Sunday, 22 December 2013

A tie at the Eleventh Hour -
finding a tie maker

So far I’ve gone through the process of making a vector-based trace of the Christian Lacroix tie and had it embroidered into suitable dark chocolate brown fabric.

Now I need to make them up into ties.

I have absolutely no experience on making ties, and the thick embroidery isn’t likely to make it easy, so I’m gonna find a proper professional company to do the work.

Through some fabric weaving contacts I’ve been given the details of a company that will fit the bill.
They do massive runs of thousands of ties for major high street names - and on the other end of the scale will hand make ties in short runs with minimum quantity.

I’ve called and spoke to their boss, outlining what I wanted to do, and it is something he would be more than happy to take on.

I’ve arranged to go down to visit their workshop after the new year and personally brief the job over. I’m keen to get a little insight into the tie making process.

Chatting to the boss I quickly realised that the Doctor Who connection was piquing his interest and a number of staff are excited to see what I will be bringing along to show them.
It seemed this will be one job everyone wants to be involved with!

I found out that although the 10,000 run jobs are where they make their money, the little one off commissions are what made their day-to-day production that bit more interesting and enjoyable.

For now the fabric is sitting in my room, and every time it catches my eye it makes me smile.
I can’t wait for thew new year and to see the ties taking shape.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A tie at the Eleventh Hour - the design

After seeing two of the original ties from The Eleventh Hour at the Doctor Who Celebration, I’ve been inspired to have a go at making my own, as close to the real deal as possible.



The ties were copies of the original Christian Lacroix tie worn by the Tenth Doctor.

The blue swirly pattern, which is part of a woven pattern on the original, was recreated by embroidering the design onto brown silk fabric and then making it into a tie.

I’m lucky in that I have an actual Christian Lacroix tie, abet in a alternative colourway. Nevertheless, the design is the same size and weave, so I can use it as gospel to match to.


The first thing I did was to scan the tie in using my desktop scanner.
This had to be done in sections, which I stitched together in Photoshop.


I also needed to scan the reverse of the tie so I could catch the sections of the design that wrap around to the back.

Once this was assembled into a single file I then imported it into Illustrator where I could trace the edges of the design to make a vector based file my embroider could use.

It took a bit of jigging around for the embroider to make it work, but finally she broke if down into manageable sized sections to stitch which once joined together create the full design.

I also needed to provide the embroider with a lay down to show how to place the artwork on the fabric.

I used a section of fabric to plan it out, and cut some paper so they laid diagonally across the width of the material.
I laid my Lacroix tie in place and traced around its shape.


Next I put the tie under the paper and traced the design to show how it fits in place.


I then passed this to the embroider to help her place the design on the diagonal and with enough space around it to cut the finished tie.

We didn’t know how well it would work or how hard it would be to make the fabric up into ties, so we sewed half a dozen to give me some spares in case of problems.


Here’s the finished embroidered fabric ready to be made into ties.
I’m very pleased with the result, and it’s made my Christmas getting it done so well.

Check back and see how things progress.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Doctor’s Double Albert chain

I’ve had a number of emails recently asking about the double Albert fob chain worn in The Snowmen and the subsequent episodes making up the latter half of series seven.

It has two chain loops, with a T-bar in the middle, from which hangs a medallion.



In The Snowmen it is silver; and for the episodes that follow it is a gilt colour.

It didn’t take me too long to track one down - on eBay - and here is the link to the seller I got it from. They seem to hold decent stock as it has been available for almost a year now.

Double Albert Bronze Tone Pocket Watch Fob Chain

The chain comes in a bronze metal, which for me gives a more antiqued look.

There is an option to not have it boxed, saving yourself a little money too.

The medallion is a metal shield - but this is easily changed by your local jeweller who can swap it for a suitable round medallion.


The costume from The Snowmen was on display at the 50th Anniversary Celebration, and it gave me a good chance to get a close-up look at the chain and medallion.

To my surprise it depicts a boxing match!

Does anyone know where this comes from?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mrs Bowties are cool!

There was a time (i.e. series five) when Matt Smith seemed to have a limited wardrobe of bow ties in just burgundy and navy blue.

Series six brought in some new variants and by series seven he sported a different bow tie for each episode!

The more recent ones are unique in their style, so finding anything that remotely matches is near impossible.

A little while ago I highlighted a range from Mrs Bowtie, a UK based seller of handmade ties.

They have just added SIX new ties to their Doctor Who tribute range, each available self or pre-tied.

I have been sent a set to review, and shall give my individual views on them over the next few days, but to kick off, here is a preview of what is on offer.

50th Anniversary

The Aztec Key

Blue & Purple Bark

Burgundy Weave

Copper Burn

Impossible Astronaut

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Time Of The Doctor - costume portraits

The dust has barely settled since the 50th Anniversary special, and the BBC publicity machine is already getting into gear to promote the Christmas special, and Matt Smith’s final outing as The Doctor.


From the look of things, aside from the battered top hat, he’s wearing exactly the same costume as seen in The Snowmen last year.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doctor Who Celebration -
The Eleventh Hour panel

Here is a couple of short videos I shot of the Eleventh Hour Panel, introduced by Matthew Sweet with Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman and Matt Smith.



Doctor Who Celebration - wardrobe trailer

Fans of the costumes on Doctor Who had a treat in store with the extensive exhibition, as well as the Wardrobe Workshop where you could meet members of the costume department.

But one little gem tucked away in a corner of the main hall was an original wardrobe trailer used by the costume department.
This was one of the big green buses you see loitering around when location filming is taking place.

Its plain exterior hid the treasure trove of costuming contained inside, and once you did get inside - there was only space for a dozen people at any one time - there was not restrictions to rifling through the racks and having a good nose at the contents of the hangers.


Just inside the door is a sort of office area, with benches on each side where sewing machines could be set up for use.

On the walls were a variety of continuity photos from the filming. Beyond this area were the costume rails. They roughly went in season order down one side, and back up the other.

Above the rails are tags, which once you looked closely didn’t always relate to what was below.

Amongst all the monster and supporting players costumes, there were some choice items for die hard Doctor fans.

Most of the costumes were pretty standard off the peg clothes used during the Tenth Doctor’s era.

But the Eleventh Doctor items proved to be the real treasure trove.


A total of three Donegal tweed jackets were on show.

One was on a display mannequin at the far end, along side an ironing board.

One the rails was another plain Donegal, plus the heavily distressed, burnt and torn version seen in The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang.



Next to that was a number of Paul Smith shirts in burgundy and blue. One of the burgundy shirts was dirtied down to accompany the distresses Donegal jacket and another was a replica.


Speaking to the costume staff, these were made when original shirts were becoming thin on the ground, although none were used in the end for main shoots, though they may have been seen worn by stunt doubles.


The Tenth Doctor was also there, and you can see what I found over on the Coat Blog.

The final gem was the replica Christian Lacroix ties made for The Eleventh Hour.

These have the blue swirls embroidered on with the reddish patches.



Two were here, one in pristine condition, the other torn and distressed.




It was jaw-dropping to discover the red patches on the tie are just fabric painted on by hand. I’m sure we all thought there were sections of red fabric appliqu├ęd on, but as is often with film and tv work, the simplest solution is often the best.

It was quite inspiring to see the ties first-hand.
I might even have a go at making my own. Hummmm.

Doctor Who Celebration -
Special Effects panel

Here is a couple of short videos I shot of the Special Effects Panel, introduced by Dallas Campbell with Danny Hargreaves.







Saturday, 23 November 2013

Doctor Who Celebration -
costume exhibition

This weekend’s Doctor Who Celebration has been a feast for the eyes for fans.

As well as catering for those who have come to Who through the relaunch series, there has been a good nod to the history of the show with a wide variety of guests and an extensive exhibition of costumes culled from Cardiff’s Doctor Who Experience.

They had a near complete set of Doctor’s costumes on show (missing was the Eighth and War Doctors) arranged in a circle around Bessie.

The Eleventh Doctor costume on show was straight out of the Experience, though it was originally displayed on the creepy waxwork of Matt Smith.


The Eleventh Doctor era was well represented, with several displays of costumes and set pieces.

The centre-piece was from The Snowmen, which included The Doctor’s costume with top hat; Clara’s dress; Dr Simeon’s costume; all standing around the Great Intelligence snow machine.

There were a handful of companion costumes on show, including Amy Pond’s kiss-a-gram outfit from The Eleventh Hour; her costume from The Hungry earth; Rory’s stag-do outfit from Vampires Of Venice; and River Song’s costume from The Pandorica Opens.


There was also some prosthetic displays including a dinosaur from Dinosaurs On A Spaceship; and some background monsters from The Rings Of Akhaten.

Finally there was a nice little mini display of masks and helmets, mainly from series six.

If you want to see the costumes for the other Doctors at the exhibition, click the links below

Third Doctor               Fourth Doctor
Fifth Doctor                  Sixth Doctor
Seventh Doctor            Tenth Doctor

Doctor Who Celebration - photo calls

As with all big modern conventions, there are organised photo opportunities with the stars of the show, plus the uniquenchance to stand on the original TARDIS console room set.

I’ve booked myself into a shot with Matt Smith and a second on the TARDIS set. Each ticket was an extra £15, so not cheap.

My first call was for the TARDIS set, but the queue was SO long it snaked around two other stages where interview sessions were going on!
To be fair the organisers said it was taking longer than they planned, so they were happy for people to come back later when the queue had died down.

This was just as well, as I needed to get to the Matt Smith shoot upstairs.

The queue for this was more manageable and moved quite briskly once Matt arrived.

I did notice that it didn’t seem quite as professional as some of the photo shoots I’ve be too. The photographer had a standard SLR camera, using just a camera-mounted flash. It was being done against a bare white wall.

Once I was done there I went back to the TARDIS queue, which was just as long as before but I decided to stick it out as I was owed the shot.

The set had been built in the far corner of the hall, wrapped in black drapes.

I could see that as people came out from the shoot, they could wait around and pick up their photos almost straight away, which was good.
What wasn’t so good was I saw at least five people having to be taken around again as their shots hadn’t come up to scratch. Hummmm.

As you got closer to the front, the queue snaked around until you could see the exterior doors of the TARDIS, beyond which was the set.


Finally I was invited forward and through the door to find the TARDIS console in front of me, and a small section of the wall behind it with the Police Box doors to one side. That was it. It was not the complete set.

Before you could blink the shot was taken and you were ushered off to collect your photo.

Once I got the print I was very disappointed. The photo was very dark, looked like it was lit from one single light bulb and badly framed.
Frankly the sneaky shot I took above here was better than the official photo!

Collecting the shots with Matt Smith, these weren’t much better.

The harsh flash and wall didn’t work well together; again the print was very dark; and neither shot had Matt and me in the centre.

I’ve scanned the pictures in and done a bit of retouching and reframing to improve them a bit.


As a memento of the day, they don’t impress me.

But at least Matt dressed a bit better than some of his previous photo calls.
He scrubs up well in a nice cashmere frock coat for Doctor Who, but he dresses like a scruff to meet the fans!