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Kili’s Tunic

Kili’s Tunic

kilitunicrefSo here is my attempt at a tutorial on Kili’s tunic as shown in Unexpected Journey and at least through part of Desolation of Smaug.

I have to apologize, this tutorial is not nearly as good as it could be. I’m afraid that at the time I made this tunic I was pulling all the planning out of my ass nor did I think people would even want to see a tutorial from me. So I didn’t document my steps as well as I should/could have.

I hope, however, that this helps someone.

The picture to the left was just one of the many reference photos I used to figure out just what I needed to replicate.

The image is from The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey: Chronicles: Art and Design from Weta. The Chronicles books have been invaluable for some of the more difficult to find references.



Step 1: Pattern

I was unable to find a decent tunic pattern that wasn’t too modern or too feminine. I finally decided my best bet was to hack up an old shirt. So I took an oversized t-shirt that I no longer needed, about 1-2 sizes bigger than I normally wear.

A basic round/crew men’s shirt will do. Baby-doll style or other fitted styles won’t help (unless you’re going as fem!Kili) as you need the tunic to be little roomy. If you can try the shirt on and make sure the hem at the shoulder/sleeve actually sits about an inch or two below where that hem would sit on a normally fitting shirt.

Seam rip any seams you can, except for the collar. Once you do you can start cutting the shirt apart. When done you should have the back and front and the sleeve. You need both front and back as the collar is slightly different on either piece. You now have rough pattern pieces.


Front and back, folded in half


Sleeve opened flat

Step 2: Material and Cutting

For material I chose a ‘weaver’s cloth’, it’s mass produced but made to look more handmade with slight imperfections in the dye. Ideal for this kind of project and readily available if like me you live in a cloth waste-land, all the really good fabric stores are an hour or more out of my way. Fortunately this came in a shade of blue that was just about perfect.

The back piece needs to be cut out of the fold  as it needs to be one piece, the front however needs to be two separate halves, so that can go pretty much anywhere.

Before cutting, draft out with a dressmaker’s pencil or marker to make the bottom of the shirt longer. Remember the tunic should hit about mid-thigh, if not slightly longer. A ruler will be your best friend for the rest of this tunic.

Do the same extension business with the sleeves. You’ll want them as full sleeves, especially if you plan on making the bracers from leather or something similar.


Step 3: Quilted front panels

I’ve seen several other way this was done and those all involved a great deal of cutting and piecing the tunic back together. After couple weeks of testing and the tempting lure of pitching the sewing machine out the window I came up with a solution.


Swears it on the precious.

I had a roll of cheap, nasty puke pink yarn (I have no idea where it even came from).

Cut a piece of scrap material for backing using the shirt pattern. Make it from shoulder roughly down to where the quilted section still stop on you. This is your backing.

On the backing material, in this case a light blue cotton I got on sale, I drew a series of diagonal lines approximately 1″ apart. I recommend making the quilted section larger to start. As you  add the piping you can trim the quilting out from the back side.

I took three strands (you can increase or decrease as you want) longer than the space between each line and knotted both ends. I then sewed the backing material to the back side of each tunic front following each line.

Now you can either thread the yard bundles through when you finish sewing the lines or you can hold them in place as you sew the section closed.



Step 4: Piping

This will use a similar technique as the quilted panel.

You’ll need three pipes below the panel, one to either side of the panel, one along each shoulder. and one that will run the full length of the tunic on either side of the lacing.


Step 4-a: Panel side piping

Cut a narrow strip of fabric, about 2-3″ wide, whatever is most comfortable for you to handle. You’ll want it slightly longer than the panel. Any excess can be trimmed off as you add in the rest of the pipping.

Cut 2-3 lengths of yarn longer than the strip. Knot the ends.

Wrap the fabric strip around the yarn.

Sew the fabric closed as close to the yarn as you can get it. A zipper foot will help you get it nice and tight.

Repeat to make a total of four side pipes.

Pin the completed pipes to the front on either side of the quilt panel. You want to aim to make the panel look square, but place it where it looks best on you. When you pin the pipes in place, both flaps of excess fabric on the pipe should be facing in, or laying on the quilted panel.

Using the zipper foot to sew the pipe in place following the stitching from when you closed the pipe.

Repeat until all four pipes are sewn in place.

Trim the excess flaps of fabric from the pipes as tight to the stitching as you can without cutting into the stitching.

By hand you’ll roll the pipe into the panel and using little tacking stitches to hold it in place. The tacking stitches can be hidden in the quilting lines and in the sides of the pipping. You’ll only need a few to keep the piping in place. This will help hide any remaining fabric you can’t trim and make the piping look rounder


Step 4-b: Under panel piping.

Follow the same steps as above in creating the under panel piping. Only these pipes will be longer to stretch the full width of each front.

Make six pipes.

Follow the same steps to attach the completed pipes to the front of the tunic. The first will go directly under the quilted panel where the sewn lines from step 3 end.

The excess fabric flaps should point down toward the bottom of the tunic.

Trim the excess fabric flaps. Trim any of the side piping from step 4-a that ended up under the first of the under panel pipping.

Attach the remaining four pipes.

Trim the excess fabric flaps.

Tack the pipes down.


Step 4-c: Shoulder and lacing side piping

Prepare the shoulder and lacing side piping as above.

The shoulder piping will need to be as long as the entire shoulder.

The lacing side piping will need to run the full length of the tunic.

Place both of these aside, they are easier to attach later.


Tunic progressTunic only missing eyelets & lacing


Step 5: Trim the quilted panel

Flip your tunic front over to look at the backing material on the quilted panel.

Trim out stitching and yarn that falls outside of the stitching from the piping. If all went well the stitching from attaching the piping will hold the remainder of the quilted area nice and tight.

Hold off trimming the top and neck area of the quilted panel.

Click the picture to see more details.


Step 6: Sewing the shoulders

You’ll attach the shoulders of the front and back parts like normal, the only exception being that you’ll want to slip the shoulder piping in. Probably best to use the zipper foot here again to get the shoulder piping as snug to the seam as possible.

Flip the tunic front over and trim any excess yarn from the top of the quilted panel. Leave the neck for now.


Step 7: Sewing the sides

You’ll attach the sides like normal, just remember to stop roughly at the hip. Kili’s tunic splits about there. At this point you should hem the split and you want may to make this a rolled hem, which will keep the seams here looking clean and will allow you to carry the rolled hem and stitching all the way from top to bottom, paralleling the first seam you laid down.


Underside of the rolled hem


Topside of the rolled hem


Step 8: Sleeves

Sew the sleeve closed like normal, attach at shoulder like normal. Hem the cuff.

Turn the tunic inside out and trim any excess piping at the shoulder.


Step 9: Hood

Stitch in your hood. There are a number of hood designs and patterns on the internet, here is a pretty good one. Make sure that which ever style you chose, to make it fairly large. The hood hangs to about mid-back on the costume.

Turn the tunic inside out and trim any remaining excess piping from the shoulder.


Step 10: Bottom hem.

This hem needs to be fairly wide. if you have enough material at the bottom you could certainly chose to fold then stitch in place. I opted instead to cut a wide strips of material and treat it like double fold bias tape. This way the ends of the strip are folded and tucked under the ends of the tunic.



Step 11: Lacing hem and piping

Cut two wide strips of fabric the length of the tunic from collar to the very bottom. The width is your call, but you want to make sure that it’s wide enough to place eyelets but not so wide that the tunic lays funny across the front when laced up.

Fold the strips in half. Pin in place, but take a moment to slip the last length of piping between the raw edge of the tunic front and the hem strip. Basically the same as the shoulder in step 6.

Turn the tunic inside out and trim any excess piping remaining.















Step 12: Eyelets and lacing.

There are a variety of eyelet kits out there. Some that come with a setter and anvil, others that use specialized pliers. Reviews on the pliers left me cold, and while the anvil business drove me batty it worked after some practice to get the hang of just how many strikes with a hammer I could get away with before the eyelet got squished.

The number of eyelets to place is entirely you call. I decided to put in a lot. I have a weird fear of wardrobe malfunctions and have no need to share my choices in under things with the world at large.

If you chose to make your own lacing the center diameter of the eyelet is fair game. I went with 5/32″ in silver. funn note, my sneaker shoelaces fit in the eyelets and were ideal for testing the lacing pattern.

If you chose to buy lacing make sure that the lacing will fit through the eyelets you chose.


Okay, that should be it.  Get to sewing! Now while this is probably more detailed than you would need if you plan on having the coat and jerkin on all the time, it does work well if you plan on going as post barrel ride Kili.

If you have any tips you want to add to this that might simplify a step, feel free to message me, I will be glad to add it and give you credit.

If you need further expansion or any additional close up pictures feel free to leave me a message and I’ll see what I can do.

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