Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Custom Frock Coats - brown with a secret

This is the first of the two finished custom frock coats I have made this month.

We have used the very same pattern as the Matt Smith frock coat, keep ing the lines nice and clean, but with a couple of twists here and there.

The Matt Smith coat has an unusual arrangement of buttonholes: there are three either side at the front, as if to button the coat up - but with no buttons opposite to match up.

In fact, the arrangement of three on BOTH sides would suggest a double-breasting, but the coat is simply not cut for that. So I have added buttons, in a double-breasted style.

Matt’s coat also has an array of lapel buttonholes - three on either side too.

This arrangement apes the season 16 coat first worn by Tom Baker in the Power Of Kroll, and by adding the buttons it is a further nod to that coat too.

The Matt Smith coat has a corduroy collar in a deep purple. For this coat I used the very same chocolate brown velvet I used to make my Tom Baker coat.

As we have included buttons on the front, it goes to follow that buttons are added to the back too.

Finally, the I have made the cuffs with five buttons.

I noticed that each coat Matt wore had one more than before - the Donegal has two; the Shetland has three; the cashmere has four - so I have made this the next in line with five.

But the big secret about the coat is the lining. For this I have used something very special and unique.

It is a blue colourway of the stunning red-flame lining used in the Ultimate Sixth Doctor Frock Coat.

This is the first time I have used this cloth, so it makes the finishing something a little eye catching.

I hope the client likes it!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Custom Frock Coats - fabric selection

Once in a while, amongst all the tweed jackets, Crombie coats and knitted waistcoats, I get the occasional commission that piques my interest and gives me the chance to be a bit more creative than usual.

I have already made one or two frock coats to patterns I use, but using cloth at the choice of the client, and these have inspired my latest commissions.

Since series 7b, the stylish lines of a simple frock coat have become very popular. Barely a month goes by without me getting one or two requests for a cashmere coat. If it wasn't for the lack of available fabric I'd be making it more often!

But this month had not one, but two serious enquires for Matt Smith style frock coat, each in starkly different tweed fabrics. By contrast, one client is in the UK, the other in the US.

Both were attacked by those simple lines, lack of outer pockets, and the fitted drape of a more thoughtfully cut garment.

My UK-based client wants his in a dark brown tweed - something with some texture and visual movement to it.

He has left it totally up to me to source the cloth so I sent him a choice of swatches from W Bills and a number of quality cloth houses in London's Soho.
He's gave me a brief for the lining, which I have already found a perfect match for - a jacquard weave in a silver paisley design but to make the coat a little bit special I also included some of the custom woven linings I have in stock.

Ultimately it was one of these he went for - I’ll keep it a surprise as to which.

My US-based client on the other hand has seen a very specific Shetland tweed from W Bills, and wants me to use that.

Before you jump to conclusions, it is not the Shetland tweed used to make Matt Smith’s jacket, but a dark steely-blue with a bold brown grid pattern.
W Bills
Shetland Tweeds

Sourcing the tweed from W Bills was easy for me, as I have contacts within the company. This way I was able to reserve the remaining 3.5 metres (just enough to make the frock coat) while I sent a swatch the US for approval.

For his lining he found a fabric in the US which he sent over to me to use. Unfortunately this proved to be unstable for lining the coat, so I sourced a very nice quality blue twill fabric.

Getting the cloth for the other coat was a little more tricky as the choice ended up being from one of the Soho fabric shops, which tend to only get one-off bolts which once gone cannot be restocked. With this in mind I was instructed to buy additional material to cover either a second coat or a pair of trousers and a waistcoat.
Luckily there was enough to cover everything my client wants, so that was a relief.

Once I had all the fabric I needed,  I turned attention to cutting and making-up.

Check back very soon to see how these two coats turned out.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Original 11th Doctor items on eBay -
September 2015

This unusual item turned up on eBay this month, being auction for charity.

Matt Smith TARDIS sign
This is a very rare item, a genuine TARDIS door sign, used during the filming of Series 5 of Doctor Who, the first to feature Matt Smith as the Doctor. The sign, having been used for filming was damaged en route to a filming location and was then replaced. The damage is apparent. One corner has broken off altogether (although is present and has been reattached by plastic film applied to the rear of the sign). Some of the letters have also come adrift and are missing.

The photographs show the worst of the damage.
The discarded sign was rescued by Tristan Peatfield, who worked as Stand-by Art Director and then Production Designer on that series (between the departure of Ed Thomas and the arrival of Michael Pickwoad).

I am selling it on Tristan's behalf, in aid of the charity that he and his partner Kim established in the name of their daughter Isabella, who was the youngest British victim of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster.

The Isabella Peatfield fund raises money to support children's projects in Sri Lanka, where Isabella died. http://www.isabellapeatfield.com/

Questions and answers about this item
Q: I would like to know if there will be a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) or some other documentation illustrating the authenticity and history of the "DOCTOR WHO GENUINE ON-SCREEN USED TARDIS SIGN SERIES 5 (MATT SMITH) included with the item? Thank you. 
A: I can arrange for this if needed.

Q: Hello, I was curious, do you know what episodes, specifically, this sign was seen in or could have been seen in? I understand it was Series 5, Matt Smith's first season, and with the range of assistants you listed it could have been anything before the Christmas special, but I was wondering if you could help me narrow that down. If not, that is perfectly fine. It's a wonderful item either way, but I was considering bidding on it as a gift for someone and it would be better if I could at least give an episode, a range of episodes, or say "this is the sign from most of Series 5" if that is indeed the case. Thank you. 
A: Hi, I have asked Tristan this very question, but I'm afraid he just doesn't remember. It will have been earlier rather than later in Series 5, I believe.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Prop Store London auction -
23rd September 2015

So, after a number of lack-lustre auctions, it finally looks like Bonhams has a genuine challenger to their Entertainment Memorabilia sales.

PropStore.com have been selling high-end props and costumes for sometime now, including the occasional Doctor Who piece.

But this month they are holding a live auction at the BFI IMAX cinema in Waterloo - for all intents and purposes a Bonhams style auction.

there‘s some amazing stuff on offer, from Mr Spock’s costume from classic Star Trek, to costumes from Back To The Future, the Alien and Star Wars films.

And unlike the last couple of years of Bonhams auctions, there are is a good spread of quality items on offer to attract the interest of the dedicated Doctor Who fans out there.

As usual I have separated the items by Doctor era, and you can see the rest of the items here:

Here are just the lots relating to
the Eleventh Doctor

Lot 102
The Doctor's (Matt Smith) "The Wedding of River Song" Soothsayer Costume
A soothsayer costume worn by The Doctor (Matt Smith) in the sci-fi television series Doctor Who. This style of costume is seen in the final episode of the sixth season titled “The Wedding of River Song” as The Doctor discusses the condition of time with Emperor Winston Churchill (Ian McNiece).
The costume consists of an olive green tunic and cream shawl. The tunic is made from coarse fabric with two dark blue strips of material running down the front and back. The shawl is made from heavy cream fabric with an olive green strip of material running along the hem. The costume displays light signs of wear. It remains overall in very good condition. Dimensions: Tunic measures 82 cm (32”) across chest

Estimate £600-800
Sold for £800

Lot 106
Rory Williams' (Arthur Darvill) "The Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang" Centurion Costume
Rory Williams' (Arthur Darvill) centurion costume from the BBC sci-fi television series Doctor Who. This costume was used by the Auton version of Rory in the fifth season episodes “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang.”

The costume components include a brass-coloured breastplate, a leather tunic, a red wool cape and undershirt, a leather skirt and belt, grey wool socks and leather boots. The sandal-like boots feature leather laces and lace up just past the ankle. The breastplate has an Angels The Costumier label and is marked “Rory” internally in black marker. Displaying wear from use, it remains in very good condition.

Dimensions: boots marked size 9

Estimate £400-600
Sold for £1,600

Lot 110
Rory Williams' (Arthur Darvill) “The Big Bang” Wedding Top Hat
A top hat worn by Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) from the BBC sci-fi television series Doctor Who. This hat was seen in promotional stills for the season five episode “The Big Bang” in which Williams marries fellow companion of The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). Made from grey felt material, the hat features a grey ribbed silk band around the centre and brim.

The interior is padded and has been lined with cream satin with a brown leather sweatband. A Lock & Co. Hatters emblem is printed in the lining along with an Angels the Costumiers label. The hat displays minimal wear and remains in very good overall condition. Dimensions: 31.5 cm x 26 cm x 15 cm (11 ½” x 10 ¼” x 6”)

Estimate £100-200
Sold for £200

Lot 111
The Doctor's (Matt Smith) “The Big Bang” Wedding Top Hat
A top hat worn by The Doctor (Matt Smith) from the BBC sci-fi television series Doctor Who. This was seen in the season five episode “The Big Bang” as The Doctor attended the wedding of companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).

The hat is made from black synthetic horsehair with a ribbed black band around the exterior. The interior displays a white satin lining with a black leather sweatband. The lining of the hat displays a number of light marks and is coming away slightly from the inside. The piece remains overall in good condition. Dimensions: 35 cm x 26.5 cm x 15 cm (13 ½” x 10 ½” x 6”)

Estimate £400-600
Sold for £900

You can see my photos from when I
visited the auction preview here

Friday, 7 August 2015

Fabric Friday - Hide shirt

It’s Friday - so I’m back with another round of Fabric Friday.

I had forgotten I had this fabric when I was doing the original run of Fabric Fridays, so it got overlooked.

It’s about time I put things right and added to the collection.

Series 7b saw Matt Smith ’s wardrobe flourish from the relatively restrictive roster of a couple of tweed jackets, shirts and bow ties as worn at his series five debut to a plethora of shirts, bow ties and waistcoats.

Now he seemed to be wearing a new bow tie or shirt for every adventure, rarely wearing the same garment more than once.

One of the shirts that made a solo appearance was for the episode Hide.

This was the first adventure to be filmed that had Clara as the Doctor’s companion, and was the first time he wore his brand new cashmere frock coat.

The first shirt worn with it was hand-made using cloth sourced from a well known London fabric store.

The cut of the shirt was very similar to the series six shirts, with a tabbed collar.

The fabric came from McCulloch & Wallis in Dearing Street, which runs south off Oxford Street near the John Lewis department store.

Earlier this year they relocated to Poland Street on the north side of Soho, much closer to all the other fabric stores from where a lot of the cloth for Doctor Who is sourced.

It is a lightweight and very soft cotton fabric, with the design woven as opposed to printed.

Rewoven Donegal tweed - side-by-side

Last week on Fabric Friday I showed you the recently rewoven Donegal Tweed now on offer from Harrisons (the company who bought out W Bills).

I showed had although it was not totally perfect, I think it passed the distance test.

I mentioned that I was working on making a tweed jacket out of this new cloth, and would show you the results alongside my own jacket made from the screen-used fabric.

Well, true to my word here are some shots to show the two side-by-side.

The first thing I should mention is my jacket (on the left) is a chest 42, and the new jacket (on the right) is only a chest 35! So this is a like-for-like on the fabric only - the cut of the jackets will look a little different compared to each other.

The next Donegal I have to make will be a chest 44 - so from one end of the scale to the other.

Overall I think the reweave compares well, with the visual read of the fabric very close to the original.
The new fabric has a warmer shade to it, compared to the screen-used cloth, which is greener.

Getting closer, its only now the red flecks start to show up, but they are not to frequent for it to notice too dominantly.

You can’t get around that they are there, but frankly compared to a lot of other cloths I have sourced, this is by far the least intrusive available.

It’s nice to be making this jacket again, as I haven’t made one for several years.
The cut is a classic lounge jacket shape, and the cloth is a joy to work with.

I hope to be making more in the future.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Fabric Friday - Donegal tweed: REWEAVE!

This week I’m bringing back Fabric Friday!

First up is the reweaving of an old favourite.

Matt Smith’s main tweed jacket for his first season was made from a hand-woven Donegal fabric sourced at W Bills.

At the time there were two bolts of the cloth available, and both of these were used to make a number of jackets for use throughout series five.

The tweed had been woven sometime in 2007, so by the time it was used it was already a few years old.

Only 36 inches wide, the fabric quickly sold out once its notoriety as being a Doctor Who cloth became known, alongside the Shetland tweed which was used for A Christmas Carol onwards.

Unlike the Shetland tweed, which has since been rewoven no less than three times, the Donegal proved to be more troublesome.

Woven from only two colours of yarn (unlike the six used on the Shetland) finding a match for both was not as easy as it sounds. If one yarn is off, then half the design isn’t right.

When I returned to W Bills to discuss the restocking of the Donegal, I was shown some samples the weavers had produced using the available yarns. None were remotely acceptable, either being too light or too dark or simply combining to produce the wrong colour.

Ultimately W Bills gave up the quest to restock, so it fell by the wayside and has remained unavailable since.

However, once Harrisons took over W Bills, they were much more proactive at maintaining stocks of popular fabrics, and took on board the interest in the Shetland tweed, which has since been rewoven. This comes under the WEAVE 3 that I covered on a previous Fabric Friday.

I took the opportunity to talk to them about the Cashmere for Matt’s frock coat, which they researched but were unable to come up with a satisfactory result.

I also gave them a swatch of the original Donegal, and using that they have now produced a rewoven fabric, abet a close but not perfect match.
These images are directly scanned from fabric. They have then been colour-matched back to the material to give the best visual representation of the fabric.
First impressions is that the fabric is the best I have seen to date - and it is first impressions that count.

I have seen others which are close, but either use yarns that are far too thin or too thick or have an excessive number of nepps (the lumps on the yarn that give it character) in contrasting colours such as red, blue or green.

That said, this new cloth does have a few coloured nepps, but nowhere near as many as I have seen on alternative cloths.

The two yarns used are a very good match to the light coffee and dark chocolate colours in the original, though they are a little on the thick side.

I think the cloth passes the test for its overall appearance and feel, though at extreme close-up it maybe falls down a bit.

All this taken into account, I have investing in a length to see how it turns out as a jacket.

It’s nice to have the fabric available again after so many years of being out of stock.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Paul Smith shirts on eBay

Just to show they are still around if you look hard, a couple of Paul Smith series five shirts popped up on eBay recently.

After an initial listing at £145, they are both resisted with a BuyItNow of £125.

Burgundy Paul Smith PS Shirt
Size L (CHEST 42")

Item Description
Men’s Designer Scroll Stripes Shirt as Sported by Matt Smith in Dr Who
Item Brand
Paul Smith
Item Size
Label States: Large
21" from Armpit to Armpit, giving Chest Measurement of 42”
Slim Fit (Fitted Darts Sewn into Back)
34" Sleeve (Measured from Seam/Centre of Collar Base to End of Cuff)

Blue Paul Smith PS Shirt
Size L (CHEST 42")

Item Description
Men’s Designer Scroll Stripes Shirt as Sported by Matt Smith in Dr Who
Item Brand
Paul Smith
Item Size
Label States: Large
21" from Armpit to Armpit, giving Chest Measurement of 42”
Slim Fit (Fitted Darts Sewn into Back)
34" Sleeve (Measured from Seam/Centre of Collar Base to End of Cuff)

Plus, someone managed to pick up this XXL blue shirt for a snip!

Paul Smith Doctor Who Shirt

A rare original Paul Smith shirt in blue. Size is Xxl, but is slim fit so it fits a 44/46" chest fine.