The long awaited 12th Doctor coat from AbbyShot has finally been released. Is it worth the price tag? Read on to find out.
I believe the first mentions of AbbyShot selling a replica of the Twelfth Doctor’s coat started way back before series 8 even began to air. The simple lines of the coat made it seem like a no brainier to most. But the very expensive and unique lining of that coat did cause some hesitation. Could AbbyShot replicate the delicate 100% silk lining in a way that they could make their price affordable and the product durable? We may never know the answer to that question because luckily for AbbyShot that all changed with series 9.
I need to preface this review with a few things that if you’ve never had a custom garment made you may not know. Custom clothing is not cheap. It is also not a simple process and it is not a cheap process. First, 19 to 20 different measurements are taken of you and a pattern based on your specific measurements is created. Then the cloth is cut and basted together into it’s basic shape and tried on. It is then taken completely apart and sewn together more permanently before being on again. This last step could continue 3-4 times until you and the tailor agree that the garment finally fits you perfectly. As you can imagine a process like this can range in price from $1000 – $3000 (which incidentally is about how much it cost to make just one of Peter Capaldi’s coats)
I’m telling you all of this because I feel a lot of people purchase a coat off the rack in a standard size and expect it to fit just like it does on Peter Capaldi. Sure for some people their body might be the perfect measurements. But for most there will be some tailoring required to get your coat to fit how you want it to fit. That’s just how it is.I can’t stress enough that if your serious about your costumes, find a good tailor in your area who you can trust and who will help make you look good.
All that being said, the sizing chart on the AbbyShot website is very accurate. If you follow it closely you will be able to purchase a coat in your size. My recommendation, if you were to buy one, would be to purchase a size that seems a bit bigger than you would normally buy to give you room to have it sized down to a perfect fit by a tailor in your area.
When making comparisons to this coat and the real deal you have to be sure that you are only comparing it to pictures from series 9. The series 8 coat is very different in shape and construction (see below). The overall shape of the AbbyShot is fantastic. The lapels are cut really well. The sleeves have the correct shape so that when two cuff button are undone the cuffs bell out slightly. The pockets are also perfect. My one niggle is the construction of the shoulders. One of the reasons new coats were made for series 9 was that costume designer Ray Holman wanted coats that were more fitted in shoulders achieved by adding inset sleeves and shoulder pads. Unfortunately there is no padding in the AbbyShot shoulders which causes them to droop instead of having a crisp corner at the end. It’s a minor issue but one that a perfectionist like myself will notice.
One area that AbbyShot really nailed it was on their choice of fabric for the outside of the coat. The screen accurate wool is 100% camelhair at $345 a yard. Yes, you read that correctly, a single yard of the actual fabric used costs more than the AbbyShot coat with shipping. Really I should stop this review right there. That cost savings alone should be enough to convince would be buyers. I will continue though because despite the price disparity, the AbbyShot wool blend looks incredibly similar to the actual wool used on the show. When I was able to see the coat in person in London in November the one thing that stood out in my mind was the nap of the wool and AbbyShot have done a wonderful job of recreating that.
As mentioned earlier the series 8 coats had a very expensive and rare 100% silk lining with a unique pattern and texture to it. Unfortunately this lining proved to be incredibly troublesome. It was constantly catching on things like the sonic screwdriver and really didn’t last the length of filming. There is a story of Peter Capaldi reaching into his pocket to pull out the sonic screwdriver and the lining had ripped all the way through and the sonic was at the bottom of the coat. So for series 9 a simpler lining was chosen by the tailor making the coats. While they did a very good job of recreating this new lining, AbbyShot still misses the mark a bit. The actual lining is a red shot with black giving it an iridescent quality. While the AbbyShot lining has a bit of the iridescent quality it is much duller and has less depth of color.
The last detail I want to write about is the buttons. As mentioned in my previous article covering the history of the Twelfth Doctor’s coats, the black buttons are very simple matte horn buttons purchased by the tailor down at a haberdashery shop located a few doors down from his shop. The red cuff buttons are shaped very differently from the black buttons, but were purchased at the same shop. Sadly the stock of red buttons is now long gone.
As you can see from the photos below, the buttons on the AbbyShot coat are vastly different in both shape and size. The red cuff buttons are exactly the same as the black except red and the color doesn’t quite match the color of the screen used buttons. Fortunately though, the screen accurate buttons are readily available and I’ve heard rumblings that red buttons molded off originals will also be available for purchase soon as well.
All in all I can honestly say that the AbbyShot Twelfth Doctor coat should be an instabuy for any Twelfth Doctor cosplayer. The minor visual details that don’t match the screen used coat are fairly trivial to fix and for a price that is 1/10th the cost of a production made coat you genuinely can’t go wrong. This is a great piece for any collection and I give it 4 out of 5 sonic screwdrivers.