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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Things are as things go, sh*t appens as the money flows

So my faithful Ubuntu desktop died, that was annoying.
I've always been a fan of computers that are a bit frustrating because they develop a personality over time and this computer was a classic case in point, to be honest I'm still mourning.

I'm not lost though, I have a third hand laptop which has since been converted to Ubuntu so is easing the pain and logistics of making up for the lost machine.

Christmas has now been and gone and with it funds have increased by £150 then swiftly spent on a Singer Talent, a shirt/waistcoat/frockcoat pattern and 8 metres of uber cheap lining.

Oh and I've failed the first half of my last year of college so I might not make it into university, no matter, I'll resub and succeed.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Curse you Sod's law!

As usual that beast which haunts my life, sod's law, has seen fit to stall our rather promising metaphorical car journey by deeming the gifted sewing machine to be broken and unuseable or at least unfathomable even with my mum's help.Never the less I shall pursevere and struggle on in my cause to have a practical hobby that may act as a fall back profession should I ever lose the buzz of diet coke or regain total boring sanity, either of which could be the death of a writing profession.

I have a sewing machine

Today my DWM arrived and I went into town with my dad on the hunt for frock coats to judge prices by and didn't succeed but I am now the proud owner of a pair of brown leather brogue slipons from clarks and we had lunch, on the drive home dad said he thought my mum had an old sewing machine of her mum's that she might have lying around. I later queried mum and am now the equally proud owner of a Bernina 600 sewing machine but it needs oiling. On the plus side the money I haven't spent on the sewing machine can be ploughed into other essentials such as accessories for buttons and holes and sewing question marks onto the collars of shirts.

This blog is about to hit the nitrous and kick into third gear after a year spluttering away pointlessly in a vain attempt to get going, pity then that my total subscribers so far amounts to 1, me.

Merry christmass me.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Plan for mish mash

This picture shows what I want from my frockcoat/suit jacket. Incidentally the coats featured are 6, 11 and 10.
11 has the basic cut of lapel and pocket arrangement that I like and tweed with elbow patches would be nice and definitely something to consider.
10 has the length I want and cape like flowyness.
6 has an idea I like. I've found that most jackets are rather dull so, I figure that if I have the different parts of the coat made from different colors at just the right shade to work well and not attract too much attention (say brown, green, red, silver) then I can avoid a dull coat without seeming trashy.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas means money and money means a sewing machine, means repaired ties, means potential, means I am heading on another quest. Reading through wikipedia's rather extensive collection of articles pertaining to clothing. 3 contenders for the new overcoat, Ulster, Great and Overfrock. Enter the trench coat, similar to the greatcoat but waterproof, sadly I still prefer the Ulster and Greatcoat with the Overfrock as standby.

Landed on an inverness cape coat as the base for an overcoat in my new look and I'm wearing suits at home now, the heating's buggered, C!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The question mark cane is back and this time it's fashionable.

Okay so it was only ever umbrellas that were cool with question mark handles and only then in certain circles but this is still quite amazing.

First let me explain myself, I was bored and my computer's on the fritz so I decided to leave it safely shut down and come down to my dad's computer for some general pootling about and as the main protagonist in my book carries a red question mark handled cane, I thought I'd look for a cheapo red cane, totally not expecting to find this! The cane in question is apparently an Omhu designed cane with a handle inspired by skateboards, whatever that means, and there's a nice orange one which could almost work as a bright head, though the handle would have to be repainted.

It is so tempting to blow the crimbo money I'll get on this, instead of that sewing machine at last but I have gotten experience with umbrella handles to deter me from such a purchase since A.I'm probably gonna have a few goes at this handle making lark if I get the jig sorted so I'll have some spare B.A decent-ish cane for a handle such as I would make could probably be found cheaply, saving a massive expense (£30-£50 for the cane, £10 for the handle verses £130 for the cane) and C.Handles are fragile, handles can break and it's much easier and cheaper to replace the handle on a home build than on an Omhu, probably.

Now admittedly I am a very lazy and quite busy man (college, b00k to write, friends, numerous online obligations) and I have a tendency to say "This is great! I'll do this!" only to disappear for a time but the thing with making the umbrella handle is that after the jig, the hardest part is heating it and bending it round the jig, simplez!

And I have a cunning plan to allow me to quickly, simply and easily replace any acryclic umbrella handles that get broken once applied to the umbrella, watch this space...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The jig is up

My mate Peter is into wood work and he's said he'll have a go at making an umbrella handle jig for me. This is looking worryingly possible. I only hope there's enough of a delay to avoid the possibility of christmass dinner being delayed by my making umbrella handles.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Getting inch thick acrylick rod

Apparently the trick is to call it plexiglass and it has a fairly reasonable price by the looks of it. I think I shall now begin work on the jig.

I just brought a walking stick umbrella

From here to save money.
Now this may or may not mean anything in the long run but with a sturdy umbrella brought with my own funds I am free to experiment.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Random shoes

I wanted to go for some brown and white spectator shoes like the Seventh Doctor wears but as slip ons because I've never bothered with laces and found a reasonable compromise of price, function and styling:

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Breakdown of whooiness

Breakdown of the whooiness:
In this section I pick the most Doctor Who like pieces of my various paraphernalia and explain how it might be possible to buy or failing that make them.

Hankies – label and if possible use question mark design (lots)
To create these is rather simple provided you have basic sewing equipment and expertise with which to cut and hem them. First you take the pattern available from here and amend it such that it can be easily repeated to form the fabric. This is my amendment:
Once amended simply upload to Spoonflower or some such other fabric printer, order however much fabric you want then cut and hem it.

Waistcoat – if possible have made from question mark fabric or stick to black, actually try for both. I confess that this is the real reason I made the pattern here as there is such a service called Cut-Make-Trim where you can request that someone make an article of clothing with the fabric you give them and I rather like the idea of a 7th Doctor inspired waistcoat, because waistcoats are what I wear though I think I may have to replace the yellow with a dark brown to better reflect my character. Spoonflower can be found at and a CMT order for a waistcoat can be submitted at The total for fabric and CMT would appear to be around $112 with quilting weight fabric. And for those interested in a pullover? Well I could not find anywhere to tailor make a pullover from the fabric as pullovers knitted but I did find this person who knits jumpers to order. Good luck!

Tie – reuse old but gain question mark ties,
I've done the work for you on this one and if you want a 4th Doctor inspired tie:

Hat – Sherlockian

Scarf – long, 4th Doctor esque
For those who are willing to forgo authenticity in favour of an easy life there's and for those who aren't there's always

Cane-Umbrella – black
In my book that I'm writing there are 2 Doctors with similarly handled accessories. There's Seven with the famous black umbrella with red question mark handle and then there's the new boy with a mcguffinous cane. As such I'd rather like to have both cane and umbrella but I'm quintessentially lazy, hence why I'm buying most of my stuff rather than making it and I have found to my chagrin that people will take an umbrella from you then proceed to whack it against stuff with a childish glee. I, myself, made this mistake when I brought myself an umbrella from the pound shop and I know now that an umbrella is quite delicate piece of equipment and is often damaged if you let it touch the ground at all. As a result of this I feel that a combination of cane and umbrella will give me the necessary functionality of an umbrella with the practical strength and robustness of a cane. Such a cane/umbrella combo can be found cheaply at and if you want a handle then I've found this forum thread tackles most of the key issues and it has a handy tip for improving the pullover

Coat – black/brown, long, many pockets, easily washable, be nice if it was waterproof but not essential so look and feel comes first

These are nearly all things inspired by Doctor who but made just that little bit better, I hope you find the information helpful and that perhaps you might be so good as to show off your purchases or creations.

This is what it I now plan on wearing

Out and about
Glasses – brown/black
Hair – keep trimmed reasonably short by trained professionals
Hat – build up collection, flat, trilby, bowler, straw, top, etcetera, adopt as see fit (room for change)
Hankies – label and if possible use question mark design (lots
Waistcoat – if possible have made from question mark fabric or stick to black, actually try for both.
Tie – reuse old but gain question mark ties
Jacket – single breasted, smart, dark brown/green possibly tweed with leather patches
Cuff-links – Doctor Who logo (don't really know what these are)
Shirt – long sleeved white/pale green, possible question mark detailing on collars
Braces – use current but get question marked braces if possible
Trousers – dark green/brown
Socks – current (more, larger)
Shoes – slip-on smart

Winter apparel
Crampons – suitable for attaching to slip-ons
Hat – Sherlockian
Balaclava – fun styling NOT terrorist style
Scarf – long, 4th Doctor esque
Cane-Umbrella – black
Gloves – leather – good fit
Coat – black/brown, long, many pockets, easily washable, be nice if it was waterproof but not essential so look and feel comes first
Over-trousers – Waterproof, warm
Wellies – Good fit brown/black

The actuallity

This is what I ended up with:
Smart brown leather slip-on shoes from BHS
Thin black socks from BHS
Browney green and black suit trousers from BHS
Red and black clip on braces from BHS
White and black long sleeved shirts from BHS
Various ties from charity shops and superstores, favourites are the reds, the 3 very Doctor who like floral ones and the stripes but the shark tie. That first one I wore casually has become something of a good luck charm, ties changed daily.
A proper Burton's vest/waistcoat in black from Burtons naturally enough.
Hankies from many places, usually block colours from white to dark blue, my yellow hand crafted one sits atop my bookshelf unused.
A real silver like quartz analogue fob watch attached to the waistcoat and resting in its left pocket, courtesy of a rich uncle and I can now read analogue
Greeney brown suit jacket from BHS with a perfect fit when pockets are empty (rarely happens) a folded hanky rests in the breast pocket though it often slides out of view
I had a blue flat cap which I had gotten from BHS that I wore often and was quite popular with my fans but it shrunk just enough to be irritating and MrTardisReviews wore/wears a trilby and I saw that they were cropping up more often so I brought a 7 quid silver trilby from Tkmaxx and passed the old one off to a friend as a birthday present, the trilby is a vast improvement.
Sonic screwdriver as used by the Eleventh Doctor, brought for £15 from whoone
Black umbrella with wooden U-bend handle from BHS
Black wool over coat from last year at BHS
Black leather gloves from BHS.

As you can see I've built up quite an image which is so subtly inspired by and evocative of Doctor Who that when I recently went to a halloween party with friends they thought I'd come as Doctor Who.

A slight deviation from what was planned.

This is what I wanted:

7 inspired costume
Dark brown/black jacket/blazer one size too big.
Black/darkly patterned trousers.
White long sleeved shirt worn under a Plain Lazy “Make Tea Not War” or similarly sloganed shirt finished with a red waistcoat with screen accurate paisley hanky or other hanky in the top pocket.

If possible:
Accessories of a question mark handled walking stick, a gold pocket watch on a chain (with innards scooped out and replaced with those of a working digital watch), 4’s scarf or a brown red scarf, a red/black/brown tie, 4’s sonic screwdriver/any sonic screwdriver, 10’s coat.

Wow! It's been a while.

In February I started a diary and in march I started writing a book, failed to get that sewing machine. The book is now nearly finished and I was awfully bored and hyper last night so I decided to plan what I would wear in future and today I researched those possibilities.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stage 1.5: Interim research part b more reviews and some news

Well since I only found one decent book last time I thought another trip to the library was called for but before I tell you about them I think I owe you some news updates. I have just managed to put £30 towards the sewing machine, the convention I'm going to will probably be a red dwarf one so the point of this has been somewhat removed and postponed oh and I have just received confirmation that I will be getting a sofa now onto reviews.

Pebble pets by Steve and Megumi Biddle ISBN-13:978-0-7153-3175-0 ISBN-10:0-7153-3175-2
I got this because of mild curiosity and because I felt like the idea was too hilariously absurd not to blog about.
The basic concept is that with some clay, paper, paint and the right kids of stones you can make a pet, presumably for a poor kid who really wants a pet but is allergic to them. This book is quirky and well rather pointless unless you already want to make one but these projects are all nice and small so someone starting out in crafts looking for an easy project could do worse than turn to this book.

Socks by Chrissie Day ISBN: 978-1-86108-616-7
What can i say really? This tells you how to make various socks and is thus a decent thing to read if you want to make socks or even if you're just starting out and would like a nice small project to start with that allows youto learn on the first sock and perfect on the second. However I can't totally endorse this since the socks I wear aren't in the book but overall 3 out of 5.

How to sew by Dorothy Wood ISBN:1-84215-341-2
Again thii book is pink on the outside and unisex on the inside and covers everything from clothes to curtains, machine and hand sewing techniques. 4 stars I'm buying it.

Classic knits for all the family by Sally Harding ISBN:1-85793-241-2
This knitter's pattern book continues in the theme of a great unisex book dressed in a livery of femininity and is worth buying just for its Man's sleeveless pullover on page 53-55 which would serve as a decent base pattern for 7s pullover though obviously the question marks would have to be added on but overall I give this 4 stars despite the fact that I myself shan't be going down that route.

The complete needlepoint course by Anna Pearson ISBN:0-7126-5057-1
This is a decent book on needlepoint but doesn't offer anything relevant for me or to costume creators save for teaching you how to knit your own designs of embroidered fabric if  you don't want to get one printed. 3stars.and I'm buying it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Stage 1.5: Interim research

Now you may wonder why I'm posting a blog now, especially since I don't yet have a sewing machine and thus can't progress  to stage 2 yet. Well the answer is that I feel like this blog should/could act as some kind of guide to others for how to go from virtually no talent to, well I suppose we'll see but suffice to say my aspirations are rather high.

Now some reviews:
I recently bought the 210 Piece Deluxe Sewing Kit from Amazon uk for £11,99 with free supersaver delivery and am pleased to say that the delivery was speedy and the product is rather decent with lots of different threads of varying colours along with a fair amount of pins, needles, buttons and safety fasteners, along with a cheap measuring tape, sewing scissors and a thread undo-er. Great for beginners.

After that minor expense I was pretty cleaned out and if I was to get a decent sewing machine (A Brother LS2125 is the best and cheapest thing I could find, I dopn't even bother with anything in the 0-50 range) I would have to economise and thus avoid spending necessarily hence the next 3 reviews are of books from A library.

Customise Your Sewing Patterns for a Perfect Fit by Mary Morris & Sally McCann ISBN: 1-57990-324-X
I noticed this book and took it out in a vain hope that it would tell me where to buy pattern paper, it didn't. However that's not to say it's not a good book or very informative but it is cleary aimed at the female market and that, for me at least, is rather off putting and rather pointless since I'm making a waistcoat for myself and not a female friend, but if you are looking for a book on adjusting patterns to fit women then you could do a lot worse than this.

classic CLOTHES a practical guide to dressmaking by René Bergh ISBN: 1-85974-515-6
This would be a perfect reference book if they only covered men's clothing but alas this gem covering everything from choosing clothes through pattern fatting and up to welting pockets is only for girls.

Learn to CROCHET by Sue Whiting ISBN: 1-84330-386-8
I love this book, I only took it out because I thought it might help me understand how to make a doctor who scarf and that it did but boy did it do so much more.
Despite being enclosed in a pink cover with pink font on said cover, the actual contents are the least gender orientated of the lot, I mean perhaps that's down to the simplicity and the fact that it's not about thew wearers body but either way I feel that I could get a pattern off the internet, the necessary yarn and this book and get under way and that is why I shall be buying this book, and why I recommend you do to.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Stage 1: The initial hand hemmed handkerchief using fabric from an old shirt

I was quite surprised by how quickly this first stage was finished, especcially considering the fact that while the idea had been stewing in my mind for some time, I only actually decided I would attempt it on the day I did it. As a result of this rather sudden commitment I found myself having to rearrange my room in order to extract the desk I would need to work on from amongst my hamsters, surprisingly easy now that I'm old hand at sudden and seemingly random left of field decisions.

Now onto the bit you care about, where I pretend I'm telling you how to do what i did but really it's just so you can find errors in my method and correct them.

The shirt

A standard hawk t shirt in yellow,  childrens size L

This is what I would be working with but before that I had to tackle and encountered this problem:

As you can see my paper was too small for a pre-existing handkerchief and so buoyed by enthusiasm and blissful ignorance I decided that a rough diagram representing a square of fabric with a rough note denoting size and seam allowance would be enough,

And so the shirt was laid out on the desk, marked in pencil and cut:

And then came the hemming and although my poor cutting, inexperience and lack of knowledge of more than 1 stitch prevented a neat hem, after one rather frustrating side was completed all those old memorys and new routines were formed to the extent that I honestly feel I could sew a hem on anything, so long as it isn't on show.

As you can see the heming is not the best but I decided to add in a label for good measure anyway.

So there we have it, concept proved and in a couple of months I will be able to get a decent sewing machine so until that time I shall study up on pattern making, cutting patterns and pockets plus see if I can't blag som material to practise on.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The quest

After reading and his spin off blogs I have decided to attempt creating my own seven inspired costume.

The deadline has already been set for around the time of my birthday as I shall be going to a convention but before I attempt any grand plans I shall start with what is simple and available.

I have recently developed a sense of fashion, even if it is still a little vague and hazy but never the less I have recently got two rather nice waistcoats one of which is a black pinstripe with 2 lower flapped pocket, 1 other pocket which has an opening a centimetre above the left flapped pocket but is 4 centimetres silmmer and 1 breast pocket which measures 9 pinstripes wide and is perfect for a handkerchief and is thus the one I wear most often. I do however have one more waistcoat, it is ghastly silver with floral decorations and makes me feel horrible when I wear it and has never been worn in public but it is a good baggy fit with 2 nice pockets (I will post pictures and a detailed analysis of the waistcoats later) and having been inspired by Steve's spoonflower hankies (which would be a perfect present for me. Hint, hint) I have decided that if I could create a pattern for my perfect waistcoat then I could create a spoonflower pattern (is that the term?) for the seventh doctor jumper then create my perfect who waistcoat.

So that's the goal, a waistcoat but that's not all, oh no, not by a long shot.
I have little to no experience of sewing/knitting/textiles/oh what's the term? but that's not gonna stop me. I intend to reach my goal and learn about this strange world that holds my world together i(For once I can speak literally since as a geek and a slob, (What have you never seen a smartly dressed slob interested in tailoring before?) the sofa is my life, without it and the invention of the micro chip I'd be in a lot of pain and rather bored and of course fabric and thread holds that world together in a very literal sense. (Sorry I've inherited the british trait of explaining analogies)) in the same way that I (sort of) fulfilled my last random quest of building a dalek, by jumping straight in and using the internet of course. :-) I have actually done a bit of this before, I once made a scatter cushion in textiles but that was a long time ago and I'm not the man I was then.

This is my plan for progress:

1. One hand hemmed handkerchief made from old shirts, using pattern cribbed from an existing handkerchief and recorded on standard paper.

2. Machine hemmed handkerchief made from old shirts, using pre-existing pattern

3. a cheap tie is bought and dissected to form a pattern which is recorded on proper pattern paper and the handkerchief pattern is transferred to the proper pattern paper

4. A tie and hanky are made up in calico

5. The waistcoat is dissected, researched and committed to pattern

6. A tie and hanky are made up in proper (not final) fabric.

7. The waistcoat pattern is perfected before a calico test is made which then feeds back into the pattern and so on until the waistcoat pattern is perfect

8. A tom baker inspired scarf is started

9. A waistcoat is made up in proper (not final) fabric

10. During which time I may panic and decide to make several proper ties, hankys and waistcoats before touching the final fabric I shall order at this time.

11. Make a hanky, a tie and a waistcoat in the final fabric.

12. I don't know but I rather like jackets.

???. finish tom baker inspired scarf :-)

All very interesting and probably enjoyable but fabric, thread and padding all cost something, not to mention the £30 outlay at the start for a sewing machine.

Help and advice gladly appreciated, I'm off to scrounge some thread and massacre a shirt.


New year, new me

Last year aq mad thought led to a mass reinvention of me but I forgot to vlog it this year though I'm ready, I havea webcame a stills and video camera andca smart phone to ensure I record my year for posterity but what about you my forgotten friend?
Well you need not worry as inspired by a certain tennant coat creator I am soon to start another whirlwind adventure of random geekyness and because my internet is in poor decline I shall be posting these memos of how I'm fairing but that's not all, oh no I have a few surprises in store for you.

Let the random quests of 2010 begin!