The frock coat was by far the most challenging piece of my costume. Not only because of all time I spent on it, but also because it was my first piece of menswear and it required quite a bit of tailoring.
Prior to this project, I didn’t even know what a sleeve head was. And I had no idea what chest padding was, and why it was needed. As I said in my previous post, I ultimately left out the actual padding (with batting) from the waistcoat, but for the frock coat, I used a layer of cotton flannel. If you’re interested in learning more about chest padding in Victorian tailoring, check out this great blog, aptly named Victorian Tailoring. Very useful! And regarding the sleeve head, I drafted my own using this tutorial. Pretty easy. I also used cotton flannel for my sleeve heads.
I used Laughing Moon 109 again for my frock coat, using the double-breasted version, and I cut a size 36. The 5 inches of ease were plenty enough around the chest area, and the waist/hips fit nicely as well. However, once I was done cutting my fabric, I realized I didn’t do any length adjustments at all. Ugh! Too late now! I figured I could cut the excess length at the hem (I effectively chopped off 3 inches) but I was more worried about the placement of the waist seam. I do have a long-ish torso for my height, but I’m still just 5’2″, much shorter than the average man! On the final coat, you can see the waist seam sits lower than where it should have been sitting, i.e. it’s sitting almost at my hip line instead of a couple of inches higher, at my natural waist line. Also, the sleeves are much too long — I didn’t adjust these either. Lesson learned for next time: don’t forget to make length adjustments!
This frock coat was very time-consuming, due to all the little details. The tail, the double-breasted front, the sleeve cuffs, the lining, the contrast fabric on the collar, the hidden pocket in the front, the felt undercollar. There was a lot of hand stitching involved, but I like how everything turned out. This coat is definitely among my most satisfying projects.
My fabric is a mystery stretch woven. The color is olive green, not quite the same as the original, but since this costume was a stash-busting project, this is the closest I could find. The original costume (on the left) didn’t have contrasting lining showing on the collar, however if you have a look at the TV movie frock coat (on the right), there is a contrasting fabric, just not a contrasting color.
I’ve always thought Eight’s costume in The Night of the Doctor to be a washed down, disheveled and damaged-by-centuries-of-Time-War version of his TV movie outfit, but I guess it’s not. But I did like the idea and the look of using a contrasting color and fabric, so I went for it anyway. I used a remnant of a beautiful silk lining in light brown, a perfect match for the color scheme of the costume!
I left out the secret pockets in the tail, mostly because I struggled immensely with the tail and I was worried the pockets would weigh it down and make it look even more off. It was supposed to form a placket on the exterior, like on this picture of the Fifth Doctor costume (but without the contrasting bias):
Somehow, mine was way too short to form anything on the outside. It was just a little stump of barely 1cm. I decided to pull it back on the inside and tack it there, but it still doesn’t look quite right (as shown in the gallery below). I did follow the instructions and carefully marked the folding line… Strange. Something to lookout for when I use this pattern again: what did I do wrong? How can I fix this?
Phew! Now you know everything about my costume🙂
I’m now busy with three different costume projects at the same time, trying to complete every piece before the deadline I set for myself, which is the London Film and Comic Con in July! I’ve been knitting & sewing, learning about hat-making, and playing with vintage patterns. Loads of fun! And I sincerely have to stop myself from adding more projects to my bursting pipeline… SO. MANY. COSTUMES. TO. MAKE. SO. LITTLE. TIME. More on these projects as I complete them!