Monday 19 December 2011

Happy Christmas to all my readers!

Wow - another year has flown past - and what a year it’s been!

Photo by Scott Sebring
It started back in January with a once in a lifetime opportunity when I made the Ultimate Tennant Suit. To have the chance to put into practice the actual way the suit was made was an amazing experience. The timing was perfect, as I had a couple of months before started learning traditional hand-tailoring techniques, which I put to great use in making the suit.
Photo by Scott Sebring
I had to follow the suit, and with three days notice ended up going to Gallifrey One in LA!
There I met up with a number of my online friends and many of my readers who had no idea I was going. I also had the privilege of arranging a group photograph with four of my Tennant Coat clients, which was the highlight of the trip.

By the end of April news broke that THE Series Six Shetland Tweed fabric had been found, as well as the Series Five Donegal.

It was like the Tennant Suit all over again: making an iconic jacket in the exact fabric. I was lucky to find the correct buttons and elbow patches to finish it off.

In August the culmination of many month work came to fruition when I took delivery of  my rewoven Tennant Coat lining. I had been searching for years to find a suitable alternative, but finally took the plunge and commissioned my own recreation of it.

The past few months of the year have been taken up with making a popular new garment in my repertoire - the Green Greatcoat.

I spent a while carefully researching the pattern, fabric and construction until I got it just right.

Then in late November I attended Chicago TARDIS, where I entered the masquerade competition wearing a test version of the Colin Baker Six Frock Coat. I won Best In Show: Workmanship for my tailoring – for which I am very proud.

This was one of three coats I had made, the other two were for the wedding of some close friends which is due to take place just before Christmas.

Looking back it has been an exciting year, with more projects than I could have thought to have taken on.

And as the year comes to a close, an even more exciting development is breaking.

More on that in the New Year, but trust me, it’s gonna be worth the wait . . .

Monday 28 November 2011

Chicago TARDIS -
the fifth Doctor crew have landed!

This last weekend I took a trip to attend Chicago TARDIS, one of the main Doctor Who conventions in the US.

It’s been running for many years and has headlined many high profile guests in its time.

I have written a full in-depth review of my four days in Chicago over on my Eleventh Doctor Costume Blog, but here is a single digest of the whole weekend, which a heavy Fifth Doctor slant.

This evening things unofficially kicked off with a complimentary meal for the reserve ticket holders, attended by the guests that had arrived by that time.

There was a warm round of applause as Peter Davison and Janet Fielding came in, followed by Nicholas Briggs, Andrew Hayden-Smith and others.

They were very cordial and made the point of table-hopping around the room to meet and greet everyone there.

Janet was complaining about her Thanksgiving Dinner, which included sweet potato cooked with marshmallow. Peter on the other hand had a glass of wine, which was agreeing with him . . .

I had a good chat to a number of fellow attendees who had been coming to the event for several years. Peter last came in 2005, and it had been a while since Janet had come over, so I filled them in my my experiences of her style and patter.

Like me, they are looking forward to the weekend’s events.

Sunday 16 October 2011


Over the past months Forbidden Planet have been progressively releasing t-shirts of The Doctor’s iconic costumes.

So far Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Ten have been released.

This month not only sees the First Doctor join the gang, but the first to depict an enemy of The Doctor - the Cybermen!

The t-shirt shows the version seen during their triumphal return in Earthshock after an absence of many years.


Wednesday 28 September 2011

The Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminator gun on eBay!

It’s funny what pops up on eBay form time to time.

Back in 2005 there was a Bonham’s auction which included a handful of Doctor Who items.
Amongst what was on offer was The Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminator gun! it sold for £1,440.

Well, it recently surfaced on eBay, with a Buy it Now for £4,000!

The listing was accompanied by a couple of additional detail pictures, showing how robustly constructed the prop was.
The full description was as follows:

You are bidding for the original screen used prop - The Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminator gun, featured in multiple stories throughout the mid-eighties.

This weapon was used by the Master to shrink people to death. The prop here on offer was used by Anthony Ainley, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant!

The prop is made from durable brass, painted black. It has an activating plunger at the base which, when pushed, will open the four ‘petal’ shapes at the bulb end. Even better, the prop still retains its original wires. When fixed to a battery, the interior light will still glow!

This prop comes with the original purchase letter from Bonham’s Auctioneers in 2005. It is currently being displayed on my collector’s page at (Andrew Knight).

Offers were also invited, and it is unclear if it did find a buyer - but I’m sure it has ended up in good hands somewhere (as opposed to the hands of an intergalactic megalomaniac!)

Monday 1 August 2011

‘Ultimate’ Frock Coat - customer review

Okay, so, how’s it goin’, it’s me again. I suppose this would be part four in my series of customer reviews for that crafty limey Steve Ricks, so, that being the case, I guess it would be best to imagine one of those jump-cut pre-credit recap sequences which encapsulates everything that has gone before, but in this case, more specifically, my frock coat oddessy. Or, you could just click on my last review if you can be bothered, but it’s a long story and I recommend that you don’t. And, in any case, that long story is over now.

If you are familiar with my epic quest for the perfect frock coat, you will know that when last we met, I had apparantly achieved the holy grail, when that clever bugger Steve Ricks had made me my last one. You remember that one, it was brown on the outside, and had the most astonishing array of golds, silvers, paisleys and greens on the inside. It was like the TARDIS of frock coats. And, it seemed that I had finally come to the end of the Star Wars Septology-esque saga. But not quite.

I still had in mind one more coat, just one more, my final ever stab at the one frock coat I would own and wear for the rest of me natural puff. The brown version had been exquisite, without question. But the rich brown shell was a heavy tweed-like fabric (limiting it’s potential usage out here in the colonies), and the ball-seizing lining was so elaborate, that I felt I needed one that could possibly be slightly more conducive to day to day wear, especially here on Tattooine.

And lo, one day on Starship UK, that ingenious threadman Steve Ricks was sitting on his couch, probably saying, “Thank Christ I’m done with that Ian Cummins tool. Do you know, if I never hear from him again, it’ll be too ... (iPhone beeps) Oh, cock.”

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Doctor Who Experience - in 3D!!!

I have got an absolute TREAT for you today!

This week I had the opportunity to revisit the Doctor Who Experience in Olympia, and thought rather than just get some more endless photographs of the displays, I would do something EXTRA special.

I know a lot of my readers are in the US, so are unlikely to get the chance to see the exhibition at first-hand.

So what I’ve got for you is the near next-best thing - a walk through the displays - in 3D!!!! Well, one of those panoramic views you can interact with.

Below are the panoramas relating directly to the Fifth Doctor.
You can see all the panoramas
I took by clicking this link
First up is the line-up of The Doctor’s costumes, giving you a real sense of how they are presented.
The Ten Doctors

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Bonhams auction - 29th June 2011 -
the viewing

This week is the bonhams entertainment sale, so I popped along to the viewing to see the Who-related items for myself.

Overall there aren’t that many Doctor Who lots in the sale, but if you are a fan of the Peter Davison story Ressurrection Of The Daleks you are in for a treat!
The catalogue lists two lots relating to the story, but each hides the number of items included in each.

Lot 116 contains four item: a White boiler suit with a Medical badge on the sleeve (see above, left); a kahki boiler suit with an Operational badge on the sleeve (see above, right) plus it’s green hat (see below, left); a black peaked Dalek trooper hat (see below, centre); and a fibreglass helmet (see below, right);

Lot 117 has even more!

Sunday 5 June 2011

The Making of a Television Series

Last week I spotted what I hoped would be a great book on eBay.

Published in 1982, it was called The Making of a Television Series, and goes behind the scenes on The Visitation.

It promised to cover just about all aspects about the making of the story, so I hoped it would give a decent insight to the costume department as it was in the 1980s.

I was a bit disappointed then to find that although there is a section on the costume design, it is very minimal, concentrating mainly on the creation of the Terileptil costumes.

A photograph on page 49 (see right) shows them working on one of these. Look very closely and you can see the Android’s head, hands and feet on a top shelf!

We then find that the rest of the costumes came from Bermans & Nathans, so very little else was custom made for the story.

Sadly there is nothing about any of the regulars costumes and no costume designs or sketches, which would have been nice.

Anyway, you can download a PDF file of the entire book here:

Friday 3 June 2011

Bonhams auction - 29th June 2011

Being June, it’s time for the next bi-annual Entertainment Memorabilia sale at Bonhams.

As usual there are a scant few Doctor Who items on offer, some more interesting that others.

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 Fifth Doctor era
Lot 116
Dr. Who: costume from 'Resurrection Of The Daleks', 1984
Prison guard/prison ship uniforms, comprising a black fabric/vinyl Dalek trooper's cap; a white medical boiler suit, neck inscribed in ballpoint Robert Goodman, badge to right sleeve, with belt; a helmet, fibreglass/plastic, interior foam padding, mesh front; a khaki boiler suit with maching belt and felt cap, neck inscribed in ballpoint Mike Vinden, Operational badge (and old Bonhams label) to right sleeve

Estimate: £300 - 400
Sold for £1,320

Ex-part lots 49/50, Bonhams, May 1991.

Lot 117
Dr. Who: costume from 'Resurrection Of The Daleks', 1984
Prison guards/prison ship uniforms, comprising: a helmet, fibreglass/plastic with interior foam padding and mesh grill; an orange boiler suit, neck inscribed in ballpoint Kevin O'Brien, right sleeve with Maintenance badge to right sleeve, with belt and felt cap; two similar khaki boiler suits with Operational badge to sleeve, with belts, one inscribed John Adam Baker, the other Sneh Gupta; and a red, yellow, black and grey quilted vinyl jacket, shoulders with metal rings, with black belt

Estimate: £300 - 400
Sold for £1,140

Ex-part lots 49/50, Bonhams, May 1991.

Lot 115
A miniature TARDIS model, created for exhibition purposes, of painted board, with plastic paper-backed windows, and plastic casing to light, having internal electrical workings (plug removed), height 5ft, width 15 inches.

Estimate: £150 - 200
Sold for £900

Saturday 9 April 2011

Five trousers - le review

I recently made a pair of Five Trousers for Jonathan, who organised the City Of Death tour of Paris I went on last year.

He received the trousers this week, and promptly sent me the following review to share with you.

It’s not the first time I buy something from Steven, but it’s the first time I buy anything so big. Last thing I’ve bought was a Mcoy Hat Bandana replica, which was perfect. To be true, I was a little bit anxious, it’s a custom fit trouser and I wasn’t sure if the measurement I took were right. But once it arrived, I wasn’t anxious anymore.

The Trousers arrived in the morning, I wasn’t totally awake, but once I’ve seen FedEx, I knew it was the trousers. I couldn’t wait, I’ve put my signature on the little machine, and take the package. Open it rapidly, and take out the trousers.

I put them on right away, and also a white shirt to see the result. Well they fit perfectly and it’s really comfortable – I’ve rarelly feel that good in a trouser.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Planet Of Fire waistcoat - matching fabrics

Now I’ve done my fully worked test of the waistcoat, I need to find the right fabrics to make it from.

The back and the lining are nice and easy - just various linens and lightweight aged cottons.

It's the fronts that's gonna be the problem.

Before I saw the waistcoat at first-hand, I did find a similar fabric at one of my favouite Soho fabric shops (see left).
This is machine woven, which is not how the real waistcoat is made.

I’ll have to look a bit harder.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Guess WHO’s been to
The Doctor Who Experience?

Only Peter Davison himself! And he had the opportunity to see his original costume, last worn in Time Crash.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Dafter Who

You wait for ages, then two real daft commercial cosplay items come out soon after each other!

This week sees the release of two Forbidden Planet Exclusive T-shirts depicting the costumes of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors.

They are quite witty in their design, making you look as though you are wearing the costumes yourself!

Available in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large, they cost £15.99 each.

I haven’t seen them yet first-hand, but I gather the print quality isn’t all that.

As if that wasn’t enough (please make it stop . . .  ) mid-July will see the release of ‘official’ dressing up costumes for the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, Leela and Tegan!!!

Again these are available through Forbidden Planet, at £39.99 each.

I wouldn’t exceptions too high – not for £40. They look to be not much more than Halloween-style fancy dress costumes and definitely not day-to-day wear!

That said, they are good value for money if you need a quick and cheap costume for an up-coming convention of Who-related event.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Doctor Who Experience -
Fifth Doctor incarnation

This weekend (Sunday 20th February) sees the official opening of the Doctor Who Experience exhibition at London’s Olympia.

Amongst the displays is a definitive collection of costumes worn by The Doctor through his regeneration (see left and right). Some out of necessity are replicas, but many are original and screen-used.

On Thursday I went to the first of the paid previews, following on from a couple of weeks of tester days to iron out teething troubles. While I was there I took a good set of photographs of all the costumes on show.

I have already written a Full Review of the exhibition itself, but here is a more targeted write-up focusing on the items of interest to a Fifth Doctor fan and giving them a more detailed look.

Looking back the Fifth Doctor has been dealt a poor hand, with few items on show.

Although the thrust of the exhibition focuses on the current Doctor, with Matt Smith providing some personal input, there are still a few things here of interest to a fan of the original series.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Planet Of Fire waistcoat -
calico test: finished!

Just before Christmas I spent some time making a calico test for my Planet Of Fire waistcoat replica.

After cutting my Pattern, I showed how I made the Fronts, with their six welted pockets; and then the Back, with its complex pleated arrangement.
Finally, I had to hand-stitch all the jute piping on around the edges, which I did over Christmas, and now at last it is finished!

I’ve taken some side-by-side photos to compare how the test is looking and hanging.

The fronts have come out very well – I’m happy with those. Working with the embroidered curtain fabric wasn’t as bad as I had feared, which was a relief.

The back has come out quite well too, though I need to pay a little more attention tot he straps, which need to be a tad longer and not as wide. Otherwise all good.