LOTR Faramir Full Costume WIP - Pic Heavy

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Hey all, back again. Sometimes it feels like I'm using the forum as a backup drive of all my WIP pics, but then I realize the RPF is exactly why I started taking WIP pics in the first place.

ANYWAY, Faramir. We're gonna start with sewing the shirt; considering the number of layers, I don't want to start the more recognizable cuirass/breastplate, only to find it only fits by itself.

Credit to AlleyCatScratch's and Gryphonsmith's collection of Faramir details. His shirt appears to be light linen or muslin, and considering that it's quilted, the lighter the better. Notice on the sleeves, however, only the outer layer has quilting; the lining is smooth.


That meant I put 4 layers in the sleeves: 2 that are quilted with thin cotton batting in between, and a 4th layer for lining.


The sleeve shape looks funky, I know, but I'm eyeballing it here. Instead of a classic angle, Faramir's shirt appears to be a "T" shape, I imagine to facilitate archery and similar sweeping arm movement. Also, because you're quilting it, CUT IT BIG. You don't know how warped the shape will get after you've run dozens of stitch lines through it.

This part's pretty self-explanatory, just tedious. I sewed rows of stitches about 1-1/4" apart, then another row offset about 1/8". Refer back to the reference at the top. Having a quilting add-on to your sewing machine will be a lifesaver, just set the bar to the desired distance and follow it.

For the diamond stitching, I marked out (more or less) the path I needed to sew with pins, and after that was sewn I could use the quilting arm to follow it.

The rest of the shirt was relatively easy in comparison, except for enlarging the armscyes to fit those huge sleeve edges. It's got a layer of cotton batting, like the sleeves, but no real quilting beyond that.



It needs some ironing and delicate thread-snipping/handstitching corrections, but that's the shirt. Tomorrow: eyelets, thousands of 'em.

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25 eyelets per sleeve side, 50 a sleeve, 100 for the shirt.


The next layer is deceptively simple: the sleeveless tunic. I've spoken on other builds about my preference for twill fabric for its thickness/drape, and here I found a fantastic, rich olive-forest twill.


It appears that every edge has trimming, or at least rolled seams, so I cut 1-1/4" strips of twill. Plenty of width for sewing a 1/2" french binding:

EXTRA DETAIL TIME: The front edges ONLY are sewn with a zigzag. It was worth the time spent measuring, marking, and slowly sewing 'em:

Lastly, because there's already 112 small eyelets on this costume, I added 32 large ones:


And that's most of the fabric done! Tomorrow: Front ties, and the start of the leatherwork.

SMP Designs

Sr Member
Very nice progress, looks amazing! Man, I have heard the name AlleyCatScratch in a long time. I was on the team that did the deep detail research and testing for Frodo way back in the day. Glad to see it’s still helping people with LotR costumes! :)

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Indebted to you, SMP!

The front ties were simple enough. I bought a spool of dark drown 1.5MM waxed cotton cord off Etsy, braided 'em into 6 ties, and hand stitched each to the tunic.

The fabric tabs were about 1" wide (plus extra to iron flat) and were sewed on top of the ties for good measure.
Screen Shot 2019-12-15 at 12.22.24 PM.png

While I'm on the subject of fabric, the cloak. I'm a rather tall person, about 6'3, and I've hardly ever found a seamless piece of fabric wide enough to accommodate a long cloak. This olive twill was no exception, but it couldn't be helped. It was just under 6' wide, so I cut an elongated semicircle and trusted the fraying/weathering to disguise the shorter center, if that makes sense:


Half the cloaks in LOTR are semicircle patterns or variations thereof, so I won't go into detail there.

Elsewhere I'm known for my CW Arrow hoods; hood patterning is something I'm rather partial to. Faramir's hood is patterned with the same slight curvature as the Arrow hood, but it's both deeper and has a pronounced point.

This extra large hood folds back, like so:

Of course, I realize now that I shouldn't have lined my hood (it should be a raw edge), but it's too late. Next time.

Last cloak details; 3D-printed buckles from Shapeways (3D printing has absolutely changed the game for replicas; less fragile sculpting and casting), sewn to leather tabs which are in turn sewn to the cloak, and a quick n' dirty slit sewn near the middle (see previous pic for approximate position) to allow his quiver strap through.


That's all for now. Next time: the vambraces.


Well-Known Member
I couldn't find the original source of the vambrace carving pattern (anyone want to claim credit?), but truth be told I found its dimensions slightly off, and lengthened the feathered section while shortening the tree section. I would use this same modified pattern for Boromir/Aragorn's vambraces:

As far as the coloring, I used (you guessed it) Tandy Waterstains, a blend of green, blue, and slate gray. It's quite a rich color, but a few coats of neatsfoot oil will turn it almost green-black as it soaks in.

For a complimentary shade of brown, I added 1 part of this color to 3 parts dark brown Waterstain:

This was all hand-carved, by the way. No custom stamps, though at times I wish I had coughed up the cash to commission some and save me the time, especially on the tree. Oh well. A small beveler tool, leaf-shaped seeder tool, and swivel knife kept the project looking authentically handmade.

You'll see more of that, though, on the cuirass.

Screen Shot 2019-12-15 at 12.23.40 PM.png

I wish I could have bought accurate buckles from the same guy who 3D printed the rest of my buckles, but unfortunately his Shapeways listing was taken down for being a copyrighted design. It's a shame, but I understand. Thankful I got as many of the pieces as I did. My poor substitute were 3/4" buckles from Tandy. This is the general consensus on the screen-accurate width of the straps on these vambraces, so I scaled my pair around that.

Next time: the big part. An intro to cuirass making.

Indy Magnoli

Master Member
Amazing work! I've done a little leather carving, so I can appreciate the amount of work that went into those vambraces. Bravo!!


Well-Known Member
Back to leatherwork. Like the vambraces, the tree pattern was found online and required some modification. I needed to slim down the overall shape, widen the topmost branches, and slightly lengthen the trunk to accommodate my taller-than-Faramir pattern.

Marked on 2/3 oz. leather here, BUT I wasn't happy with the resulting piece (the top still wasn't wide enough, and the stars were too angular) so I did it again for the final cuirass using the same techniques. I just didn't photograph the new one until I had sewed it.


In one of the Extended Edition interviews, the costume designers say that the tree was actually a giant stamp that was pressed into the leather to create a relief. That rules out burning the tree, as I've seen a few Faramir costumers do, but I don't have a press.

Hand-tooling it is.

And finally, using a beveler stamp inside the entire edge (and middle, for the wider areas of the trunk) to sink it all flat.

*FROM HERE, IT'S THE REDONE PIECE* (Notice the difference in the tree's top, especially)

For the stars, I used an elongated "pear" tool, as it's known by carving terms, and simply rotated it 8 times around a faint center mark.

After dying (more Waterstains; a mix of several earth tones, I recall) and the beginnings of stitching the collar (I'll explain the border tooling next time):

That's all for now. More on the cuirass next time!

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Gryphonsmith's detailed analysis of the costume noted that the ringed tabs that lace up the sides had a small "cross or flower" carved onto each, but upon watching closeups from the EE extras...
Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 9.15.28 PM.png

... you can identify exactly what it is, because it's been used before. It's the end stamp from Boromir's shield strap (this photo stolen from Rick Cottontree's flickr):


It makes sense that they'd want to recycle designs, but seemingly not a single Faramir costumer has picked up on this detail yet (and if they did, they haven't used it). I used Rick's measurements, but (again) didn't have a custom stamp. I just hand tooled them.


Solid brass rings from Tandy. I marked where the tabs needed to be attached to the cuirass, and punched holes for rivets *UNDERNEATH THE AREA THAT WOULD BE CONCEALED BY TRIM*.

This cannot be overemphasized. For screen-accuracy, there are no visible rivets. I was going to sew through the tabs when I added the trim anyway, but I wanted some extra reinforcement beyond the strength of waxed thread. The last thing I did before sewing the trimming strip was lightly gluing a rectangle of brown suede to the back halves of the cuirass, to match reference photos.

SO, as you can see, you'll need to sew suede-tabs-cuirass-trim with the same stitch.

Added the seventh star on a 1 1/4" leather square:

And lastly, painting the tree with silver Cova Color paint cut with a few drops of black to dull the color (compare to the original, rejected cuirass):


Pretty damn sexy, if I do say so myself. Next time: the padded sleeves and smaller soft goods.


Well-Known Member
2 layers of microsuede sandwiching 2 layers of cotton batting for extra plushy quilting.

While there's no photos of these steps, I then added french binding around every edge, and from there installed 8 eyelets on each sleeve.

More progress has been made since this pic, but here was everything so far put together:
Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 12.13.52 PM.png

Next time: showcasing the waist belt, quiver, and the first forays into the boots. Happy quarantine, everyone; wear a mask!

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Update time! These were the boots I commissioned from an Etsy maker in Ukraine. While the quality was lovely in its own right, they completely deviated from an accurate shape and color.

Instead of commissioning a new pair, I decided to use this pair as a base, like with the old SithCamaro boot tutorial.

Used a Huntington Double Shoulder from Tandy for the pull-up texture and color, drafted a more accurate pattern that could be pre-sewn and formed around the OG boots, and bonded the whole thing together.

It still needs a lot of delicate handstitching to secure it along the calf, but I’m very happy with the results so far.

One boot 95% done, and here’s a preview.


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