Monthly Archives: May 2016

Find That Prop: Seventh Doctor’s Umbrella and Sweater


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

seventhmainSeventh Doctor At a Glance:

The Seventh Doctor, portrayed by Sylvester McCoy, appeared in the regular series, 1987 to 1989, but held the title until 1996.

The Seventh Doctor had a relatively short, but varied series reign. He started out as a light, whimsical spoon-playing character, good with pratfalls and snappy chatter, but he soon developed into a dark, mysterious and a bit manipulative being, that begin ongoing concerns about the true nature of The Doctor.

He started out with Sixth Doctor companion Mel, who was soon replaced by teen explosives expert, Ace. The Seventh Doctor, had the unfortunate distinction of being the last of the classic era Time Lords, as the BBC cancelled Doctor Who in 1989, after a 25-year run. The Seventh Doctor continued to have adventures for around 10 more years, thanks to a series of Doctor Who novels, and he returned to television in 1996 to regenerate in into his Eighth incarnation at the beginning of the made-for-television movie.

Like his personality, the Seventh Doctor’s look was all about the layers, with a white shirt and plaid pants, question-marked patterned sweater vest (jumper), conventional necktie, safari-style jacket, Panama hat with a paisley hatband (that matched his scarf, necktie and pocket handkerchief), fob watch and the recognizable black umbrella with a red question mark handle.

Even though this Doctor, as well as many of his incarnations, seemed on the verge of madness, The Seventh Doctor never found anything wrong with being a little off-center.

“Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way,” he said.

The Prop: Question Mark Umbrella and Sweater

There are two distinctively “Doctor” elements to the Seventh Doctor’s outfit: question mark sweater vest and coordinating umbrella. The umbrella, in particular, was an important item. He used it to hang onto cliff edges, was able to convert it to a seat and, according to one comic book adaptation, had a secret compartment containing Gallifreyan restorative. The Eighth Doctor, however, gave this item away to his companion, Bernice Summerfield, soon after seventhitemsregenerating.

Luckily, both of these items have commercial, officially licensed versions available through sites like BBCShop, Think Geek and Entertainment Earth. The umbrella runs for about $60 to $70, and the umbrella around $35.

For those not wanting to spend the money on these items, cosplayers have used on a plain black umbrella to make the Seventh Doctor’s umbrella prop, and have used everything from wood, to polymer clay or resin for the handle. has a good tutorial.

Knitting and crochet sites like Who Knits have or link to easy patterns (some free) to create your own sweater, plus there is a nice knit-looking Seventh Doctor-inspired cloth pattern from seventhpatternSpoonflower, starting at $17.50 a yard.

Everything else — shirt, coat, tie, trousers and hat — can be put together from everyday clothes item, although the same three outlets of Think Geek, Entertainment Earth, and BBC Shop all carry an officially licensed Seventh Doctor paisley silk scarf for around $52. With all commercial items, they do have a tendency to go out of stock.

Any burgundy or red paisley scarf, or even a plaid scarf, will also work, and can be found on sites like Amazon and through various clothes retailers, for anywhere from $10 to more than $100.

There may have been a long break between the Seventh Doctor’s final series appearance and the next Doctor’s one-time reign, but The Doctor always knew how to bide…and manipulate…his time, as he said in the episode “Dragonfire”:

“Yes, that’s right, you’re going. You’ve been gone for ages. You’re already gone. You’re still here. You’ve just arrived. I haven’t even met you yet,” he said. “It all depends on who you are and how you look at it. Strange business, time.”

— Lisa Kay Tate

Series originally ran July 2015 in Minion Feeding 101.


Find That Prop: Sixth Doctor’s Cat Brooches


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-5.03.58-PMSixth Doctor At a Glance:

The Sixth Doctor, portrayed by Colin Baker, was a high-energy, hot-tempered, egotistical and arrogant, Doctor who took up the mid-1980s (1984 to 1986). The Sixth Doctor was the first to meet the female Time Lord, The Rani, and an amalgam of The Doctor’s darkest traits, the Valeyard. The Sixth Doctor’s regeneration at the end of his life was never seen, but there are rumors as to what happened. Some even said the Seventh Doctor somehow “killed off” his Sixth incarnation, because he was at risk of himself Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-5.04.08-PM-300x245becoming a Valeyard.

This Doctor only had two main companions, Peri Brown, who started her time with the Fifth Doctor, and the red-headed computer programmer Melanie “Mel” Bush, who is the only companion in the Classic era to have “met” The Doctor before he met her.

Even after his television reign, Baker continued to portray the Sixth Doctor on radio and audio dramas, and on special such as the Hugo-nominated and cameo-filled mockumentary “Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” done in celebration of  50th Anniversary Day of the Doctor special, written by Fifth Doctor, Peter Davidson.

Like this Doctor’s personality, his costume was also explosive — only in extreme color. He wore patchwork coat with reds, greens, pink, yellow, blues, plaids and checkered-patterns, the white collared shirt with red question marks on the collar, a trend started at the end of the Fourth Doctor’s reign that carried through to the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor’s incarnations, yellow trousers with black pin stripes, bright colored waistcoat sometimes with shaped buttons and bright colored watch chains,  bright cravat tie, and greenish books with orange spats, and, of course, kitty cat pins on the lapel.  The cat pins were a focal point, as he would rub or touch them for luck before an adventure, and even used one to take a blood sample helping to prove the innocence of a companion. He also often carried a rainbow-hued umbrella.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-5.05.06-PM-273x300This costume itself was enough to make one’s head spin, even through time and space, and Baker himself, who originally wanted a black suit to fit a darker personality, wasn’t too thrilled with the technicolor look. Some critics have even called it things like the “rainbow vomit”  suit, but others celebrate it’s boldness. There have even been a popular series of pins seen on tumblr and Pinterest sites or all the new series Doctors donning the Sixth Doctor’s color scheme.

Some later audio stories and other imaged have featured a more toned-down blue version of the Sixth Doctor’s outfit, probably something Baker would have enjoyed better.

Baker himself has continued to be one of the biggest representatives for the Classic Who era, and is a regular at conventions, and more than willing to joke about himself. He represented The Doctors in a “Race for the Universe” on Top Gear, against a Dalek, Cyberman, Darth Vader, Flash Gordon’s Ming The Merciless and a Klingon.

The Sixth Doctor, however, wasn’t so jovial. He even was often disappointed in his inferior incarnations, as he mentioned soon after his regeneration in the episode, The Twin Dilemma:

“My last incarnation…oh, I was never happy with that one. It had a sort of feckless ‘charm’ which simply wasn’t me.”

The Prop: Those Darn Cat BroochesScreen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-5.05.41-PM-284x300

If the Fourth and Fifth Doctor were any indication, mid-number Doctors loved wearing things on their lapel, and the Sixth Doctor was no exception. According to one Doctor Who cosplay blog, the Sixth Doctor sported at least seven different cat broaches;  a china tortoise shell cat, an arched-back Halloween-style black cat (probably the most recognizable), a little fluffy white cat, a cartoon cat pin, which turned out to be Marie from Disney’s Aristocats, two cats based on Baker’s own real-life pets, Eric and Weeble, and an orange tabby cat. He accumulated several cat pins from fans, all of which he said he wore at least once. This included wearing a different pin each performance when he reprised his role in 1989 for the stage musical Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure.

If you aren’t trying to be to nitpicky, cat pins a brooches are everywhere…just like stray cats. Customize your Sixth Doctor costume with a favorite cat of your choice. A good place to start is the Meow Store, with several styles of pins, including some that might come very close to those worn by the Sixth Doctor. There are also a couple of multi-colored cats that seem to be taking on their own Sixth Doctor style. One Etsy artist even made cute felt versions of the black cat and white cat.

His “Marie” pin was similar to many of the commercial cloisonné Disney pins still available. The exact design, however, might not be, but there may still be some Marie pins out there on eBay or collector sites.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-5.04.57-PMThe Sixth Doctor always wore these pins on his left, pink lapel, but those weren’t his only cat tributes. On the inside of right, yellow, lapel, he added a cat silhouette for every adventure he completed.

I’ve created a printable template based on three of the Sixth’s Doctor’s familiar cats, as well as his silhouette template. Print these out on cardstock, laminate them attach them to a pin back. Add some accents, if you want (little rhinestone eyes for the black cat or sparkle paint for the “china” cat’s eyes.

Despite the craziness of all the items put together that really made the Sixth Doctor’s look over-the-top, some of his accessories are everyday items, easy to find. The rainbow umbrella has been around as long as people have been hitting the beach, and can be found for around $20 at many retail and online stores from Target  to Amazon. There’s even the famous party umbrella hat often less than $5 at some party supply stores.

His scarf ties, primarily his blue or red scarf with white polka dots, is such a basic pattern, it can be found in scarves, cravats and even ribbons. There are also variations of this yellow scarf with stars that would work for cosplay purposes. That coat, however, isn’t one that can just be purchased off the rack. Luckily, there are entire groups dedicated to helping each other get their Sixth Doctor look going, including one Sixth Doctor Cosplay group on Facebook.

Poor Sixth Doctor. He’ll always be the crazy cat lady of The Doctor’s incarnations. However, before criticizing the Sixth Doctor, remember even Baker himself had a different idea of how he might looked. He even said in an interview later on the costume he described for himself was close what they eventually did for the Ninth Doctor. That’s something to think about.


Find That Prop: Fifth Doctor’s Cricket Uniform


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.5thdoctormain

Fifth Doctor At a Glance:

The Fifth Doctor was the Doctor who ushered in the 1980s reigning 1981 to 1984. At age 29, Fifth Doctor portrayer Peter Davidson was the youngest actor to take on the role (before Matt Smith came along years later).

His many companions ranged from E-Space inhabitant Adric, to a flight attendant named Tegan Jovanka., both who begin their companion tenure with the Fourth Doctor. His final companion was American student Peri Brown, who went on to serve as companion to the Sixth Doctor as well.

The Fifth Doctor came in to the world with a difficult regeneration, and had a short problem “finding himself,” as he tried out personality traits from his previous four incarnations. He was also the final incarnation to use the original Sonic Screwdriver design.

Once he settled into his own personality, he later overcame other hardships including the death of young Adric, and witnessing the initial betrayal of another companion, Vislor Turlough. His ultimate downfall came from his and companion Peri’s exposure to a toxic drug, to which only one antidote was available. He sacrificed his life so that she would be saved.

The Doctor’s Fifth incarnation was a sensitive peace lover who jumped between bouts of indecision and great courage. His look was clean, sharp variation of an Edwardian era cricket uniform, with the added accessory of a celery stalk on the left lapel. Although never mentioned with his first four incarnations, the Fifth Doctor claimed to be allergic to certain gasses, and the celery would turn purple whenever they were present. There were several other references to the vegetable’s potential uses, although it never seemed to serve as anything but an accessory.

Today, one of the Fifth Doctor’s claims to fame is his real-life relation to a later incarnation, as Davidson is father-in-law to Tenth Doctor portrayer David Tennant. He even starred in a mini-episode with Tennant in 2007, “Time Crash,” written by Steven Moffat for the BBC One Children in Need Telethon.

Props to Look For: The Cricket Uniform

It really isn’t hard to put together a good cricket outfit; the key is put it all together.5thdoctoritems

The Fifth Doctor’s red and black stripe trimmed white cricket jumper is still available in both men’s and women’s styles, today available for various prices from around £20 (around $32) for a plain uniform style, to more than $200 for a snazzy one. They don’t look much different, so go for the cheaper brands.

Wear this over a plain white collared shirt, and add a red question mark to the collar tips in cloth paint.

The white straw Panama Hat can be found anywhere from Target for $10, to $50 and above at specialty shops like Panama Hat Mall. If you can’t find one with a red hatband, Panama Hat, does have hatbands available for $9.99, or simply use a red ribbon.

His coat is what really sets off the look of The Doctor. AliExpress offers a Fifth Doctor style beige costume coat with red trim for $43.99, although it can be found for less during sale times.

New cricket bats are going to be expensive. According to pictures, the Fifth Doctor carried a Hunt County brand, which will run from move than $100 to more than $500, depending on the style. They are beautiful pieces of equipment, true, but if you aren’t planning on actually using them in game play, hit the pawn shops and second hand stores for a used bat. They will look game-worn and just a cool. Find a Hunt county sticker or logo to give it that extra touch.

Good leather cricket balls, like Kookaburra County Star balls can be nearly $30 for the cheaper ones, but there are cheaper brands available, for around $12.

Now finish it off with a pair of red and white striped trousers and a pair of white sneakers (trainers). If you can’t find the striped pattern you want, Fifth Doctor pants-inspired material can be found on Spoonflower for around $17 a yard (cotton), for those who like to sew.

Make Your Own Everlasting Celery Stalk Boutonnière:

Now, about that celery stalk. Yes, it is simply that. Any cosplayers could pick one up in the produce area, but vegetables were made to be eaten and not worn long term. Here’s a quick way to make one, originally listed in a post for GeekMom, that will last thought the next regeneration:


Find a light green silk flower like a carnation or mum, and separate the layers. Bunch up each layer to look like the leafy part of a celery stalk. Make about three of four of these, and layer these “leaves” together with glue. Take a few strands of 4″ or 5″ green yarn or embroidery floss, and tie a single strand of yarn around them at both ends, as well as in the center, so they resemble the stalk itself. Using a felt tip marker or craft paint, draw a red line along both edges of a white piece of ribbon, and use it to attach the stalk to the flower. Secure with glue if needed.

Wear it with pride, because even the Tenth Doctor recognized the Fifth Doctor’s ability to pull off this look,as he said in Time Crash.

“Not a lot of men can carry off a decorative vegetable.”


Find That Prop: Fourth Doctor’s Hat and Lapel Pins


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

fourth doctor lapel pins

Fourth Doctor At a Glance:

The Fourth Doctor was portrayed by Tom Baker from 1974 to 1981, and is still the longest-lasting incarnation of The Doctor. Baker’s Doctor was fresh out of the Third Doctor’s Earth exile and ready to explore. His personality could be unpredictable and offbeat. He could be playful and fun, brooding and series, and very alien and distant.

For most Whovians, no matter who their “favorite” Doctor of classic or modern era, the Fourth Doctor is THE Doctor. Even people with just a passing interest in the show default to an image of Baker when hearing the wordsScreen-Shot-2015-06-25-at-1.57.25-AM “Doctor Who.”

Long-serving companion, Sarah Jane Smith continued into the Fourth Doctor’s reign, with other notables being and alien warrior Leela, Time Lady Romana and the robot dog K-9.

Even after his more than 170 episodes of his regular seven-year run, Bakerwas seen in later episodes, including the celebrated “Day of The Doctor” 50th anniversary special in 2013, as a mysterious curator.

This was The Doctor for the free-spirited 1970s counter-culture. Show creators have implied his Bohemian look was inspired by Herni de Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous painting of friend and nightclub owner Aristide Bruant. The look included wild curly hair, long frock coats, wide brimmed fedora, waistcoat and cravat, and, of course the overly-long striped scarf said to be knitted for him by Madame Nostradamus, whom he called a “witty little knitter.”

Props to Look For: Hat and Coat Pins

The Fourth Doctor’s Hat was a brown wide-brimmed fedora. Two versions available on Amazon include a Costume Hat for $21, and a men’s suede finish hat from Jacobsan’s Hat Company for $6.77 (retail $15). Thinpinscraftk Geek also has a replica of the hat worn by Baker for $24.99.

Another Fourth Doctor item, that helped make him standout, but was his occasional lapel pins, including a paint palatte pin he wore in the “City of Death” episode co-written by Douglas Adams, and a set of four goose pins, as seen in “The Power of Kroll” episode.

Artisan-made pin replicas are available on sites like Etsy, but many cosplayers prefer to make their own, either with polymer clay or by cutting out clip art or photo images pasting them on cardboard or another surface. If you don’t want to look for a suitable image, we’ve include a printable set Fourth Doctor-inspired pin images to print out on card stock, and glue on a pin back. Like the Third Doctor’s tattoo, these aren’t identical replicas, but will serve as close substitutes. The palette pin was worn on his right lapel, and the four geese pins were worn with three on left lapel, and one larger one on his right.

What? No scarf? 

Not to worry.

The Fourth Doctor’s scarf is, no doubt, the most popular, recognizable, and re-created costume piece from the Fourth Doctor, or any of The Doctor’s incarnations for that matter. With this is mind, it isn’t hard to find an official commercial or artisan-made scarf, as well as sites with patterns to make your own. Commercial scarves can be purchased from Think Geek for $49.99 for a 12’ scarf, BBC Shop and Amazon for around $84 for an Official 13’ scarf and other retailers.

Recently, I’ve even run  DIYs in the past on ways to make a Fourth Doctor Scarf without having to knit or crochet.jelly babies There is a link to a scarf pattern on these posts, for those looking to knit their own.

If you want to get the look completely right, there are many sources who have turned becoming The Fourth Doctor into an art form. There is a Fourth Doctor Costume blogspot from one cosplayer who, although doesn’t share his patterns with anyone, does give a good look a beautiful, well-made costume. BBC America’s Anglophenia also has a list of what is needed to dress like the Fourth Doctor from waistcoat to boots.

Oh, and don’t forget to carry a nice bag of jelly babies (available at sites English Tea Store for less than $5 a bag), like to in your pocket to hand out to everyone you meet.

The Fourth Doctor knew the importance of being childish when the time served:

“There’s no point in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes,” he said.

Find That Prop: The Third Doctor’s Cloak and Smoking Jacket


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-17-at-3.41.33-PMThird Doctor At a Glance:

The Third Doctor, portrayed by Jon Pertwee, appeared 1970 to 1974, and was a true outlaw. Having been exiled to Earth by the Time Lords, he worked as a scientific adviser for UNIT, a group he met in his second incarnation.

Most of this Doctor’s reign was spent on circa 1970s Earth, something which seemed to frustrate him to no end. He did manage to find some willing companions, however, including UNIT scientist Liz Shaw, and journalist Sarah Jane Smith. This companion, portrayed by Elisabeth Sladen, became the longest-running companion for the Doctor Who series, worked on adventures with the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. She later had her own spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The Third Doctor’s character certainly looked the part of a swinging 1970s Earth man. He was proper, dapper and cunning, with a keen mind for gadgets and could be more of a diplomat than other incarnations. Since he and his TARDIS were Earthbound for much of his tenure, he enjoyed cars, especially his yellow roadster. He also possessed the practical..and pretty awesome…skill of Venusian Aikido, a form of Karate. His look was very tailored…and a bit frilly. He wore velvet smoking jackets, ruffled shirts and Dickensian cloaks, a much more urbane appearance than the first two doctors.

Props to Look For: Vintage Smoking Jacket and Cloak

The Third Doctor’s smoking jackets rivaled anything Hugh Hefner or other swinging males of the 70s might don, Screen-Shot-2015-06-17-at-3.41.51-PMand he had them in different colors. One of the most popular was his red jacket. Smoking jackets, were certainly a “men’s club” type of item, and gentlemen wore them with they were in their smoking lounges to prevent the smell of smoke from getting on their regular clothing. Over the years, they became the fashionable look of affluence and leisure.  There are still several men’s clothiers who sell both vintage and modern jackets. Gentleman’s Emporium has some vintage style velvet jackets for around $129.95 that could pass well for Third Doctor’s look. Vintage jackets can be found all over eBay, as well as at vintage and used clothing stores for much less, some as cheap as $20. However, some designs will run well over $200, and even up to nearly $1,000.

His cloak, was of the Dickensian era (called an Inverness Cloak), which is the layered look often associated with Sherlock Holmes or Jack The Ripper. The custom cloak to the one The Third Doctor wore can be seen on Twin Roses Designs, whose custom designs often run around $300. A similar one is also found on Gentleman’s Emporium (with red lining), for $109.

For the cosplayer on a budget, a plain old black costume cloak can be lined with purple satin, and cut to resemble The Doctor’s. These are available on costume sites for as cheap as $12, depending on the design.

Bonus prop…The Third Doctor’s Tattoo!

Screen-Shot-2015-06-17-at-3.41.23-PM-300x254Although there was a running joke among The Doctor’s other incarnations that the Third Doctor was a bit of a “dandy” in those cross-over Doctor specials (he was even called “Fancy Pants”), actor Jon Pertwee was certainly no metrosexual.  Pertwee served in the Royal Navy, and revealed in and interview two years before his death at age 76, he served as a secret agent during the Second World War. As a former sailor, Pertwee’s tattoo of a serpant can be seen in some episodes of the show, which Whovian lore soon incorporated to be the the mark of an exiled. The tattoo, conveniently enough, would disappear when exile had ended.

A close design can be found on Shutterstock available with basic signup (about $29 for two images). This could be printed out on temporary tattoo paper to complete the cosplay. I’ve also included this simple printable design we drew up, as well, if you don’t feel like spending any money for a clip art image. It isn’t exact, but it’s typical of that type of tattoo design. We recommend using it as a basis to modify to your liking. There are several free similar clip art designs available online, as well.

Don’t worry, even though the Third Doctor may have been tough enough to take over the world, he was still a Time Lord, and said in the episode The Colony in Space, “I want to see the universe, not to rule it.” Thank goodness for that.