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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... The Fellowship Cloaks?
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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 21 2008, 5:03am

Post #1 of 37 (16612 views)
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Did You Ever Notice... The Fellowship Cloaks? Can't Post


Since this is a piece of clothing worn by nine characters over three movies, I hope you won't mind if I devote an entire post to it.

The cloaks given to the Fellowship at Lothlorien are grey wool half circle cloaks. The wool is a very special type of wool from one flock of sheep called Stansborough Gotland wool. It is a natural grey color that hasn't been dyed but they did use two different greys from the flock to add a little variation to the color. The green we sometimes see on film is the result of digital grading in post-production. The wool was provided by Stansborough Fibers, and they also sell an official Fellowship Cloak, as well as many products made with the same wool. LOTR used over 1000 meters of fabric from Stansborough.

You can see that there is a pattern woven into the wool.



The shape of the cloak is a half circle of fabric with a hole cut out for the head. Two diamond shapes are sewn together along the long sides to form the hood. Two of the short sides would be sewn to the neck of the cloak and the other two would form the top of the hood. These pictures are not to scale.








The advantages of this type of cloak are that you get a lot of fabric in the back but almost none in the front. It sits cleanly at the shoulders and shows off the costume underneath. The disadvantage is that the fabric behind you has nothing in front to off-set the weight and the cloak tends to pull at the neck.



Gandalf gets a different sort of Lothlorien cloak at the beginning of TTT. His is a 3/4 circle or full circle of fabric to hide his white robes.





The cloaks are held at the neck with a heavy clasp which is covered by the Mallorn brooch. When Pippin removes his brooch you can see the clasp underneath. This keeps the weight of the cloak off of the more fragile jewelry piece. The Noble Collection offers a replica brooch that is close but not quite exact. This was the only piece of jewelry they used a mold to reproduce multiple times. 60 brooches were made for the films.



And there's a bit of movie magic in these cloaks. What's wrong with Sam's backpack here?



Where do the straps connect back with the pack underneath his arms? The answer is, some of these cloaks have small slits, about 6 inches long, to allow packs, quivers, and shields to sit on the shoulders without ruffling the cloaks. If you're wearing a cloak and pack like this you would have to remove the pack and cloak together and would almost certainly need help with it.

Find out more over at AlleyCatScratch.

So, any thoughts?


Did You Ever Notice? is a roving discussion taking a look at the details in the films one costume at a time. It follows neither a schedule nor any particular order. Look for it when you see it. You can always find previous discussions at my Costume Discussion Archive.



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stormcrow20
Gondor


Oct 21 2008, 9:08am

Post #2 of 37 (13367 views)
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My favorite "look" for Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

These cloaks are gorgeous, and the brooches really compliment them wonderfully. I like how you can see right through them in some scenes, yet they appear to be warm and cozy. Exactly as they are described in the books!

"For each they had provided a hood and cloak, made according to his size, of the light but warm silken stuff that the Galadhrim wove. It was hard to say of what colour they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they were moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk-silver as water under the stars. Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver."

I've even found the fabric used by Toy Biz for the cloth elven cloaks on some of their figures, and bought a couple yards to make one for each plastic member of the Fellowship. Alas, I have not found the time to make them, nor the skill. Having no clue on how to sew doesn't help, but I'll attempt it one o' these days....

This is by far my favorite variation of Gandalf's costumes. I wish he had worn his elven cloak a little longer. How he looks in Fangorn and Edoras before his "uncloaking" is an image straight out of the book for me.

I had never noticed before, but judging by the photos you provided, it looks as if the pattern on Gandalf's cloak is the same as the others, doesn't it? What a great detail!

As always....thanks a million for this, Arwen's daughter!



Happy Halloween!


(This post was edited by stormcrow20 on Oct 21 2008, 9:16am)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Oct 21 2008, 3:35pm

Post #3 of 37 (13329 views)
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The cloak looks [In reply to] Can't Post

simple enough but I could not figure out the construction for the life of me. I thought maybe there were darts in the sides around the shoulders to make them so open in the front. Thank you for the diagrams.

I have a thin grey sweater made from New Zealand Marino wool which I thought might be the fabric from the cloaks, but now I know the real source of the fibre... I love wool products.

Thanks for this.


Elwen
Lorien


Oct 21 2008, 3:35pm

Post #4 of 37 (13325 views)
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I love the brooch. [In reply to] Can't Post

The flow and beauty of the leaf was just perfect. I remember seeing FotR for the first time on opening night and the gift scene wasn't in, so the cloaks just appeared. That leaf pin was one of those lovely little details that was there for the fans and I loved it.

I fact I loved it so much that I sprang for the Noble Collection version. I wear it fairly often, although more so in the winter when I use it to hold my grey wrap closed. I love seeing the recognition on a fellow fans face when they realize what it is. A little Ringer in-joke in it's way.


Jazmine
Tol Eressea


Oct 21 2008, 7:11pm

Post #5 of 37 (13301 views)
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Love the cloaks! [In reply to] Can't Post

Was once seriously tempted to buy one, but decided I couldn't really justify spending the money, when I probably wouldn't wear it! The fabric is beautiful though!


*Jazminatar the Brown*


Oden
Rivendell


Oct 21 2008, 7:19pm

Post #6 of 37 (13292 views)
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The cloaks were always one of my favorite things [In reply to] Can't Post

from the books. As a young kid reading the books, I always wanted one of the "magic" elven cloaks.

Sometime between TTT and ROTK movies I ran across the pattern you showed in your post and decided to make one. Couldn't get my hands on the appropriate wool so decided to make it out of some other grey/green fabric.

After a bit of trial and error, I managed to make my cloak based on the pattern. It really does look very similar to the Fellowship cloaks (except for the color). It fits nicely with the bulk of the cloak material staying to the back. But, as you mentioned, it does tend to be heavy and can pull/choke at the neck at times. Makes me wonder if the cloaks were attached to the actors shoulders somehow in a hidden way to ease up the weight from around the neck. I can't imagine wearing the cloaks for the amount of time the actors did and having them pull at the neck so much.

Or maybe my fabric was much heavier than the movie cloaks.

All in all, I love to wear it. I was able to wear it to the midnight showing on opening night of ROTK. That was a party! There is footage of the party in Ringers: Lord of the Fans and I think I can just make out part of my cloak in one of the shots.


Eruwestial37
Rohan

Oct 21 2008, 11:42pm

Post #7 of 37 (13269 views)
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I love the cloaks [In reply to] Can't Post

So much so that my very first ever sewing project was to make one. Then another, and then another, all of different fabrics.Crazy
I didn't have a clue how they were made but one day I was fooling around with a bath sheet and discovered that just by folding it lengthwise and sewing one of the short sides together, I got a serviceable cloak with hood! Best of all, it only takes 2 yards of 60" fabric.

Of course then I had to spring for the Official Fellowship Leaf Brooch. I love the cloaks and do wear them from time to time. For Trilogy Tuesday I had my extra heavy duty warm one and it doubled as a pillow in the theatre!

Thanks, I really do love looking at the costumes. I'm afraid cloaks are about as complicated a project as I can do but it's nice to be inspired.

Eruwestial


weaver
Half-elven

Oct 22 2008, 12:48am

Post #8 of 37 (13274 views)
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didn't realize they were so light... [In reply to] Can't Post

In that one shot, you can see that you can see through these cloaks; between that, and the pattern, and the shiftiness of the colors, and the fact that the wool came from a special sheep, etc. , well, I would guess these are the closest thing to real elvish cloaks that you can get in the Fourth Age...

Do you know anything about how the weaving was done? Or about the thought process they went through to come up with this particular design and style?

Thanks for the up close look at these -- they are beautiful!

Weaver



Collatine
The Shire

Oct 22 2008, 1:06am

Post #9 of 37 (13269 views)
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Neat information [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool post. A couple of neat parts in the book that I loved, one replicated brilliantly in the movie.

1. When on the plains of Rohan, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are sitting, waiting for Eomer's company to ride up, and they blend in so completely that the Rohirrim would have missed them had they not stood up.

2. Actually, I'm not sure this is in the book... but it's such a good scene it should be... when Sam slides down the range in front of the Black Gate, and Frodo slides down to help him, but resort to hiding under the cloak. Two guards come up, and can't see them. I remember the first time watching it, I was trying to see through the camouflage and then WOOSH, there they are. I don't think that's literally in the books, but it certainly conveyed the effect of the cloaks as they are described numerous times in them.


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 1:36am

Post #10 of 37 (13273 views)
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They came in two sizes. [In reply to] Can't Post

Those of us lucky enough to see the exhibition when it was touring got to see real cloaks. There were identical cloaks in two sizes, for the real hobbit actor and the scale double. They were even woven such that even the pattern was scaled smaller on the little one. Next to the cloaks were the two versions of Sam's pack, full-sized and scaled smaller. Everything perfectly scaled: the pans, the straps, even the weave of the fabric of the pack.

Such detail! Who would notice? Having seen these, I tried really hard to see the fabic weave in the movie and the DVD, but can't. Maybe it'll show on the Blu-Ray discs!





The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:04pm

Post #11 of 37 (13270 views)
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I love Gandalf in the cloak, too [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is by far my favorite variation of Gandalf's costumes. I wish he had worn his elven cloak a little longer. How he looks in Fangorn and Edoras before his "uncloaking" is an image straight out of the book for me.

I had never noticed before, but judging by the photos you provided, it looks as if the pattern on Gandalf's cloak is the same as the others, doesn't it? What a great detail!

I wish he'd been able to wear his cloak through the rest of the series like everyone else. Even Pippin gets to keep his in Gondor!

It's definitely the same weave of fabric on Gandalf, but I think they've used a lighter color for him, just judging by the photos. I can't prove it, but my guess would be that while the other members of the Fellowship have a dark and light grey blend Gandalf's cloak mostly or entirely uses the lightest grey.



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:07pm

Post #12 of 37 (13238 views)
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You're welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
simple enough but I could not figure out the construction for the life of me. I thought maybe there were darts in the sides around the shoulders to make them so open in the front. Thank you for the diagrams.

I have a thin grey sweater made from New Zealand Marino wool which I thought might be the fabric from the cloaks, but now I know the real source of the fibre... I love wool products.

Thanks for this.


This cloak is put together with the fewest number of seams possible. But that just makes it more difficult to replicate, in my experience!



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:11pm

Post #13 of 37 (13258 views)
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I have the smaller version from the Noble Collection [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The flow and beauty of the leaf was just perfect. I remember seeing FotR for the first time on opening night and the gift scene wasn't in, so the cloaks just appeared. That leaf pin was one of those lovely little details that was there for the fans and I loved it.

I fact I loved it so much that I sprang for the Noble Collection version. I wear it fairly often, although more so in the winter when I use it to hold my grey wrap closed. I love seeing the recognition on a fellow fans face when they realize what it is. A little Ringer in-joke in it's way.


And it's beautiful! I wish now that I'd sprung for the larger version, but the Hobbit sized version fits nicely on whatever bag or purse I'm carrying at the moment. I love the idea of using it with a grey wrap. How clever!



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:17pm

Post #14 of 37 (13280 views)
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I want one of those cloaks, too! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Was once seriously tempted to buy one, but decided I couldn't really justify spending the money, when I probably wouldn't wear it! The fabric is beautiful though!


But I couldn't justify it, either. Maybe one of their scarves.... Cool



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:53pm

Post #15 of 37 (13274 views)
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There are ways to keep a cloak from pulling at your neck [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
After a bit of trial and error, I managed to make my cloak based on the pattern. It really does look very similar to the Fellowship cloaks (except for the color). It fits nicely with the bulk of the cloak material staying to the back. But, as you mentioned, it does tend to be heavy and can pull/choke at the neck at times. Makes me wonder if the cloaks were attached to the actors shoulders somehow in a hidden way to ease up the weight from around the neck. I can't imagine wearing the cloaks for the amount of time the actors did and having them pull at the neck so much.

Or maybe my fabric was much heavier than the movie cloaks.


A harness can be built to go under the arms and pull the cloak forward, but I don't see any indication of them in the movies (except with some of the Rohan mantles). The lighter fabric would help. Sam and Frodo's packs help. How you wear the cloak also makes a difference. Pulling as much of the fabric over the shoulders as possible helps to keep some of the weight out of the back of the cloak. Viggo liked to wear his pushed back over his shoulders and his cloak always seems to be about to strangle the poor guy!


In Reply To
Sometime between TTT and ROTK movies I ran across the pattern you showed in your post and decided to make one. Couldn't get my hands on the appropriate wool so decided to make it out of some other grey/green fabric.

All in all, I love to wear it. I was able to wear it to the midnight showing on opening night of ROTK. That was a party! There is footage of the party in Ringers: Lord of the Fans and I think I can just make out part of my cloak in one of the shots.


It's so cool that you went out and made one for yourself! I have a black cloak that I use when I'm writing and need to stop taking myself too seriously. It's also great for Halloween! Some day I'll have to try a Fellowship cloak for myself Cool



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 6:57pm

Post #16 of 37 (13244 views)
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A cloak is a great first project [In reply to] Can't Post

I still think that we should bring them back into fashion so we can all run around in them again! I know that I always enjoy it when I find an excuse to wear mine Smile



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 7:12pm

Post #17 of 37 (13254 views)
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I don't know anything about the weaving or design process [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Do you know anything about how the weaving was done? Or about the thought process they went through to come up with this particular design and style?


This chunk of info is from the AlleyCatScratch site: Classic looms, dating back to the 1890's, were used to weave the Magic Elven Cloak fabric. All their colours are totally natural and no dyes are used. Their designs are all original and inspired by the creative New Zealand landscape. The same back drop for this incredible movie.

I know that the fabric was spotted on display in New York and the designers fell in love with it. But I'm afraid I don't have anything on how the cloak design came about.



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 7:22pm

Post #18 of 37 (13259 views)
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This fabric is a really lucky find [In reply to] Can't Post

Because it does have a tendency to pick up light from whatever's around it. In forests it would look greener and around rocks it would look more grey. And I love how well they show it off in the movie, too!



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 7:46pm

Post #19 of 37 (13242 views)
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Actually, they came in three sizes [In reply to] Can't Post

One for the Hobbit scale doubles, one at man size, and one for the tall scale doubles. I think this is one of the few props that would have to be replicated on all three scales. My mind boggles at the details!

You can see Sam's packs HERE, replicated down to the twill of the blanket and the braiding on the rope!



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Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 22 2008, 8:37pm

Post #20 of 37 (13228 views)
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Of course! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking of hobbits, but of course the Men and Elf would wear them, too, and need to be doubled by Tall Paul.

Great picture.





The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


weaver
Half-elven

Oct 22 2008, 8:37pm

Post #21 of 37 (13238 views)
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thanks for the additional info...and another question! [In reply to] Can't Post

Not surprised to find out the fabric was woven in a traditional way on classic looms...but was surprised by how the design work was inspired by the NZ landscape.

I love their look but I can't see anything that reminds me of a landscape about them, but then again, despite my nickname, my weaving skills are about on par with my cooking skills and those would make Eowyn's stew look good. (My kid just told someone that he'd rather eat a rock...)

So, if you or anyone can enlighten me as to how these cloaks look like New Zealand I would be appreciative!

Weaver



OhioHobbit
Gondor

Oct 23 2008, 1:15am

Post #22 of 37 (13255 views)
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I found a little information. [In reply to] Can't Post

First I would like to say once again how much I enjoy and appreciate these costume posts. I can’t say that enough. Thank you, Arwen’s daughter.

I found an interview with Ngila Dickson in an issue of the fan club magazine and someone sent in a question about how she went about creating the Elven cloaks. She doesn’t really talk about the design of the weaving as much as the kind of fabric. She said that they went through all kinds of experiments trying to come up with something. They even tried having metal woven into the fabric so that they would be sparkling, but that ended up looking too cheesy. Ngila said, “How you achieve an Elven cloak without having any digital effect element to it at times seemed really beyond us”. She said that they had tried so many different things that didn’t work that she “was absolutely in despair” when suddenly they came upon this special fabric.

That was from Issue 4, August/September of the fan club magazine on page 62. The article is actually the second of two parts of an interview with Ngila Dickson that started with the previous issue.

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Oct 23 2008, 3:08am

Post #23 of 37 (13244 views)
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I knew they went to great lengths for the costumes [In reply to] Can't Post

(uh no pun here people, move along) but how delicious a moment it must have been when they found the perfect cloth right under their noses! Thanks for sharing that OH!


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Oct 23 2008, 3:09am)


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 23 2008, 5:24am

Post #24 of 37 (13232 views)
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It really was meant to be! [In reply to] Can't Post

I said before that this fabric was a lucky find, but I didn't realize how lucky they were! It must have been great to finally find THE fabric. Thanks for the info, OhioHobbit. I'll have to track this interview down.



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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Oct 23 2008, 10:28am

Post #25 of 37 (13224 views)
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I didn't know that about the wool! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow... the fact that it's the true colour makes these cloaks all the more beautiful and mystical for me. I knw I really wanted at least one of the scarves, but they're so expensive!!

While Frodo's Shire cloak is my all-time favourite, these are stunning. I love how they made Gandalf's a wrap-around to cover his whiteness :)

I love how the cloaks are fashioned to gather in the back, but the fact that the weight would pull it back and make that brooch dig into your neck/chin could be a nuisance.

This is wonderful! I love your costume posts, Arwen's daughter. I look forward to each and every one of them :)

*warm hug*




sample

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



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