DIY cape and Hobbit costume.

When we were in New Zealand last month, we went to Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand. I still haven’t seen The Hobbit film series, but I love The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Anyway, I wanted to dress my toddler as Frodo and made a cape for that purpose.


Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings. Pic from here.


The challenge was that my son absolutely refuses to have anything go around his head and neck, and would pull at anything remotely restrictive (like, a cape that closes at the front at the neck). So I know I had to modify the way it is worn, so that it would stay on him and not hurting himself if he does pull at it. Namely, to have the cape attach to his shoulders instead. It won’t look as accurate, but hopefully still recognisable.


Frodo without cape. Pic from here.


So I searched for online tutorials to make the cape. I wanted something fast, easy and not require a lot of fabric. I didn’t need or want a lining. The cape may not be worn again, so I wanted to invest in the minimum amount of time and materials. In the end, I found this youtube tutorial and I think it is excellent – easy, fast, simple. I didn’t even use a measuring tape. I did make modifications – I made tabs at the shoulders and centre back to attach the cape to the top via buttons. So the cape will be secured onto the top he is wearing rather than closing at centre front, which my son would not have tolerated. Below is just the process I went through to make the cape.


The fabric is wool blend felt [65% viscose, 35% wool], 90cm wide, 75cm long (get the same length as the height of the wearer), made in China and bought from Spotlight. The brooch is from Ebay.
Cut the cape width-wise as shown.


Fold one end of the cape piece along the cut edge, creating a channel that thick elastic can be thread through. Since the wool felt is non-fraying, I only single-folded.


With the hood piece, fold it in half and trim off excess, depending on how wide and tall you want the resulting hood to be. I purely guesstimated it.


For the hood piece, with one edge still folded, sew along the perpendicular edge.


Open up the hood and turn the raw edges to the inside, then pin and sew onto the cape along the stitch line of the elastic channel, matching the hood and cape centres.


Initially, I was still hoping that I could make it attach at the front neck as per the original tutorial. But after trying on and wrapping it around my toddler, it came evident that it was not possible. If you are making it attach as normal, you can just thread the elastic through the channel and sew it down on each side to finish it off.


Wow, the colour of the fabric in the photo changed so much with different lighting! Anyway, after cutting the excess away, I threaded elastic through the channel and sewed the channel openings shut on both sides, securing the elastic ends.


I made button tabs with scraps, they are just a folded (double layer) piece of fabric, cut to create a curve on one end and sewn onto the cape at the elastic ends and centre back on the inside. You can do a buttonhole there – I simply cut slits in the tab (not shown in this photo).


After this step, I sewed buttons on the top at shoulders and centre back on the outside. I sewed the leaf brooch onto one shoulder tab, and the chain and gold ring are also sewn down onto the top.


Completed. The top, pants and braces are RTW.


Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand.



We really enjoyed it there. If I could change one thing, it would be to NOT bring our pram/stroller! The paths are wet and muddy (from spinklers to keep the grass clean), uneven and hilly. I thought he might want to have a rest in the pram since the tour takes about 2 hours.  It ended up being super cumbersome, inconvenient and heavy to carry it! But the place itself is awesome. I re-watched Lord of the Rings trilogy before and after the visit!


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