The Art of Darkness

Geeky Interlude: Doctor Who Pinafore Knockoff

July 30th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Doctor Who Pinafore

I suppose that Doctor Who is technically more geek than goth, but the show did give us Weeping Angels and The Silence and also he met Satan one time so it’s gothy enough if you squint a little. Shadaughter happens to be a huge fan, so when I saw Darling Army’s splendid gender-bent 10th Doctor costume I wondered how difficult it would be to DIY something reasonably similar. A few weeks later my local fabric store had a sale on suiting fabric,* so I decided to take a crack at it. If you’d like to try your own version, here are my build notes.

The DA version has a wrap front that is meant to mimic a suit jacket’s lapels. I was concerned that might gap and look sloppy, so I instead opted for a smooth front with a bit of a plunging neckline. The pattern I used was Simplicity 4015, with a couple of changes:

  • I lengthened the skirt by 3″ so I’d have more to work with if Shadaughter opted for a really poofy petticoat.
  • Part of the instructions tell you to sew the lining to the bodice except at the back and bottom, then baste those raw edges together. Later, you sew the skirt and zipper over this basting, leaving you with all kinds of unfinished seams inside. Oh Simplicity, why you so crazy? Instead I sewed the skirt and zipper to just the bodice, then turned the lining edges to the inside along the seam lines and sewed it in place over the big ugly skirt seam and zipper. Presto! Finished seams! (I also flat-felled the seams in the skirt because unfinished edges make me stabby.)
  • I used the belt pattern as a general guideline but cut two pieces instead of one, adding 9″ to each. I sewed these two pieces together at one end, folded that in half, sewed around the long edge (leaving a little gap for turning), then turned it right-side-out and sewed the gap closed (if this doesn’t make any sense, see the illustration below). This left me with a long, wrap-around belt with curved ends, which I stitched to the waist in front.

    Belt Illustration

For a final Easter-egg detail, I hand-embroidered “Bad Wolf” in rough letters on the back of the skirt near the bottom.
Bad Wolf

The petticoat (not shown here) was Simplicity 3847. Since Shadaughter wanted only a little bit of poofiness, I used a softer tulle instead of the netting called for in the instructions. For Extreme Poof, use stiffer netting and/or add more layers.

The trenchcoat was a fairly plain women’s winter coat, Burda 7855; the only changes I made were to shorten it so it matched the dress and to not put in pockets; I just sewed the flaps in place to give the illusion that they’re there. This was ostensibly to make the line of the coat a little smoother but actually because I fricking hate putting in welted pockets. The fabric is a more trenchcoat-like heavy cotton rather than wool; I’m mildly annoyed that the color is a bit too light–the one in the show is more of a tobacco–but I didn’t realize my error until I was halfway through making it and I was insufficiently annoyed to start over. It is, incidentally, lined in the appropriate TARDIS blue.

The shirt was Simplicity 2741; I could have used a purchased shirt but I am somewhat demented where hand-making costumes is concerned. (Also, making it myself let me choose a soft, feminine fabric and pretty floral buttons which I couldn’t get a good photo of; sorry.)

The necktie is a vintage tie, courtesy of my vintage husband. If you want an “authentic” pattern, blogger Steve Ricks has you covered.

Although there are a lot of individual pieces, none of them were particularly difficult; the only bit that was even slightly fiddly was the collar on the coat, and even that was straightforward once I realized what they were getting at. The cost wasn’t rock-bottom because there was a lot of fabric involved, but the total was probably around $65 (plus a lot of my time). This amount could be reduced quite a bit by making only the pinafore and getting everything else from a thrift store (you might have to shorten and re-hem the coat, but that’s easy).

Overall, this was a fun project and I’m reasonably pleased with the results. There’s still plenty of time before Halloween to make one of your very own!


*Fun fact: The Doctor’s suit is blue if the episode takes place in the future and brown if it’s in the past. This also holds true for the 11th Doctor: His bow tie is red if they’ve gone forward in time and blue if they’ve gone back. The more you know!

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