The current challenge for pulling together my Doctor Who costume is making the gloriously colorful frock coat worn by the Sixth Doctor as portrayed by Colin Baker. I've long adored this coat and wished I had one. My wife has agreed to make it and I am helping her with it where I can. She's a semi-professional seamstress and I have maybe sewed a button once. I can cut fabric though.
Let me say up-front I am not trying to be screen-accurate in this coat. I don't have that kind of money or patience. Having said that, I am OCD enough to obsess over little details. Most of the fabrics were available at Jo-Ann's Fabrics near us, including the fabric I chose for the lining -- the Van Gogh Exploding TARDIS! Heretical, I know, but the lining could frankly be anything and as soon as I saw the fabric I knew it would be mine! I think it matches the crazy spirit of the frock coat nicely.
One fabric, the one that looks like upholstery for the back right shoulder panel, we bought from our local bulk fabric store, SAS Fabrics. It isn't an exact match, but this is one of those "in the spirit of" choices I made. It isn't a rainbow of colors like the original. Instead it's a pattern of oranges and browns that are reminiscent of a desertscape. Still beautiful in my opinion.
Three fabrics are unique enough that I wanted to match them and not settle on. I discovered a website called Spoonflower.com where they do custom printing on fabrics. Much like Zazzle or the like where folks upload designs and sell them on T-shirts, Spoonflower users upload repeatable patterns that can be printed onto a variety of fabrics, in short or large runs. They even print wallpaper and gift wrap. In any case, the red plaid tartan, the blue/purple/cyan square tartan, and the yellow-striped fabric were all available on Spoonflower because of other Doctor Who fans that uploaded the designs. All at reasonable prices, comparable to retail outlets. Yes, the rainbow-upholstery weave pattern is also available on Spoonflower and I did consider getting it there, but in the end, I opted for the one above. I felt that the texture was more important than the color reproduction.
Outside of fabric choices, the real challenge is having a pattern to use. There are excellent websites by many fans showing how they made their coat. One in particular deserves major props. Steve Ricks is a bespoke tailor who has written many blogs about the Doctors' outfits he has meticulously constructed. For his efforts making the Sixth Doctor's frock coat, he provides excellent references for placement of the fabrics and color samples to compare to. Truly, if you are considering making or buying one for yourself, please visit his blog.
Now, even with his excellent blog to inspire us, a pattern is very handy thing indeed. After some research online, I found what looked to me like the perfect pattern. A company called Period Impressions makes and sells patterns for many period settings. I haven't been able to find a website where they sell them directly however. I did find an Etsy store that sold the Frock coat pattern I like and which had my size. My wife seems very pleased with it so I have to believe it is exactly what we needed. It will require some alterations of course to make it be closer to Colin Baker's coat. The only major obvious change is that the lapels go all the way down rather than taper back. Other than that and a couple flourishes, it looks to be the same damn coat.