Introduction: Tardis Dress With a Hat

About: I'm a geeky software engineer from Poland. I have a great interest in fantasy and science-fiction culture and I love sewing.

My Tardis dress with a hat. You can see more details on my blog:

Step 1: Inspiration

For Doctor Who fans there is nothing really to explain, but for all the other I will shortly explain what the Tardis is and why the hell would somebody like to dress up as a blue box.

The thing is Tardis is not a box. She is a time machine or rather time travelling creature. Her name means Time And Relative Dimension In Space. She travels with the Doctor, the last of the Time Lords. They travel through time and space, they've been every-where and every-time, they explore and help, they're both very old, but still amazed by the universe. Neil Gaiman called her Doctor's wife. Tardis used to have a feature, that allowed her to adapt her external appearance to the world she landed in, but it broke and she is stuck in the form of English blue police box from the 50s. But Doctor likes it.

"Doctor Who" is the world's longest science-fiction tv show. And it's still in production. Check out the details on wikipedia and start watching now!

I love the show and I really wanted to make a costume connected wit it. I don't like playing the bad characters, Doctor's companion are not distinctive enough, Doctor himself is, hmm, male. But the Tardis is perfect. I wanted to model as many details as possible but also look nice and feminine. So I made a dress.

Step 2: Dress: Tools, Fabrics and Other Supplies.

What do you need to make the dress:

* Sewing machine, optimally with font embroidery feature. 
* Tardis blue fabric - I used stretch satined cotton, but in general it has to be comfortable, slightly elastic fabric. The color is essential! You need around 2m of 1,5m wide fabric.
* Black fabric - it should be similar type as the blue one.  0,5m of 1,5m wide fabric.
* White fabric - it should be similar type as the blue one.  0,5m of 1,5m wide fabric.
* Threads: a lot of blue, black and white thread, you really need to have all the colors. 
* Black ribbon - 5mm wide, around 3m

Step 3: Dress: Pattern

You may chose any dress pattern you want as long as it:
* is at least knee length.
* has very shallow neckline.
* has smooth front on all the length without any complicated cuts, folds etc.
In fact you can modify almost every pattern to have two first qualities, so the third one is essential. I used modified pattern 112 from Burda 03/2010 for the top part. The bottom part is simple half-circle.
You have to divide top of your dress on shoulder line, as shown on the drawing to create Tardis top banner. Te top shoulder&neckline part needs to be cut out of black fabric. The rest - of blue one.
The black strip needs to be wide enough to fit nice letters, I suggest around 12cm. Be sure to leave big seam allowance on the neckline, especially on the blue part.
You can have long or short sleeves - that's your decision. After I made the costume I decided that the best pattern for this dress would be pencil dress, so you may try it.

Step 4: Dress: Basic Dress Sewing

Sew together blue parts of the dress and separately black parts. Fabric is elastic, so you don't need to have any zipper.
Be sure to iron all the seams. Join black and blue part on the neckline and press this seem to. Finish edges as you prefer. I finished neckline with facing, sleeves and skirt with hem.

Step 5: Dress: Tardis Windows


For Tardis windows cut two rectangles of size 13cm x 16cm out of your white fabric.If you are curvy like me, you have to make darts on your windows. Pin corners of the rectangles to your dress, placing them just below the black part. Then gather the fabric on the sides to fit better on your breast. You need to do this on yourself, unless you have perfectly matching mannequin. Unpin and sew the darts. Pin again. Attach the windows by baste. 


Then we need to make window frame wind black ribbon. First cut 4 pieces of the 16cm and 2 pieces of 13cm. Sew them on the windows inside - 4 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. Then cut 2 pieces of 60cm and sew on the frame and cover edges of white fabric. Your windows are ready. 

Step 6: Dress: Tardis Walls

What I mean by Tardis walls are those blue rectangular wooden things all around Tardis external walls - they're not smooth. I think this part is optional, but nice to have.

Cut 5 rectangles of size 15cm x 18cm from your blue fabric.
Hem the edges or just fold them and press with the iron.
Mark points on your dress where the rectangles should be. Between the two left ones and the three right ones there should be the same distance as between the windows. Plan the vertical distance, so all the elements are evenly distributed over all length of you dress.
Sew the rectangles on the dress with blue thread. Do it twice - once just one the edge and second time leave 2cm from the edge. 

Step 7: Dress: Tarddis Instruction Board

* Cut 11cm x 14cm rectangle out of white fabric. 
* Embroider the instruction. You can see original text of the instruction on the picture. I didn't manage to squeeze it all so I cut it a bit. If you have machine with font embroidery feature - it's fast and easy, if not, you can do it manually. I think you can also use fabric paints, but I never tried. 
* Fold edges and press them.
* Cut 15cm x 18cm rectangle out of blue fabric.
* Fold edges and press them.
* Sew white board on the blue one.
* Sew the whole thing on the dress in left column, second row. 

Step 8: Dress: POLICE BOX Banner

This is the hard part. Or at least it was for me. 

* Cut the letters from the white fabric for POLICE BOX sign. Letters should be around 5cm high and 3cm wide (not "I" of course).
* Pin them all to black part in front of your skirt to find good arrangement. Remember to leave around 9cm between the words for small PUBLIC CALL sign. 
* Baste letters.
* Attach letters edges with dense zig-zag. That's the hard part.
* Remove the baste. 
* In the middle embroider PUBLIC CALL sign - again machine or manually. In my case the letters are too small, but my machine doesn't have possibility to change the font size.

Step 9: Hat: Tools, Fabrics and Other Supplies.

What you need to make a hat:
* Sewing machine.
* Piece of the Tardis blue fabric - what was left from the dress should be enough.
* Piece of the white fabric - what was left from the dress should be enough.
* Small, white yogurt cup. The more transparent, the better.
* Plastic head-band. Chose colour of your hair.

What you need to make your hat the coolest thing in the whoniverse:
* Soldering iron.
* 12 LED lights.
* Cartoon roll left from the toiler paper.
* Battery basket.
* A lot of batteries.
* Cabel.
* Lights controller with remote. I suppose it's the most complicated thing to get, mine has many functionalities like flashing, pulsing and controlling light intensity. But what really counts is pulsing.

Step 10: Hat: Sewing Hat Cover

* Cut two squares (side 18cm) out of the blue fabric.
* Cut circle in the middle of the square. Radius should be smaller by 1cm than the radius of your yogurt cup.
* Put the squares together, right side to right side. sew on the circle hole edge. Fold fabric back to right side. Fold the edges and sew the together. Press.
* Cut the rectangle out of the white fabric. One side should be height of the yogurt cup, second side - perimeter of the the cup plus 2cm.
* Cut rectangles from the blue fabrics: 3 rectangles of size cop-height x 3cm, 3 rectangles of size cop-height x 2cm, 1 rectangle of size (cop-perimeter + 2cm) x 2cm.
* Fold the long edges of the rectangles and press them.
* Sew them on the white rectangle, as shown on the drawing.
* Cut rectangle of size (cop-perimeter + 2cm) x 4cm out of the blue fabric.
* Sew it together with white rectangle.
* Cut circle out of the blue fabric. Radius should be bigger by 1cm than the radius of your yogurt cup.
* Sew white-blue walls and the lid together.
* Sew the top hat with square brim. Hide the hat bottom edge under the brim.

Step 11: Hat: Insides

This part was done by my boyfriend, Lamvak and this is his description:

I used 12 bright white leds, 3.4V and 20mA: I connected the diodes in four strips. Strip is a three diodes and a 100 (or 120) ohm resistor connected in series. Four strips are connected in parallel to a 12v battery.

The leds I used had four pins, but, simply, two katodes and two anodes. It's easy to check which are which. It should be easy to spot which are in pairs. Grab a bread board and connect three diodes (retaining direction) and a resistor in a series and apply the power. If it doesn't light up, then simply reverse the battery. ;)

Cut the roll along, this will allow you to mount the leds easier. To mount a single diode push it lightly into the cardboard to make a four distinguishable marks, but don't bend the pins. There, pin four short cuts - not a round holes, just a narrow holes, as pins are thin. Also, if they are just as long that the pins will squeeze in but not more than that, the carboard should hold the diodes by itself quite firmly. I've put diodes into four columns of three diodes - which happen to be the strips and it made laying the insides just a little bit easier. When you have the diodes fitted in, it's time for soldering.

Cut enough pices of thin cable to solder diodes togther in series; make sure that they are the appropriate lengths, leave a tiny allowance. Solder one resistor to each strip. Additionally, I've bought a controller for rgb led strips: I only needed one color, so I connected all diodes as one color. Diodes take power from the controler, so had to solder them to it; I didn't want to cut the controler though, so I got an additional ending that fitted the led side of controller led cable and I soldered diodes with short cables to the ending. Mind the direction.

Controller takes power from the battery, but it has a slot for a power jack. I got such a jack and soldered it to a single battery socket for a little 12v batteries. I was able to tape the cardboard roll back together and squeeze the controller inside, leaving the IR receiver sticking out from the top side and the power plug with the battery socket from the bottom.

Step 12: Hat: Putting It Together

Then, simply cut the bottom of the yoghurt cup, fit the roll with the cup, roll the IR receivers cable around the roll and tie it in place
with a thread, threading through the roll. This way it's going to be on top and if you roll it right - facing the front. Now, sew firmly
the roll and the yogurt cup to the plastic head band and fit and sew the battery socket to the inside of the cup, facing down. You
may want to glue the threads, especially the ties, to get a firmer bond. Put the textile hat on on. You can sew it to the band too, but it's not necessary.

And turn it on. You're Tardis!

Step 13: And You Are Tardis!

Hope you enjoyed this step-by-step and you'll try to make your own Tardis dress. Please share if you will!

You can see more details on my blog:
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