigidity and a straight form without using shoulder pads (which would have resulted in me looking like an 80 glam rocker version of Thranduil). The lining was sewn into the jacket to hide all seam lines, requiring the garment to be finished by hand with an invisible stitch. The zipper had to be put in completely by hand as well so to be hidden by the piping in the front without any visible stitch work.
Accessories: The crown was made from a piano wire frame, which had to be formed manually with a tool then linked into itself in a similar means to chainmail (as tape does not adhere to metal and glue is not sturdy enough). After essentially metal weaving the base of the crown, I first covered it in a layer of Sculpey, baked it, and then covered it in a second layer, this time adding additional branches to the base. The branches were texturized by hand with a pencil to look like wood, with special attention paid to the details and the specific knotting of the wood on the cheek pieces so they would match the crown in the movie. The crown was sprayed a warm copper first (to have the red tree-wood tones) then painted using Rub and Buff over top to add texture while allowing copper to show through to add depth to the wood appearance. As I could not find leaves the correct shape, the leaves where cut out by hand from a thick, decorative Christmas ribbon and then adhered into place. All my rings were hand sculpted using an earring and wire base (to give the necessary support) then covered in Scupley, baked, and painted with gold and silver leaf. The quartz gem on the one ring was made by layering clear plastic that I cut into and sanded lightly so that it appeared slightly opaque, and then the bottom layer was painted silver to create light and luster. The neck broach was created in multiple parts. The crystal was partially covered in Sculpey and sculpted to form the center piece of the accessory, which was then mounted onto the back piece formed from cut pieces of plastic that were then sanded to have the beveled edge, and then hand painted silver.