Friday 28 March 2014

Fabric Friday - Harris tweed

Each week I get a number of emails from readers asking for help with patterns or fabrics.

Aside from suggesting a few sources I can’t really help much with patterns.

My assistance with fabrics also has to be a bit limited as I’m getting mine from the original suppliers, which don’t come cheap; or using my own weavers to recreate discontinued lines which takes a lot of investment and time.

So I thought I’d create Fabric Friday, and each week bring you a bit of detail on the materials used to create the Eleventh Doctor’s wardrobe.

Many readers are on budgets, so screen accurate materials can be prohibitive. Their only chance is to find something similar or evocative that can do the job - so long as you don’t look too closely.

The most requested at the moment is the Cashmere used to make Matt’s frock coat.
I’m asked what is it like - or is this or that fabric close enough to use.

Only once you see the fabric in-hand can you realise how unique it is.

So what I’d thought I’d do is share some detailed scans of the fabrics used for Matt’s wardrobe to once and for all give the definitive reference guide, going through from series five to seven.

Worn for the first episodes shot was a vintage Harris tweed jacket.

The jacket dated from around the 1970s and was made from a Mackenzie two-by-two dogtooth fabric.

As you can see, it’s woven from a beige, brown russet and green thread.

Thursday 20 March 2014

My tailor's bookshelf

I’m often asked where I get my patterns from and for tips on how to make garments.
Since tailoring is now my full time profession I’m not at liberty to hand out the patterns I have created and refined.

But what I can show you is my bookshelf of reference material I use when I’m in need of some direction or inspiration.

I use a mixture of modern and antique books.

Many of the vintage books I have contain contemporary instruction on how to draw up frock coats, lounge jacket and waistcoats, all with that distinctive Edwardian twist.

The more modern books give me construction ideas using up to date fabrics and interfaces.

It is a mix of these two that helps me do what I do.
Here’s the full current content of my library.

Thursday 13 March 2014

W Bill - The End Of Time

I can announce some very sad news today.

W Bills, the supplier of tweeds for Matt Smith’s costumes, has been sold and is changing hands. It’s future is currently uncertain.

W Bill has provided cloth for a number of Matt’s costumes, from the series five Donegal tweed; to the series six Shetland Tweed; and finally the gorgeous Cashmere frock coat from series seven.

All of these began their lives as bolts of anonymous cloth on these shelves in W Bills basement showroom a couple of streets from London’s Savile Row.

The longstanding stalwart of their showroom, Ray Hammett - who has worked for the company since 1947, when he joined aged just 17 - has retired, although reluctantly.

From what I gather large amounts of stock are in the process of being transferred to the new owner’s premises in Exeter, leaving a skeleton range of short lengths.

It is unclear if fabrics exclusively woven for W Bills will be repeated or requested by the new owners.

This means the Shetland Tweed used for Matt’s series six jacket could well be discontinued.

If it is picked up by the new owners, there could be a gap in production while they review and replenish stock.

Luckily I found out about this change of hands shortly before it happened and was able to secure the entire remaining stock of Shetland Tweed, just over thirty metres.

This means I can make a few jackets yet, or if anyone wants to buy the fabric by the metre, they can drop me a line and I can give you details.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting a jacket made in the original fabric - NOW is your possible last chance!

All Saints boots on eBay

Just to show the All Saints Layer Boots can still be found on eBay, a pair is currently up for sale.

The seller knows what he has, so the Buy It Now asking price is a full £250!

All Saints Layer Boots
I am selling my second pair of these boots.

Worn by Matt Smith in Doctor Who.
Good condition, see pictures.
Comes with original box.