Sunday, 11 December 2016

Sixth Doctor - felt cats silhouettes

Any casual viewer of the Sixth Doctor will have picked up on his affection for cats, expressed through the various brooches he wore during his time in the TARDIS.

The cat-loving nature of his Doctor was all Colin’s idea - in fact, a couple of the brooches he wore were portraits of Colin’s own cats!

But unless you’re a die-hard Sixth Doctor fan, you might not know about the deeper, hidden secret about his costume.


On the inside of the yellow lapel, from time to time, you might get a glimpse of a small black silhouette of a cat, and depending which adventure you are watching, their number varies.

But there is a method behind this seeming random act. Like the notches on the nose of a WWII fighter pilot’s aircraft, Colin added a small felt cut-out of a cat for each adventure he had completed.

The list is as follows, and the images above reflect this.

The Twin Dilemma - no cats
Attack Of The Cybermen - one cat
Vengeance On Varos - two cats
Mark Of The Rani - three cats
The Two Doctors - four cats
Timelash - five cats
Revelation Of The Daleks - six cats

After the hiatus between season 22 and 23, the idea was dropped and the cats disappeared.

Of the maximum six cats that appear inside the coat, only three are known to have survived - and they had been removed form the coat so suffered some damage in the process.

A few years back I had access to the coat inside which they are now all sewn, and from this I have been able to lovingly recreate them.

I redrew them in Adobe illustrator, restoring much of their shape to how they would have looked freshly sewn into Colin’s costume (one of the cats had lost its tail, so this has been recreated to match the others).

I then took the artwork to a specialist, who laser cut in felt for me!

He cut as many as he could out of the piece of felt I provided, so I have a number of sets available for sale.

If you would like a set of felt cat silhouettes for your Sixth Doctor coat, one set of three cost GB£25. Two sets of three are GB£40.
FREE global shipping is included in the price!
Email me at tennantcoat@me.com 
and I can send you full details.

Sixth Doctor - ankle armour!

You may have read that I currently offer replicas of the Sixth Doctor’s boots, modelled directly on a pair worn during some of the later episodes.

These have proved quite popular and although they are not cheap, they do add the finishing touches to the perfect Sixth Doctor cosplay.

I’ve also been making the spats to go with the boots, but only by request as I wasn’t 100% happy with the pattern.

I modelled mine directly from a set of screen-worn spats, but to be honest I think the budget had run out by the time the spats were made. They really weren’t cut that well or made to last, unlike much of the rest of the costume.

It’s always a tricky tightrope to walk between being utterly screen accurate and making something that looks and fits well, plus lasts repeated use.

The BBC costume department was always on hand to make running repairs or remake parts of the costume when they wore out, but that’s not something my clients have the luxury of.

So when I was recently asked by two clients for spats,  I decided it was time to revisit the pattern and make a couple of very minor tweaks to sort out the things that were niggling me about the originals.

The main thing I wanted to do was adjust the centre front seam, which on the originals has the tendency to drift off towards one side. It just doesn’t sit nicely down the front of the boot, no matter how you poke it about.

Also, all the edges are overlocked with orange thread, which is a quick, easy and frankly lazy way to hem them. Although it tidies up the raw cut edges, it’s not very attractive to look at.

Finally the spats have a short length of black elastic to secure them under the heal. This is attached to the front part of the spats, which means you have to poke the toe of the boot through the hole making them somewhat awkward to put on and this can rough up the overlocked edges causing snags, so they can become tatty very quickly.

You can also see that the originals have faux buttonholes and buttons on the sides, under which was a strip of white velcro to make the actual closure.

What I have done is to realign the front seam so it now sits vertically down the front of the boots when worn and add a bit more to the section that goes around the heal.

I have faithfully replicated the faux buttonholes and buttons, along with the strip of velcro, but I have substituted it with a matching orange velcro instead to make it less obtrusive - in fact you have to look closely to see it at all!

I have also relocated the elastic to span the back part of the spats rather than the toe, making it easier to fit.
This seems a very minor point, but only if you try fitting them with the elastic in the old position do you realise what an improvement this is.

The last thing I did was to create a proper hem around all edges which is neatly turned up and topstitched to match the rest of the spats.

I have overlocked my raw edges, but these are now out of sight and the whole thing looks a lot smoother.

Now that I am much more happy with the result, I have made up a number of pairs, which are available for sale.
If you want to get a pair of spats to complete your Sixth Doctor cosplay, they are priced at GB£35 each.
FREE global shipping is included in the price!
Email me at tennantcoat@me.com 
and I can send you full details.