So now I’ll tell you about how this coat came into being.
I started with this gorgeous Vogue pattern, undated of course but I think it’s around the early to mid 1960’s – very appropriate considering Doctor Who started in 1962. Look at that space-age scoopy neckline. Far out, man.
I did make a wearable muslin of the dress, but I’ll cover that in another post some other time. It did the job though – I found out that a size 14 from that era had a slightly smaller bust than mine and was apparently 7 feet tall. Does that picture look above-the-knee to you? I had to take about 4 inches off the hem.
Laughably, the previous owner of this pattern had made the coat and had already shortened it at all the appropriate ‘lengthen or shorten here’ lines. Bless them; I went with their adjustments and hoped for the best.
Now, true to my usual obsessive desire to only use recycled materials, I dug this out of the refashionable closet.
It’s one of those Indian-style pantsuits – a dress-length tunic and matching long trousers. The fabric is faux suede in very good condition. I remember buying this at the Laverton Markets in Melbourne about a year ago; my shopping buddy at the time thought I was nuts. I think it cost me $8. The pants are plain blue, and the tunic is crush-dyed.
I have to apologize that I didn’t take many construction photos. I was on a serious deadline and I knew there was a huge amount of work to do on this. I really, really wish I had taken a picture of the pattern pieces laid out on the deconstructed tunic and pants. It was like two-dimensional jenga. Amazingly, I only had to piece together the back sleeve and a tiny corner of the lower back edge. (Oh, and a section of the front self-facing, but that’s on the inside and so doesn’t really count.) Mind you, grainlines became a thing of dreams when I was laying it all out! I’m amazed at how well the finished coat falls considering!
I recycled a doona cover to use as the underlining fabric, and basted all the pieces together. This pattern was a little tricky around the armholes – wait, I’ll show you the pattern pieces. See, the sleeve front and upper bodice is all one unit. So then there’s some scary pointy bits that have to get sewn together under the arms. Whacky fun.
So I was glad to have done the dress as a muslin, as it’s built the same way. Let me just say: BASTING IS YOUR FRIEND.
Well, now the coat was at a certain point in construction. It was time for the decoration to commence.
What I wanted to do was embroider (or otherwise attach) a bunch of Gallifreyan symbols onto the coat. I found a neat little app on Googleplay that allowed me to translate words and phrases into Gallifreyan, but I was left with the burning question: how exactly was I going to do this??
Which is where the Op-Shop Gods bestowed some of their benevolence on me. There’s a big old Salvo’s near work and I whipped in there one lunch break while I was still stewing over the application problem. I knew my embroidery skills were in no way up to this task, so straight embroidery was out. I’d had thoughts about using t-shirt yarn and stitching it on. So I’d found a black cotton jersey skirt with the idea of cutting it into narrow strips….. but then I found this.
Is that…. an entire reel of black satin cord?? for FOUR DOLLARS???
Yes. Yes it is. And now it’s mine. Decision made. The symbols would be ‘couched‘ on.
So I printed out my symbols in the sizes I wanted. Then I used some old carbon paper (filched from the chuck-out pile at work one day – I knew it would come in handy!!) and used my tracing wheel to get the pattern onto the fabric.
Yep, I named a bunch of companions on there.
Yes, there is a little beading going on there as well. Quite a few of the symbols had ‘dots’ and I can’t do a french knot to save my life. I tried. But on another trip to another op shop, I scored a little baggie of tiny glass beads in perfect Tardis blue, and a necklace which yielded slightly larger black beads, and some larger again blue ones as well. All for the low low price of $3, which included a sweet 1980’s ‘Handmade’ magazine.
The other sleeve says ‘Gallifrey Falls No More’. Awwww.
Martha Jones has my back. So does Rose and Mickey, and Jack Harkness. Around the hem we have Susan Foreman, Sarah-Jane Smith, The Brigadier, Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble, Amy and Rory, and Clara Oswald.
And that’s River Song up there over a TimeLord’s second heart.
I’m not going to lie. The couching and embroidery took FOREVER. There was a point at which I really wasn’t sure if I was going to get it done. I had to fly interstate one weekend – to Perth – which is a five-hour flight. I packed needle and thread in my carryon and hoped it was okay to travel. Thankfully it was, and I sewed for the whole flight. Needless to say there were quite a few late nights in the leadup to the big event.
I was sewing on the buttons at lunchtime on show day. Oh! The buttons! Big thanks to my mate Steve at work who burned his fingers making these buttons for me. They were plain gold (well, plastic), but with the help of some tiny printouts of the TARDIS and some heatshrink, they became TARDIS buttons!
The starry print is the lining fabric. I actually bought that new – shock horror, I know, I bought something new? But I didn’t have anything that worked. And the Doctor always wants to show people the stars, so I thought I could just have some with me.
So let’s recap. Blue faux suede pantsuit, thrifted, $8. Doona cover interlining, thrifted, $6. Beads, thrifted, $2. Black cord, thrifted, $4. Buttons, from my stash, originally thrifted, $1. Lining fabric, new, $22. Quilting thread (for embroidery), new, $6. Hours and hours and hours of bespoke handsewing…… priceless!
I would have used this, but there wasn’t enough. So I just used it for the pockets. Thanks, Allison!
But I made it! Hooray! Thanks to Kylie for supporting my geekery and taking some piccies.
Actually there are a few credits I would like to add! Many thanks to:
Kylie, for going with me!
Allison, for the pocket fabric and my Dalek beanie (IN-SU-LATE!!)
Steve at work for the buttons!
Denise at work for giving me lots of kudos, posting me on facebook and giving me a lift to the theatre :-)
Caroline at work for the nail polish assistance!
Salvos Tempe and Marrickville, for providing the exact things I needed, exactly when I needed them. At bargain prices.