Item: Custom Made 50 Vintage Dress
Appearance: Cold War
Combined with: Red or Dead Shirley Glitter Heels, un-IDed purse, Soviet Navy Jacket, House of Harlow Gold & Blackened Arrowhead Earrings, F-Troupe Vintage Watch Bracelet, Whistles Rana Double Chord, Friendship Bracelet.
Since it’s been a couple of years and no one has found a proper ID for this dress yet, I think we can assume that it was a custom job by the DW costume department. For a long and proper analysis of this dress, you can check out this website since I will not bore you and the entire internet and do the same thing that has been done on another website very thoroughly.
The Cold War outfit is one of Clara’s most underrated outfits in my opinion, but I believe it’s due to the fact that most of the episode has really dark and poor lighting and the dress is hidden away under a borrowed Russian Navy jacket 95% of the time. You only see it properly for a short moment after the TARDIS lands on the submarine.
However, my collector’s fingers were tingling again and I do love a nice petticoat dress, so I set out to make one. Ha! As stated in the episode, the Doctor and Clara were on their way to Las Vegas, so I searched for suitable 50s/60s dress patterns and swiftly found one on eBay: Simplicity 1459. I will definitely keep that pattern because it’s such a lovely one and did I mention I love a nice petticoat dress? I’m sure it will come in handy again at some point.
Anyway, I found an affordable fabric on my usual German website and started to make myself a Cold War dress. First of all, the pattern I had wasn’t entirely SA, so I had to make a couple of alterations, especially in the collar region and the sleeves (because Clara’s dress doesn’t actually have a collar or sleeves). Mariah’s Cosplay Site has a wonderful breakdown of Clara’s dress that I absolutely recommend reading if you’re thinking about making your own.
I don’t really want to bore you with the details of how I made it, but the truth is that I wasn’t really satisfied with my first attempt, but I had enough fabric left over to make a second which ended up fitting me so much better. It’s an actual joy to wear (and twirl around with the swinging petticoat). Overall breakdown:
Price: £40 (or £20 seeing that I basically made two)
Time: Approx. 6 hours
Now I’m desperately hunting for the shoes because they’re a dream and, of course, the Navy jacket. A fellow Clara cosplayer, however, found a dress looking very much like the Vivienne Westwood one Mariah’s Cosplay website mentioned in a charity shop, so if you keep your eyes open, you might find a suitable dress without having to operate a sewing machine. But here are a couple of photos of my own dress combined with the Hide/Listen blazer for lack of uniform jacket: