Costumes and Performances by Tab Kimpton

A Tale of Two Doctors- Part 1, the research.

I still make costumes, I promise! Things have been busy what with house viewings and packing, but I’ve still been making things behind the scenes.



This project is the last commission I took on before closing down ready for moving. But why a Tale of Two Doctors? Well that’s because my dearest chum Christian is a massive Dr Who fan, and has always wanted a 6th Doctor Coat. So while I make a coat for this commissioner, Christian will be making his own coat, using slightly simpler techniques.


Christian and I wearing our Blackadder costumes- Christian’s first ever sewing project!

We’re going to call them the Master and Apprentice coat, with tutorials for both. But first, the most important part of costume making- the research and fabric finding!

Below is a gallery of all of the reference images my commissioner tracked down for me- commissioners take note because this man was truly amazing! Finding good references is a nightmare, especially if you don’t know a series that well, and the more references to work from the better your result. The first half is screenshots of the actual coat, then some fantastic images from the work of


And because I love you all, here’s the breakdown of EVERYWHERE that I used to source the fabrics needed. Some of them came from ebay but that gives you an idea of at least a starting point. Go forth and make my friends.

Yellow cuffs/trousers- Black and white cotton ticking dyed with a full pack of yellow dyson machine dye

Lining and Collar check- bonnie_phantasm  on Spoon flower. I used a cotton silk for the lining and a heavy twill for the check, though a faux suede may have been a better texture choice.

Back panel- I messaged this etsy seller and got them to send me a yard of this from the states. It’s called boucle suiting, good luck searching on that one!

Yellow lapel- After 2 failed attempts at buying this fabric I managed to find a site that sells white wool and after ordering it on the phone like a real business person I then dyed it using the dylon machine dye. This stuff was slightly stretchy though, so be warned!

Piping braid- One failed attempt on ebay I eventually found the exact colour in on a canadian website. I recommend the 063 kelly green in 1″ wide 

Salmon sleeve fabric- a nightmare to find. I managed to get some linen off ebay in a similar colour, but you might be better off with something like this. 

Green wool – Calicolaine

Tartan – Ebay

Burgandy wool- Ebay

Bright pink- John Lewis

Bright red wool- Ebay

Velvet pink lapel- I used cotton velvet from an old set of curtains I bought from a friend, but you can buy it brand new here.

Buttons – Good old ebay

Applique for back split- ebay for felt

From a local fabric shop I bought 4m plain linen, wadding for shoulder pads, black medium iron on interfacing, 1m of soft cotton mull and 1m of wool interlining. 

My techniques for finding fabric are:

  • Go to fabricland/any in person fabric store and buy as much as I can in person
  • Enter the rough colour/type on ebay and see what I can find
  • When I get a better idea of what I want I refine my search on ebay
  • If I can’t find it on ebay I’ll start chucking search terms into google images and see if I can track down independent fabric shops

How do you guys find weird/hard to find fabrics?

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