"Missy - Dark Water / Death In Heaven" Costume Breakdown

My costume build diary is here. This is a bare-bones breakdown of the elements of the costume that other costumers might find helpful. You might also want to check out my Pinterest board collecting various images and suggestions for items relating to this costume.

New for 2015: If you are looking for a breakdown of Missy's S9 rig - which is similar to but NOT the same as her S8 gear - you can find that here. Just about the only thing that remains the same between the two is her blouse and the fact that the suit is purple.

This is just my take on the situation. If you spot something I’ve missed or have a bead on a particular refinement, please drop me a line and let me know.

The script described Missy as a “gothic Mary Poppins” and her ensemble takes its cues from the late Edwardian period. If you want to make a costume that can do dual-duty at a period event, you’ll end up with something fairly close to the screen item, but there are some key differences between full-on historical items and what Missy’s wearing.

The Jacket

- The fabric is probably a light or midweight wool crepe (edit: not melton as previously supposed). Photos of it at the DWE show that it's got a fair bit of texture to it, so it's not just a plain woven. Gaberdine is an acceptable alternative, imho, but shell out for wool. Polyester will hang like cheap curtains (voice of experience).

- Overall, the fit is quite snug, especially in the back. 

- Large vertical dart in front, but a princess seam in back. Yes, really.

- There are eleven pieces to the jacket – front, side front, side back, center back, sleeve and upper collar (plus lining, facings, etc)

- The (welt) pockets are functional.

- The sleeve is tighter than a regular jacket sleeve. A word of caution: a costume pattern might have too big an armhole and thus too baggy a sleeve.

- The sleeve cap is raised, to create the “pouf” at the shoulders.

- Below the waist, the jacket flares out, slightly, to allow easier movement and room for the skirt and petticoat.

- The buttons are not functional. The jacket is closed with hidden snaps.

- The buttons are almost certainly Victorian glass – possibly “mourning” buttons. Czech glass close-enough's are out there.

-- The button features a central raised dot, surrounded by seven (not eight, not six) similar dots.

- The buttons on the sleeve match the ones on the jacket front.

- The trim is some sort of guimp braid, probably 1” wide. An exact match has not been ID’d. (Update: The costumer has said on the record that it's a silk braid.)

The Blouse

- Edwardian-ish, but without the baggy “pigeon breast” front.

- She wears at least two striped shirts over the course of the series. I have done my best to reproduce the print for the one worn in London and you can buy yardage for it here. You can read more about how I came to the design on that page.

- If you really squint at the pix taken from the Doctor Who Exhibit (on the diary page) you can see that the shirt's stripe is woven into the fabric, not printed on to, so I'd search "Oxford" shirting fabric. If you find an exact match, let me know! ;)

- The shirt does not have detached plackets (strips of fabric for the buttons and buttonholes which are cut separately and sewn onto the body of the garment). Instead, the center front is extended, folded under and stitched down.

- The front yoke of the blouse is cut on the bias – which is a fancy way of saying that the stripes are diagonal to the verticals on the body of the shirt. This is the case ONLY for the front yoke.

- The back yoke of the shirt is cut on the grain and comes to a point at the center.

- The sleeve cap is raised to create a “pouf” at the shoulders.

- The “gather ratio” on the bodice part of the blouse is around 1.5 to 1 and probably not more than 2:1. Make a “gather gauge” with your fabric to determine what works best for you.

- The buttons are ½” across.

- The buttons look like Trocas shell. Mother of pearl can be made to work, too – or even plastic. Two holes, not four.

- The collar is a Peter Pan type with a 1” stand. It’s probably a detachable collar, judging by the center front closure.

- The collar does NOT meet at the top center front. There is enough of a “spread” so that the brooch is not obscured.

- The collar is white, not off-white.

- The sleeve is cut wide enough to require gathering into the cuff.

- The cuff fabric matches the blouse body.

- The stripes on the cuff run perpendicular to the sleeve opening (not parallel).

- The cuff is very long (compared to modern shirts). It's 24 or 25 dark stripes "long" (what do you mean, I'm obsessive?). It reaches nearly halfway up the actor's forearm.

- There are two buttons on each cuff.

The Skirt

- Although styled after a “walking skirt” of the Edwardian period, it's a simple gored-panel skirt. There is *some* fullness at the center back, but not much. The easing is very subtle. There is no visible gathering of fabric into the waistband.

- There are four panels to the skirt: front, two sides, back. Presumably there is a zipper in one of those seams, hidden under the pleats.

- “Tea” length – above the ankle, but below the knee. (Don't forget to allow for the fullness of your petticoats when calculating your skirt length. I didn't!)

- Very high-waisted. Hike that mother up and don’t wear it resting on your hips.

- The black waistband seen in some set photos is probably something rubber/elastic to hold a wireless mike in place and to keep the skirt in one place as the actor moves. I’d make a regular waistband if I were you.

- There is at least one petticoat beneath the skirt (you can see it in some set photos). The bottom edge is eyelet lace.

- There are pleats about 1" deep on the front AND the back of the skirt. The pleats align closely with the seams of the jacket. They don't line up exactly, but are slightly to the "outside" of where the jacket darts land. I'd make the jacket first, then draft your skirt to match.

The Boots

- Mid-calf high Victorian-style boots. Black leather. 

- The heel is somewhat more built-up than the “kitten” heel you see on some costume boots. Somewhat like a "Louis" heel.

The Hat

- A black straw “tilt” hat. Low, flat crown – it’s not a boater-style hat.

- The original is probably vintage. 

- Brim is wired and/or steamed, to create that curved shape.

- Garnished with black cherries, red cherries, violets (?), daisies (?) and some black netting. Held in place with a large hatpin in back.

-- The red and black cherries are equal in size.

-- The hatpin (probably a vintage item) has a large teardrop-shaped finial on the end, made of black glass, and a silver marquise (?) bead.

Other Accessories

- The brooch is a late 19th century cameo that was (somewhat) mass-produced in that at least three more have been found, elsewhere. 

-- The figure in the cameo faces to the left as you look at it (unusual for cameos) and is probably a representation of Flora.

-- The figure on the brooch is not Athena. Athena would be wearing a helmet and the figure in this cameo isn’t, although the edge of a garland on her head could be mistaken for the brim of a helm.

- The “cyber controller” bracelet is a custom-made prop (probably plastic).

- She has a flat-topped ring on her right hand. It looks like it’s silver.

- There is another ring, on her left hand. It might be leather?

- She wears a studded bracelet on her left wrist. Searching suggests it’s an off the rack cheapie fashion item. (At least ONE thing is affordable!)

- The cyber controller / disintegrator is a custom-made prop, using parts from a vintage Minolta TLR camera and an iPhone 4. Original concept sketch is included in my build diary.

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