Thranduil is the first major Lord of the Rings costume I started (and finished). It is made up of seven parts: a tunic, a robe, pants, a dickie, a mask, a crown and gloves. The dickie doesn't show in any of the pictures, so I'll only talk about the other six.

The whole outfit was inspired by the fabric for this tunic. I don't know what it's called- it's sort of like heavy shantung, covered in a glittery floral pattern. It was fairly expensive so everything was planned around how much of this I could afford! I ended up getting two metres one day when it was on a half price sale. The tunic design was made to somewhat resemble Legolas' in the sleeves and full "skirt". In order to get the effect I wanted, I ended up doing it in several pieces: two front top, two front skirt, two side, two back, one back skirt. The front and back skirt pieces are not attached at the side; they just overlap a bit. I was disappointed to learn that this fabric looks terrible when turned under and sewn by machine, so I had to do every single edge with a hemming stitch by hand. It also frays like crazy, so I had to stitch bias tape over the raw edges around the waist and collar. And to top it all off, I couldn't find hook and eye tape anywhere when it was time to do the fastenings, so I had to sew on all the hooks and eyes by hand!

For decoration, I did a whole bunch of embroidery on the collar with metallic gold and silver thread. I followed around the floral pattern with a chain stitch, alternating colours. I also put false buttons, made of clusters of beads, down the front, one button over each hook and eye. The buttons are decorative only and don't fasten to anything. I originally had wanted to use them to fasten, but that idea didn't work out since I couldn't get a tight enough closure. Hooks are definitely the way to go for neat edges.

The robe is probably the easiest thing ever- just a few big rectangles of fabric sewn together. The main part is made of faux silk, with darker jaquard facing down the length of the front. The bottoms of the front panels are curved slightly and tacked back a few inches to allow the facing to show. The cuffs are heavy satin jaquard with a circular pattern. The cuffs are attached with a small opening for hands to fit through, but otherwise the entire side is stitched closed.

The outer cuffs are the only part of the robe with any kind of decoration. The circles have a few beads and a tiny bit of gold embroidery in the centre.

I don't have a picture of just the pants for this outfit, but if you go to the "Finrod" page you can get a good look at them. They're the pants I'm wearing in the hopper picture at the bottom of the page. They're made of faux suede, have a bit of gathering on the lower leg, and zip up the back.

The mask, crown, and gloves were added to the costume for the Gathering of the Fellowship masquerade (December 2003). The website said we were encouraged to come in character, so I decided to attend the masquerade as a character attending a masquerade. My character was Thranduil, and his masquerade costume was Smaug the Dragon.

I wanted to make the mask as light as possible, since it would be held on by ribbon and would have to stay in place for several hours. The best medium I found for the job was Crayola Model Magic, which weighs next to nothing but is shapable and dries firm. I moulded it to my face, added horns and a nose, and let it dry overnight. Unfortunately, this mask shrunk as it dried more and more over the course of a week, so I had to figure out a better method. What I did eventually is get a plain heavy plastic mask from Michael's to cover with the Model Magic. I shaped the Model Magic over the plain mask and used a hot glue gun to fix it firmly to all edges so it couldn't shrink away. I rolled out the horns and wrapped them around pencils to get a nice spiral shape, leaving the pencils in place to dry, and shaped the nose and taped it upright to a tin can so it couldn't droop while it dried. With all the leftover bits, I made smaller horns and ridges. The whole mask took two packets of Model Magic, which cost me about $5. I let it dry for a few days, then filled in all the cracks around the horns with plaster and smoothed out the surfaces. When the plaster dried, I sprayed it with varithane, painted with metallic craft paint and nail polish, and sprayed a few more coats of varithane. The one thing I was worried about was it breaking. The Model Magic is light, but not very sturdy. But my luck held out on the plane ride to Toronto and through the evening. The long spiral horns broke off when I removed the mask later (and was carelessly carrying it around by the ribbons), but at least it lasted as long as it needed to. If I make another one, I might try putting heavy wire in the middle of the spirals, and using way more varithane for protection. But for my main concern- the weight- Model Magic was perfect. The finished mask weighed about 100 grams (less than 4 ounces).

The crown was inspired by the description of Thranduil's crown of leaves in The Hobbit. Since the masquerade was taking place just before Christmas, I figured holly and ivy would be appropriate. All I did for the crown was bind together a few lengths of fake ivy to make a head-sized wreath, and weave in little holly leaves and berries here and there.

Finally, I made the gloves to have "dragon hands" for the masquerade. I used a pair of cheap gloves from Walmart and hot glued a long fake nail, painted silver, onto the end of each finger. For scales, I used 3/4" leaf-shaped sequins in alternating gold and bronze, hot glued onto the back of the gloves. I glued the sequins at the bottom of the leaf only, so they would be flexible and move as I moved my hands. For a quick fix, I was very happy with the way the gloves turned out.