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18 May 2011 @ 11:45 pm

Idris Costume breakdown. Because I know a lot of us are interested in creating this costume and it's kind of ridiculously complicated, let's all share notes. My impressions thus far, with quite a lot of pictures and a complete lack of technical terms. Personally, I'm not a perfectionist, so I won't worry about getting all the details right. But I do like to know exactly what I'm not doing. :P

So! Sexy the TARDIS costume, starting from the bottom up.

Boots: tan/light brown lace up mid calf leather boots, at least in the promo pictures.  The episode is so visually dark that I never can see the lacing, in episode it almost looks like she’s wearing Uggs.

Tights: Seem to be white or off-white.

Skirts: Bottom most layer, a yellowish tan petticoat. We catch glimpses of it several times.

Then a couple layers of skirts which are what I would call Cadet Blue, probably in a fine silk, which is rather wrinkled. Each has a stiff ruffled hem several inches wide which is a lighter blue/grey color with bright teal stitching or trim at the edges. These skirts are about mid-shin length in front, almost floor length in back. They do not appear to be ruched up for ease or movement, they appear to actually be made shorter in front. Which means this can't be tied to any historical period, despite Gaiman describing it as a wrecked Victorian party dress. Well, can't be tied to any Earth time period. Just because she looks human doesn't mean the original Idris body was from Earth. ;) Which gives the costume designer a lot more leeway for creatively combining patterns.
ETA: Skirts may have been originally designed as overskirts with a bustle, or designed for a shorter person, with a train. She definitely appears to be wearing a small bustle in some promo pics, but possibly not in the actual episode. Undecided.

The back of the overskirt is deeply pleated for a very full skirt, and may include a middle back section of slightly darker material, or it may just be the angle of the light on the deeply pleated section.


The overskirt is a cobweb lace, net lace, or embroidered chiffon type fabric. It appears to be the same fabric as covers the upper bodice and sleeves, as such it seems the base fabric is very fine, nearly translucent so the color of the fabrics underneath show through. The embroidery is probably pale blue-grey. This skirt is the shortest and has unfinished jagged edges. It is very slightly gathered up at the sides, so that the front and back come to rough curved V shapes, with the middle longer than the sides.

Over that is a tied-on triangular hip scarf in a dark blue. It looks like a suede finish silk, or possibly a very fine nap velvet. The front goes into long braided tassels, which tie it on.

Bodice: The bodice is the lightest color, a taupey blueish grey.

The base is a very busy swirly jacquard or embroidered fabric. The jacquard almost looks like interlocking figure 8’s, which is appropriate as an eternity symbol. It will probably be nigh-on impossible to find anything even remotely similar. The only thing I’ve found thus far that is even reminiscent of it is this silk, which would have to be dyed and would still be only very vaguely similar, if you're across the room and you squint.

The upper bodice and sleeves are covered in the lace/embroidered chiffon fabric, which extends several inches past the base fabric at the wrist. It is torn and frayed in several places. This fabric covers the bodice from the neckline and extends over the upper bust in a wide V pattern, leaving the waist portion just the base swirly fabric. It has a ribbon trim at the lower edge and again midway between bust and neckline. There are two frayed silk bows at the front middle of the upper bust, one on each shoulder, and smaller bows where the under fabric stops midway between wrist and elbow.  The underlayer of the sleeves seems to be a matching color fabric non-patterned fabric in a matte finish. The lace overlay comes to a wide V across the upper back as well.


No visible means of fastening, probably hidden hook and eye closure at the back? Or possibly the costume designer got lazy and used a hidden zipper along one side, the shoes certainly seem to have zippers up the inside.

ETA: Thanks to padawansguide for pointing out one moment when you can see that her bodice does somehow fasten down the middle back, as seen below. Could be a hidden zipper, but I'm going with hook and eye closures.

She also has tattered nearly translucent taupe colored ribbons in her hair, looping around the back of her head with the ends billowing out a bit in  few places.
Her hair... dude, that's easy. That's what my hair looks like first thing in the morning anyhow.

ETA2: Fantastic huge promo pic here, click on it to make it giant. From that we can see a couple more details.

The hip scarf is definitely velvet, and appears to be one of those lovely color-depends-on-the-angle fabrics. Blue-grey-green-brown, aka impossible to match. You can also see a bit more of the waist seaming and see that it doesn't fasten in front because the ribbon trim is unbroken. Nice details on the lace overlay, too.

We can also see what seems to be a short cap oversleeve on her left arm, badly stained.  This doesn't seem to be present on the right, which is torn up the sleeve seam on the back.


Right! What have I missed or got wrong so far?
Mods, may we please have an Idris tag?

padawansguide: dr who - jack season 1padawansguide on May 19th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
If you look at about 25:22 into the show, when the Doctor catches her, you can see the back of the costume and it looks like there is an opening there. It's hard to see though! Apparently my iTunes is lame and it won't allow screenshots. The ones I thought I took were blank. >:-|

Not meant to be taken seriously.: DW -Craig Ferguson quotemaypanic on May 19th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
Oooh, thanks for that, screencapped and added! It's a really nicely done hidden fastening, gotta give props to the costumer who created it for lovely work on the whole thing.
(no subject) - padawansguide on May 19th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Aurora Celesteauroraceleste on May 19th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
I think that, on your second-to-last set of pictures it appears to be a front closure. I'd say center front lacing or hooks with the cover offset to hook on the left hand side seam immediately left of the center seam. It looks like a flash of silver hooks in that leaning over picture.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'm now pretty sure it fastens up the back. There's an added picture now, a moment when you can definitely see an opening in the back, and in the front there's definitely no break in the trim ribbon. I do wonder if there might be a hint of metallic thread running through the bodice material.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Woo, jackpot! That last one, when made huge, is fabulous. Definitely going to be grabbing bits of that to add to the post, thanks!
(no subject) - padawansguide on May 19th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
delledelle on May 19th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
thank you for this!

it also looks like the skirt is bustled:
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out! Definitely looks like there's some kind of bustling or padding going on, in that picture. Hard to tell exactly if there's an underbustle, an overbustle, or just the combined effect of at least three heavily gathered skirts and really thick heavy pleats in the back.
delledelle on May 19th, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
oh, that's an exciting catch (now to find it locally because I refuse to buy from China) thank you!
(no subject) - maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - padawansguide on May 19th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
xenelle on May 19th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC)
Patterns I've been thinking of using are:
Truly Victorian, 1879 Petticoat with Detachable Train, 1870's Ballgown Bodice (adding longer sleeves), and just making an over skirt with the Petticoat pattern.

Thanks for doing the breakdown, I've been having such an issue trying to work out the colours.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
This skirt? Looks perfect! I can't seem to find an 1870's ballgown bodice on her site though, search fail.

The colors are pretty tricky, given the low light and the fact that they're probably shot silk, different at different angles.
(no subject) - xenelle on May 19th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the silver lady: Mod Post DW by maypanic -- don't takeacciochocolate on May 19th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
Normally, I would say to just go with the guest star tag, but this may be one of those iconic costumes, so the idris tag request has been granted. :) I've already applied it to the post.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you kindly!
Belle: coffeebelle_pullman on May 19th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)
I think I recognise the skirt and bodice trim fabrics - it's a shot silk taffetta. The bodice one is peach/teal, the main skirt - umm, obviously there's a bright turquoise in there and probably a brown or red? and the ruffle at the bottom of the skirt is a royal blue/pink I think? I could lead you to the rack in A1 fabrics ;P Next time I go fabric shopping I'll get samples.

If this costume was made for the show, then the fabrics should be easily located in London :P Any other londoners considering making this need to take these FAB Ref pics up to Goldhawk Road and ask around the fabric shops there.

The trouble is, given the script called for a broken down Victorian party dress, chances are that it is from the wardrobe, in which case it could be 30, 40 years old, and matching fabrics will be near impossible. That swirly bodice fabric should be the main tell, as if it can be sourced then the dress is a new build.

In other news - Hi comm, I'm a lurker, nearly finished my Clockwork for London's MCM Expo next week! Photos to come!
linzibeanlinzibean on May 19th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Bear in mind it's produced in Cardiff/Treforest; the fabrics are just as likely to come from one of the Cardiff City Road fabric shops or online. I'll pop into the Cardiff shops this week and take a look at their silks for a match on the bodice.
(no subject) - maypanic on May 20th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maypanic on May 20th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
penwiper337penwiper337 on May 19th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
One small thought about her skirt being longer in back than in front, if it is a repurposed earlier costume, could it have been designed to go over a bustle?

For the bodice fabric, you might check out matelasse or quilted silk or satin fabrics. this and this show that you could achieve the general effect if you could find the right pattern/color - and since you just need enough for a bodice, you might be able to scrounge enough fabric from a quilted jacket.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
May have been designed for a shorter person and meant to have a bit of a train, too.

Another good idea, thanks!
ellisbelle: mary poppins:  mary and umbrellaellisbelle on May 19th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
Great breakdown. I've just started working on this myself. But am I the only one seeing more greens than blues in her dress? To me the bodice looks like sea foam green and the skirts, dark teal. The bit around her waist seems to have a lot of brown to it. Let me know if I'm just seeing things; I need to order fabric soon.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 19th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Possibly I'm am prejudiced towards seeing blues because of the TARDIS. ;) Now that you mention it I can see hints of seafoam in the bodice, although it still looks mostly taupe to me. There's a new link towards the bottom of the post, with a picture that gets nice and hugs if you click on it.

You're right, the hip scarf definitely has brown in it. It's one of those velvets that changes according to the angle, I'd call it a dark blue-grey with underlying shimmers of brown. I'd still call the skirts cadet blue, though.
(no subject) - sewaddicted on May 22nd, 2011 11:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
summoner_lenne9summoner_lenne9 on May 19th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
This is incredible. Best of luck to everyone who'll be making this dress, you're all gonna look GORGEOUS. And this post is GORGEOUS. :D
Aimee: dw-bananasaimeekitty on May 19th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
purple_nerd12: Tardispurple_nerd12 on May 20th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
I really really want to make this costume! I loved Idris so much. It's going to be a bit difficult for me seeing as home I'm pretty new to this but I plan on working really hard.

Thanks for all the info you guys have provided. :)
Jillian: searchingmidnightstar88 on May 20th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
To everyone who has contributed to this post: you're lovely. I'm going to try to make this my summer project as well, and all of this dissecting and research that you've done so far is great. I'll be checking back often and hope I can throw in my two cents as I hunt around.
aerynjazzynightowl on May 20th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC) this could be a good lace if it's dyed. nylon, so regular dyes won't work, and i don't know how well a tea or coffee dye would take to nylon either....
Apostle of the Church of Roryologystars_fell on May 21st, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
Target has some boots right now that I think would work really well for this costume:

Kashana Lace-up Boot, Cognac
Kashana Lace-up Boot, Natural

I'm sort of leaning towards the natural-colored ones.
galacticprobegalacticprobe on May 22nd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
The natural color ones, with a light rubbing of brown shoe polish (the paste kind, not the liquid in the sponge-tipped bottle), could give that medium-brown look that the ones in the photo at the top of the thread have: darker than the natural ones, yet lighter than the brown ones.

You could give the boots light coats until you get the shade of brown you like. (Or you could get the brown ones and lightly rub them down with very fine (400 grit or higher) sand paper until they get the lighter color, and maybe the worm look of boots that belong to someone who's been forced to live in anguish for who knows how long on a "living" asteroid.)

(no subject) - maypanic on May 24th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sewing as Self-medication: bitingsewaddicted on May 22nd, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)
I'm kicking myself cos I've seen the bodice fabric somewhere, but I can't remember which of teh independent fabric stores in Sydney. Gahh. Botheration. The fabric I've seen isn't a silk either.
Apostle of the Church of Roryologystars_fell on May 24th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
So my mom and I are looking at the bodice, and it looks like... the same material the sleeves are made of (which just sort of looks like some sort of jersey material, underneath the lace) is also what the front panel with the bows is made of. (Does that make any sense.) My mom also suggested that it looks like the bodice doesn't actually have sleeves, and the jersey material is part of like... an undershirt. If you look at your last picture near her armpit, it sort of seems like that might be the case? The fabric's slightly bunched like it might be.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 24th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been trying to sort out that neckline actually. The fabric under the lace definitely seems to be solid (and an exact color match to the swirly stuff just to make things more difficult, darn them.) I doubt it's jersey or anything with any stretch at all, judging by how flat the bodice upper is. Although it could be just that part is heavily lined. It does seem to be all sewn together, and not a separate shirt- look at the trim ribbon, it goes across the various fabrics as if sewn to all the layers.

Here's my attempt so far at plotting out the neckline. Thick black lines for the edge of the swirly fabric, blue lines for the ribbon trim, thin blue for neck edge. Does that make any sense? It's a work in progress yet.

(no subject) - ellisbelle on May 25th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Apostle of the Church of Roryologystars_fell on May 24th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
Also, she found some fabric at Hancock Fabrics today that she thinks would work for the lace overlay, and I find myself in agreement (no, it's not accurate, and no, I don't care, because it was cheap :D):

Picture here

She didn't get the ID details, and it doesn't seem to be on the store website, but she says she's bound to be back there eventually so she'll get it then if it's still in stock.

We're going to mess around with a few different ways of dyeing/staining it.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on May 24th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Cheap is good. I myself am quite the fan of cheap. It's pretty, looks like a definite good enough to me!

The lace is probably nylon, which won't hold most any type of dye. Per suggestion from penwiper337, your best bet will probably be watered down acrylic paint. Just one of those .97 cent bottles of acrylic paint from the hobby store, water it down a bit and dab it on, like she did to the stockings for the sleeves of her Weeping Angel costume.
(no subject) - ellisbelle on May 25th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
LauraB1: vm watchface approvedlaurab1 on May 27th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)
I've persuaded my mum to help me make this for London Film and Comic Con, which is the second weekend in July XD

I did have one plan with one set of existing clothes for the top half (and the skirt), but now have another, better plan with different existing clothes which will do for the corset (a light blue v-neck tank top with embroidered flowers) and undershirt (a wraparound turquoise silk shirt - the collar will need to be safety pinned inside), and a lace shrug on the way.

I also already have a huge piece of turquoise taffetta that's been sitting about doing nothing that we're going to make the outer skirt from, some blue upholstery fabric to make the hip scarf from, a full summer skirt as the base for the petticoat, and various bits of net/lace/ribbon. Oh, and embroidery thread for the tassels.

ETA Scrub most of the 2nd paragraph - the turquoise taffetta is big enough to make the bodice/corset and the outer skirt. There's proper pattern pieces for the bodice pinned to it and everything :)

Edited at 2011-05-29 02:27 am (UTC)
gilgameshwing on May 27th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
The Corset
I'm working on Idris for Comic Con in Austin this November '11 and trying to wrap my brain around her corset. I agree with one of the pervious comments above, that it was separate pieces, the corset a vest thing and she having a blouse-y thing underneath. I may add boning as needed to the blouse. (It almost looks like the seems of the blouse have boning going on, thoughts on this?)
I broke it down in Ai (Here) if anyone needs a seem reference.
The bottom half of the corset looks a tiny bit like corsets of the 1740-70s French style (getting mixed historical data) EX:
Finally, the pink corset especially if you make the tabs all one piece of fabric instead of .... tabulated. EX:
They're called Stays and I found that the French 1720s model works best. English version is the Gregorian period according to some people. Not ever one agrees.
Patterns for 1720s French Stays:
Probably going to use this pattern:

:) Hope this helps and I'm just not tell yall what you already know. This is my first costume ever to make :D

Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on June 2nd, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: The Corset
Your break down of the seams is wonderful. Darn, why didn't I think of just drawing it over the picture instead of trying to draw it in MSPaint?! Nice job, thanks for the resources.
purple_nerd12purple_nerd12 on May 29th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)

This is the closest I have seen so far to the real swirl fabric. If I can't find the real one I think I'll just buy this one.

I've been searching hard with no luck. Ugh.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on June 2nd, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
Closest I've seen, too. I might buy some!
(no subject) - maypanic on June 4th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - purple_nerd12 on June 6th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Jillianmidnightstar88 on June 2nd, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
I just came across this new picture of Idris (well, it's new to me at least). It gives some really good sleeve detail from a new angle.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on June 2nd, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
New to me, too, and kind of adorable.
(no subject) - delle on June 12th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - midnightstar88 on June 13th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gilgameshwing on July 11th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - midnightstar88 on July 12th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Caity: Arthurbeauparadox on June 2nd, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
I found a pretty close match for the shoes. Granted, they're a bit pricey ($64.95) and may be just a tiny bit short, but they're the best I've seen while searching. Also, the zipper is visible, but it's still a decent match.

Also, thank you so much for putting this together; it's a real help!

Edited at 2011-06-02 08:48 pm (UTC)
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on June 2nd, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Those are lovely, great match I'd say. Out of my price range, but really lovely. Thanks for sharing the link!

Glad it's helpful!
...sparklingsatine on June 4th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Bless you for this post, as this is the next costume I am going to try to get myself into.

What about tea staining fabric? The lace sleeves and overlay on skirt could easily be aged that way. otherwise, I'll be off to thrift stores to find old party dresses I can rip up and re purpose. Using lace doilies on the shoulder detail has also come to mind.
Not meant to be taken seriously.maypanic on June 4th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling there are going to be a ton of Idris clones running around at DragonCon. Which is awesome.

Tea staining depends on the fabric. Most inexpensive lace fabrics are nylon or polyester and the tea won't do a thing- or if it does, it will be very inconsistent.
(no subject) - sparklingsatine on June 4th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)