Wednesday 18 August 2010

Six Frock Coat - fabric breakdown

As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, my first ever cosplay costume was making myself a replica Six Frock Coat (see right).
I made it in 1985 or so, when I was around 16, from fabrics I found at various fabric shops around North West London.
My self-demand for getting things as accurate as possible was evident even then, and I found some pretty good matches for some of the elusive materials used to make the original.
I have always hung onto it, despite it not fitting me for many years, as I am always proud of how well it stands up, even today.

It was an absolute honour to have the chance late last year to wear an original screen-used complete costume (see left), thanks to the kind help of some friends of mine who own it, along with several other rare and unique costume pieces.

I can’t hide that I was ever so slightly exceedingly jealous! But the chance to wear it and get some great photos was a fantastic opportunity, and it made me want to have a wearable one for myself to my own high standards.

This will undoubtedly be a long-term project, as locating and matching all the fabrics I will need will take some time. I then have to develop my frock coat pattern, though I have been making a number of these recently, so I now have a very good understanding of how such patterns work.

The first thing I need to do is get the ball rolling on finding some of the fabrics needed. To get my mind around the task ahead I’ve broken it down into the fourteen key and essential fabrics used on the coat.

In descending order of proportion (followed by the lining), they are as follows:

1 Red Tartan
For all intents and purposes Tartans are a fairly standard class of fabric, and are woven to centuries old traditions and patterns representing clans and families in Scotland.
In theory its a fairly simple task to track down the clan this one comes from, but in practice with over 1,000 such designs, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
I have, however, been given a bombshell of a clue which in some respects fast-tracks me to what I need, almost making the process almost irrelevant . . . stay tuned.

2 Purple Felt
This is one of the easy fabrics on the coat, and I have already found a perfect match, in both fabric type and colour.

3 Green Felt
Just like the purple felt before, I have found a perfect match already, in both fabric type and colour.

4 Peach Wool
This one is relatively easy too, as I have found a perfect match for the type of fabric used, though I am going to need to over-dye it to get the right colour.
Previously I would have been a little nervous of doing this, but since dyeing the pillow ticking for the Six Trousers I made, as well as the fabric for my Blue Tennant Suit, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting as I would have thought.

5 Red Felt
This was the third fabric for which I found a perfect match in both type and colour of fabric.

6 Checked Collar
A clue I was given for this made it seem a distant chance of finding anything pre-woven to match. I will have to look at getting this re-woven!

7 Yellow and 8 Pink Lapels
The Yellow Lapel is of the same basic fabric as the Peach Wool, though again I will need to over-dye to get the right shade.
The Pink Lapel is a baby-pink velvet, which although I haven’t found a match as yet, once I start looking I don’t think it will be too hard to track down something that will work.

9 Woven Back
This is one piece which defies find, matching or a quick re-weaving to match. This will possibly be the stalking horse of the project that will take a little time to resolve.

10 Cuffs
This is the easiest of the bespoke fabrics, as it is the same as the Trousers, being a yellow over-dyed pillow ticking.

11 Pink Felt
Again a relatively easy fabric to match, though finding the right colour will take a little time - annoying as it is one of the smallest and out of sight pieces of the entire coat.

12 Green Braid
The edges of the pockets are piped with a chunky woven braid, which may prove elusive until I can great a breakthrough as to where to find it.

13 Applique Strip
This is the single most surprising part of the entire coat.
The way tv programmes are shot, you rarely see the back of the lead actor on screen, so views of the rear of the coat are few and far between. The same can be said for publicity stills! So there is little reference for what this curious strip on the back edge of the coat is made from.
I had always thought it was a form of tartan, but when I had the chance to look at it close-up, I found it was anything but.

14 Lining
This is one of the most exquisite and unique fabrics in the coat.
It is a heavily woven material, with a form of fire motif pattern. It would be feasible to print this onto a lining material, but would not give the same depth of colour and vibrancy of the original.
If at all possible I would like to get this re-woven. I already have a lead where I might be able to get it done . . .

As I say, this will be a long-term project, but check back regularly as I work my way through the list of fabrics one by one.
The above illustrations were drawn by ^o^CORVUS^o^ from the Gallifrey Base forum. He posted the original images saying he wanted no credit, but I want to thank him for doing them and making them available for use, as they are proving very useful to quantify what needs to be done.

Thank you ^o^CORVUS^o^ !!!!


  1. You are very welcome. I am glad that my breakdown is proving to be of use to you, and I do appreciate the acknowledgment.

  2. Steve, I’ve got a suggestion for your elusive #9, "The Woven Back." It looks a bit wooly-fuzzy on screen. I found a Harris Tweed, check pattern jacket (on ebay for less than $40 US), and when I received it, the fabric bore a strong resemblance to that one back panel on the Six coat. So maybe a check Harris (or other check) Tweed would be a good match for that?


  3. Hey,
    Check out this item on e-bay, it looks similar to the 'elusive No9',but may not be light enough See whet you think.

    Also check this out for the red tartan, it's Livingston Tartan.

    Any good?

    Sono Luminus.

  4. could you tell me the pattern that you used for the coat. I am looking to make a leather frock coat that looks like the one "Hook " wears and this pattern looks more like the one that I just finished. Thanks

    1. If you rad the rest of my bog you'll see it was reverse-engineered from the screen worn Colin Baker coat.
      I cannot share the pattern.

      I am sure there are many Captain Hook fancy dress costume patterns out there. Try searching eBay for leas or ideas.

  5. I have, but not exactly what I am looking for. Thank you for your response.

  6. Thank for posting this. I used an existing garment as a pattern to make a more feminine fit coat, and the breakdown of the fabric was super helpful. Thanks again!


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