Thursday 25 February 2010

Bonhams costume sale - the viewing

Well this week was the latest Doctor Who sale at Bonhams, and on Sunday I went along to the viewing. The write-up below features the Fifth Doctor items, and I have written about the other Doctor eras under the appropriate blog.
I had arranged to meet a couple of friends, who had been to visit me a few weeks back so I could pattern trace their screen-used Colin Baker Costume. They were at the auction with the serious intention of bidding on some items. I won’t divulge what, as that would be telling, but suffice to say it does not clash with anything I have my own eye on! Phew!

As well as a lot of New Series stuff, there was a good showing of Davison era items too.

The ground floor room was given over to the monsters of Doctor Who and on show was a Sea Devil from Warriors Of The Deep (see below, left); two Tractators from Frontios (see below, centre); and the Garm from Terminus (see below, right).

The glass cabinets also held a number of Davison era items, including a bust of Mawdryn from Mawdryn Undead (see below, left); a Vanir helmet from Terminus (see below, left); the Ergon’s head from Arc Of Infinity (see below, right).

For me though, the prize of the Davison era items in the cabinets was Sharaz Jek’s headmask from The Caves Of Androzani (see right).

The assistants to Davison’s Doctor were also represented with Nyssa’s costume, as seen from Castrovalva (see below, left); Adric’s tunic (see below, centre); and Turlough’s school uniform (see below, right).

Also in the monster room were the Malus from The Awakening, both the small articulated puppet and the enormous face; the Magma Beast from The Caves Of Androzani; three Plasmatons from Time-Flight, all of which were badly deteriorated; two Terileptril costumes from The Visitation, one of which had been adapted for use in Mindwarp; and an Android from The Visitation, which had been very badly damaged by a notorious fire at the Longleat exhibition.

After all the headline grabbing of the New Series stuff, such as Kylie’s dress, I am wondering what interest there will be for the old stuff. I’m sure there will be die-hard fans there to bid no matter what.

We shall see . . .

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Five Coat - collar and lapels

So far I have made the body of the coat; set the inside pockets; lined the upper body area and sleeves; and made the dog-leg back split.

Time now to do the collar and lapels.

The upper collar is made from two pieces: the visible collar and a neckline part, which is below the roll-line (see below, left). You will notice that they both curve, but in opposite directions to each other. When they are sewn together (see below, centre) the two curves pull against each other, creating a natural roll to the collar (see below, right).

I then attach the lapels fronts to the collar at each end (see left), ready for adding to the coat.

The assembly of this style of collar is quite different to how I usually do it on my Tennant Coats. This time the lapels are sewn together and the collar is put in place without its underside. Its edge is then folded and pressed to form the final shape and adjusted until I am happy with it (see below).

I then need to cut the under-collar from melton, a form of thick felt which, because it has no weave to it, does not pull and distort the collar above it (see below, left).

This is the only pattern piece I leave to cut in-situ as it need to be a perfect fit to the upper collar, the line of which I have just been adjusting and refining.
I transcribe the shape of the collar with tracing paper (see below, centre) and once it is cut out, mark it on my melton, flipping it to produce the entire under-collar (see below, right).

Before attaching the under-collar, I pin it in place and check how it is fitting and revise the shape if needed (see left).

Because the edge of the collar and lapels are bound with piping, I can cheat a little at this point and top-stitch the melton in place around the notch and edge of the collar. This then just leaves me to hand-stitch the bottom of the melton at the neck line. I do this with a diagonal zig-zag stitch so there is a little give and take to allow the collar some movement.

I can then crack on with piping the collar and lapels.

I machine stitch as much as I can for time (see below, left) before hand stitching the awkward bits around the notch (see below, right).

Getting nice sharp points to the piping at the corners is a little tricky, but once I found a technique it was pretty simple.
First I sew the edges together at the inside of the corner (see below, left); the pinched corner is then pushed inside out and I loosely zig-zag stitch the diagonal line to the corner point (see below, centre); I then carefully pull the thread and the zig-zag stitch closes up, drawing the piping to a sharp clean corner (see below, right).

This is done for all four points, and before long the lapels and collar are piped and looking quite dashing!

The coat is suddenly starting to look finished and ready to wear, but there is a little way to go yet . . .

Monday 8 February 2010

Five Coat - lining and inside pockets

Now that I’ve completed work on the outside body of the coat, I can now turn my attentions to the inside and the lining.

For the bulk of things this is a fairly straight forward affair, with many of the pattern pieces from the outside doubling up for the lining too (see left). The back panels and under arm area is soon together, leaving me to make and sort out the inside front panels.

The inside front and lapel are the only significant difference from the outside. I traced the front panel incorporating a style line for the lapels and produced the two halves with their overlapping seam allowances.

The lapel is cut from the beige gaberdine and is interfaced with a fusible canvas for stiffness (see right). The rest of the inside fronts are made from lining and include the pockets.
Although I cut the lapels now, they do not get joined at this stage.

Setting these pockets is more like the pockets I am used to doing, being a simple welted design, though on this occasion almost entirely made from lining fabric. As I explained in The Time Lord’s Pockets, working in lining can be daunting as it is a very slippery fabric to use, and I want to keep the pockets clean and soft and where possible free from fusible interface stiffening. I also want to make the welts as narrow and delicate as possible, in keeping with their surroundings. The research I did my deconstructing a Marks & Spencer jacket revealed a very easy way to do the pocket, and I am using this technique again here.

First I mark a tailor’s chalk line on the top-side of the lining piece (see below, left). Then I set about making the welts I am going to set. This method uses a single piece of fabric for both welts. I need to press two exactly parallel lines along the welts, so to get it as accurate as possible I use a steel ruler as a stencil and fold the fabric around it (see below, centre & right).

I am using a piece of calico left over from the test version of the coat as a stiffener for the welt, rather than using an iron-on interface. I have found this give a much better result as it does not stress the lining fabric.

Next I pin the welt over the chalk line, and catch another piece of calico underneath the lining panel at the same time. This will give support around the pocket and help prevent distortion as well as stress at the corners (see below, left).

I can then sew the welts in place, stitching through all these layers at once. The spacing is critical at this point: I need to sew the welts precisely one quarter the side of the parallel fold, otherwise the welts will not meet if I sew then to narrow; or crash into and overlap each other is I sew them too broad (see below, centre).

Just to show things don’t always go to plan, it took me a couple of attempts to get this balance right, but I got there in the end (see above, right).

To put and set the lining, I start by assembling the back; made up of the back panels and the side panels. The first thing to do is unite it at the top of the back vent.
Extra fabric is included in the pattern for the overlap of the vent, and these are clipped at the top so they can cross in front of each other to create the distinctive dog-leg top the the split.

The vertical edges of the lining are sewn to corrosponding edges of the coat tails (see left).

The right-hand side, which laps under the left, first needs to be sewn into the lining at its top.
It can all get very awkward and confusing at this point, as working space is limited, plus I need to work reasonably quickly and carefully so as not to stress the fabric where it has been clipped.

I then pipe the top half of the left-hand side, leaving the uppermost inch loose.
The overlap needs to be pinned very carefully into position. Angled too high and the split overlaps too much; too low and it will gape open. This is best done on my tailor’s dummy so I can see exactly how it will hang and adjust accordingly (see right).
I can then sew the top of the vent through all layers, except the top-most layer of piping.

It’s then a simple (I wish) process of maneuvering the loose end of the piping to form the dog-leg shape at the top. This is then hand-sewn all round into place (see left).

Now that the split is sorted, I can sew the inside fronts, with their welted pockets, to the backs, forming the armhole.

The neckline is then sewn and some secret internal stitching to keep the lapels in check and folding at just the right point.

The last piece of upper body lining is for the sleeves. While researching the coat, I noticed in Castrovalva, when The Doctor puts the cost on for the very first time, it is possible to see the sleeve linings (see right - click to enlarge) which are white. It is quite a common thing in suit tailoring to make the sleeve linings a different colour, and white is a preferred choice.

I sourced some suitable fabric, and repeated my sleeve pattern for the lining and set them accordingly (see left).

That’s a good point to take a little break before tackling the collar and the lapel notch, which can be a little tricky.

Check back soon to see how I get on.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Bonhams costume sale - 24th February 2010

In a few of weeks time there is another costume sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, this time selling off a vast number of items which have featured in the various exhibitions that have been held around the country.

Since I covered the previous auctions at Bonhams on the 16th June 2009 and 16th December 2009, I felt I should do the same for this, but because there are SO many items on offer, I have split them up by Doctor.

Here are just the lots relating to the Fifth Doctor era

Lot 95
Mindwarp, October 1986

An Alien Delegate costume, moulded and painted foam latex head, hands and leg pieces/ feet, with cowl in gold lame, with quilted purple lame edging, and matching embroidered front piece, with gold silk effect robe, on mannequin, height 64 inches (163cm)
Estimate: £550 - 750 
Sold for £1,020
Due to its brief appearance on screen, this costume is actually a modified Terileptil costume from The Visitation, February 1982.

Lot 109
The Caves of Androzani, March 1984

A Queen Bat prop head, of moulded and painted foam latex, length 17½ inches (45cm)
Estimate: £100 - 150 
Sold for £432
The milk of the creature, which inhabits Androzani Minor is used as the only antidote to the fatal illness Spectrox Toxemia.

Lot 110
The Caves of Androzani, March 1984

The Magma Beast, comprising head cowl, bodysuit and back shell, of moulded and painted foam latex and fibreglass, height 80 inches (203cm)
Estimate: £1,200 - 1,600
Sold for £1,560
Lot 111
The Caves of Androzani, March 1984

Sharaz Jek's headpiece, two-piece with elastic fastening, moulded composition, with painted leather covering, single eye, labelled inside 'Steven Gregory, 12 Mundania Road, SE22 ONG', on mannequin head
Estimate: £600 - 800
Sold for £4,800
Lot 112
Frontios, January 1984

A Tractator, in moulded and painted foam latex, fibreglass and faux fur, on display frame, height approximately 68 inches (173cm)
Estimate: £1,200 - 1,800
Sold for £1,320

Lot 113
Frontios, January 1984

A Tractator front costume only, in moulded and painted foam latex, fibreglass and faux fur, with back cut-away to reveal internal wooden framework and electric movement mechanisms, height approximately 74 inches (188cm)
Estimate: £800 - 1,200
Sold for £780
Lot 114
The Awakening, January 1984

The Malus, a large face mask, of moulded and painted fibreglass, with wiring for internal mechanisms, height 67½ x 40inches (171cm x 102cm)
Estimate: £600 - 800
Sold for £3,000
Lot 115
The Awakening, January 1984

The Malus miniature, the small seated full length figure, of foam latex composition construction, with internal wiring for lighting and movement, height 41 inches (104cm)
Estimate: £1,200 - 1,800
Sold for £1,920

Lot 116
Warriors of the Deep, 1984

A Sea Devil Warrior, with foam latex head, hands and feet, fibreglass helmet and breastplate, with leatherette simulated armour, edged with metallic effect plastic, internal metal and wooden framework housing exhibition motor, height 72 inches (183cm)
Estimate: £1,500 - 2,500 
Sold for £2,040
The Sea Devils in the series are amphibious prehistoric creatures, which with their cousins the Silurians, ruled the Earth before Man.

Lot 117
Warriors of the Deep, January 1984

A Sea Devil head, of moulded and painted foam latex, 14 inches (36cm) high
Estimate: £250 - 350
Sold for £660
Lot 118
The Five Doctors, November 1983 and Silver Nemesis, November 1988

A Cyberman costume, silver painted body suit, with moulded and painted fibreglass helmet and chest pieces, tubing to arms and legs, on mannequin,
height 72 inches (183cm)
Estimate: £2,500 - 3,000 
Sold for £4,080
The head, chest-plate and gloves are from The Five Doctors, all other components are from Silver Nemesis.

Lot 119
The Five Doctors, November 1983 and Silver Nemesis, November 1988

A Cyberman costume, silver painted body suit, with tubing to arms and legs, moulded and painted fibreglass helmet and chest piece, on mannequin, height approximately 72 inches (180cm)
Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000 
Sold for £8,400
The gloves are from The Five Doctors, all other components are from Silver Nemesis.

Lot 120
The Five Doctors, November 1983 and Silver Nemesis, November 1988

A Cyberman, comprising; a silver painted one-piece body suit, with moulded and painted fibreglass head and chest piece, tube detail to sleeves, legs, chest and helmet, with matching gloves and feet, the back open to show internal exhibition electric motor, on mannequin, height 73 inches (186cm)
Estimate: £1,800 - 2,500 
Sold for £9,600
The head and chest unit are from The Five Doctors, all other components from Silver Nemesis.

Lot 121
The Five Doctors, November 1983

A Destroyed Cyberman, silver painted body suit, with moulded and painted fibreglass helmet and chest pieces, with matching boots, blast damage to body, revealing inner wiring, tubing and hardened foam, with internal wiring and lighting, height approximately 76 inches (193cm)
Estimate: £1,200 - 1,800
Sold for £4,080

Lot 122
The Five Doctors, November 1983

Flavia's Time Lord gown, the full length pleated gown, with high collar and full length sleeves, of brick red coloured brocade fabric, heavily embroidered in repeating motif with silver coloured thread, heavily pleated throughout, having hook and eye fastenings to back, together with mannequin and corresponding head
Estimate: £350 - 450 
Sold for £720
Flavia during the course of the Episode becomes Acting Lord President of Gallifrey.

Lot 123
Mawdryn Undead, February 1983

Bust of Mawdryn, the painted composition head, displaying headpiece with simulated brain, and blonde wig
Estimate: £250 - 350
Sold for £336
Lot 124
Mawdryn Undead, February 1983

Vislor Turlough (Mark Strickson) - A complete costume, comprising; a dark navy two-piece suit, the single breasted jacket, with manufacturers labelled to inside pocket 'Take 6' and further label inscribed Duplicate, Mark Strickson, together with wing-collared stripe shirt and stripe tie, on mannequin
Estimate: £600 - 800
Sold for £960
Lot 125
Terminus, February 1983

The Garm costume, moulded and painted foam latex, with body armour in silver painted vinyl, with gun belt, mounted and wired for display (right arm missing), height 72 inches (183cm)
Estimate: £800 - 1,200
Sold for £624
Lot 126
Terminus, February 1983

A Vanir helmet,
of moulded and gold coloured painted fibreglass, with hinged frontal section (attachment broken), height 12 inches (30cm)
Estimate: £150 - 250
Sold for £660
Lot 127
Snakedance, January 1983

A Mara banishment mask, moulded and painted fibreglass, with gold painted eyes and red coloured highlights to eyebrows and mouth, height 10 inches (26cm)
Estimate: £350 - 450 
Sold for £660
This episode features an early television appearance by the actor Martin Clunes as Lon. He can be clearly seen during the scene in which these masks are used.

Lot 128
Snakedance, January 1983

A Mara Snake Effigy, moulded and painted fibreglass head, with forked tongue, pink and geometric pattern painted body constructed of fabric covered interlocking ventilation tubes, length approximately 16 feet (488cm)
Estimate: £500 - 800 
Sold for £720
This Snake features during the 'Mara Banishment Ceremony' scene.

Lot 129
Snakedance, January 1983

A Mara Snake Head, moulded and painted foam latex, length 18 inches (46cm)
Estimate: £350 - 450
Sold for £312
Lot 130
Arc of Infinity, January 1983

The Ergon Head, of painted and moulded fibreglass, with internal wiring and lighting, length 40 inches (102cm)
Estimate: £200 - 300
Sold for £1,320

Lot 131
Time-Flight, March 1982

A Plasmaton costume,
two-piece, in moulded and painted foam latex, legs with integral body-suit, height 78½ inches (200cm)
Estimate: £300 - 400 
Sold for £480
The Plastmatons feature in the series as the protoplasmic servants of the Master (in his guise as "Kalid") on prehistoric Earth, facilitating his machinations to exploit the alien Xeraphin.

Lot 132
Time-Flight, March 1982

A Plasmaton costume, two-piece, in moulded and painted foam latex, legs with integral body-suit, height 72 inches (183cm)
Estimate: £300 - 400
Sold for £456
Lot 133
Time-Flight, March 1982

A Plasmaton costume, two-piece, in moulded and painted foam latex, legs with integral body-suit, height 78½ inches (200cm)
Estimate: £300 - 400
Sold for £336
Lot 134
Earthshock, March 1982

A Destroyed Cyberman, with hardened foam exploded acid effect body extrusions, with silver coloured body suit and silver coloured rubber boots
Estimate: £800 - 1,200
Sold for £2,880
Lot 135
Various Episodes, 1980's

Cybermen costumes, comprising; three similar body suits, each being adapted boiler suits, with applied thread and wire detail, two pairs of silver coloured gloves and two boots, one inscribed 'Johnathan David', the other inscribed 'Tern Hill, Safety Boots'
Estimate: £800 - 1,200 
Sold for £2,040
These suits feature in a variety of stories during the 1980's, commencing with Earthshock, March 1982.

Lot 136
Black Orchid, March 1982

Nyssa's Party mask, being constructed of net to back heavily decorated to sequins, the front of moulded plastic similarly decorated with sequins and crepe detail to eyes, with wire "antenna" decorated with net and crepe
Estimate: £350 - 500 
Sold for £840
This mask is worn during the scene featuring the "Roaring Twenties" party at Cranleigh Hall.

Lot 137
The Visitation, February 1982

A Terileptil costume, of moulded and painted fibreglass and foam latex, together with a pair of corresponding arms, length approximately 64 inches (163cm)
Estimate: £350 - 450 
Sold for £840
During the course of the Episode, whilst the Terileptils are on Earth during the year 1666 where they start a chain of events which results in The Great Fire Of London.

Lot 138
The Visitation, February 1982

An Android - severely fire damaged, of moulded and painted fibreglass, with rubber and felt infill, on stand, height 70 inches (178cm)
Estimate: £350 - 450 
Sold for £600
This particular prop was damaged in the Longleat Dr Who Exhibition fire. Although originally the pristine version of the costume featuring in the episode, due to the damage its appearance now resembles the destroyed version.

Lot 139
Kinda, February 1982

A Trickster Mask, moulded and painted face with painted straw and coloured ribbon hair, labelled 'Made By Martin Adams, Name Lee Cornes, Character The Trickster, Production Dr Who', mask length approximately 13 inches (33cm)
Estimate: £400 - 600
Sold for £1,440

Lot 140
Castrovalva, January 1982

Nyssa (Nyssa of Traken) (Sarah Sutton) - A complete costume, comprising; high collared fitted jacket and trousers, of plum coloured velvet, the jacket with applied bronze coloured crepe panels and edging, with hook and eye fastening to neck and frog and toggle style buttons to front and sleeves
Estimate: £1,000 - 1,500
Sold for £3,360
Lot 141
Castrovalva, January 1982

A group of Hunting Items,
comprising; two similar Tribal style masks, moulded and painted fibreglass, with wire mesh grills, and three various wooden spears, decorated with feathers, hair and thread, spear length 51 inches (130cm)
Estimate: £120 - 180 
Sold for £792
These hunting items were worn by the inhabitants of the planet Castrovalva.

You can watch a BBC News report on the auction here:
There is also a selection of pictures from the auction here: