Clara Oswald | Costume | Doctor Who | My Blog | Robots of Sherwood | Sewing

Clara Oswald’s Robots of Sherwood Dress- Is it Red or Orange?

June 12, 2015



Recently I received a question about the color of the Clara Oswald’s Robots of Sherwood dress I made a few months ago. You can read more about the dress I made here. In the post, I referred to the color of the dress as “orange” but in the photos I took, the dress has more of a red color than orange. The difference in color made me wonder, what is a good way of describing the color? Is it really a red or an orange?

After looking through the notes I made about the dress, it is not just a red or an orange, but a combination of both.

Disclaimer: I never saw the dress used in Robots of Sherwood in person. All my opinions about the color of the dress are based off photos taken on set while filming was taken place. I used photos taken during filming because it shows the color of the dress in natural sunlight and with the least chance of color editing that will change the true color of the dress.

When I began to look for fabric for the dress, I used photos taken during the filming of Robots of Sherwood as a reference. Here are two of the photos I used (I do not claim any ownership of either of them)…

Clara Oswald Robots of Sherwood

Clara Oswald Robots of Sherwood

The first photo was used as a reference for the skirt and how it’s supposed to look, but second photo was used as a reference for the top of the dress, sleeves, and the color of the dress. In the photo you can see some orange in the red color of the velvet. It is nothing more than light reflecting off the velvet, but it did give me a direction to look for the color of the velvet.

I’ve seen velvet in the similar color to the dress a long time ago and was always told its name was “blood orange”. After doing a search for “blood orange color” on google, I found this color swatch…

dark blood orange color 1

Fairly close to the color of Clara’s dress, huh? I thought so. When I was searching for fabric, I looked for fabric called “blood orange”. That’s when I ran into a problem… not everyone thinks this color is really “blood orange”. As an example, I found another swatch in the search, which looks like this…

blood orange color 2

It’s lighter and has more of an orange tone compare than the first swatch. This is what they look like side by side….

blood orange comparison 1

The second swatch is on the left while the first swatch is on the right. When I saved the swatches to my computer, the swatch on the left was called blood orange color while the swatch on the right was called dark blood orange. Why is this important for searching for the right colored fabric for Clara’s dress? Because it’s an example of how a person’s preconception of “blood orange” looks like.

Ignoring the fact that google brings up searches based off words and not way the color in the jpg looks, I began to have a similar problem searching for velvet that matched the color the way I wanted it to. Whenever I would type “blood orange velvet” into a search, I would get a color similar to the dark blood orange swatch than the true blood orange swatch. For my dress, I wanted the true blood orange color, not the dark blood orange color. Finding velvet in the shade I wanted was frustrating for me so I began to look for another color name for the fabric.

Poking around online, I found the same colored fabric called “Moroccan Red” and “Scarlet”. There are slight variations in how light or dark in the colors due to the fabric, what the fabric is made out of, how the fabric was dyed, ect. but they were very close to the shade blood orange I wanted. The fabric I ended up purchasing for my dress was not called blood orange, but scarlet and was not the blood orange shade I originally wanted…

Clara Oswald Robots of Sherwood Fabric

Although the photo is dark, you probably noticed the fabric color is closer to the dark blood orange swatch, which is more of a red color. While searching for fabric, I realized the blood orange color was too orange to look good against my skin tone and needed a darker, red color. I still call it “orange” because that’s how it looks in the light of my sewing room and because I still call the color “blood orange” in my head instead of “scarlet”.

After spending more time than I care to admit searching for the right shade of fabric (For my skin tone at least), I have a few suggestions to help anyone looking for fabric the same color or as close to the dress used in the episode…

  • Search for fabric in the colors “blood orange”, “Moroccan red”, “scarlet”, or “red orange”. In my experience, searching for scarlet will provide the most, and best, fabric results while red orange shows up the least.
  • Shopping for fabric in person is highly suggested. This will give you a chance to see in person what the fabric looks like and how the color looks against your skin.
  • When shopping for fabric in person, bring a flash light because sometimes fabric store lighting can be dull. (I had this problem when I was fabric shopping) Shining a flash light on the fabric will let you see the color difference in different light.
  • If you cannot shop in person, look for fabric from shops that offer fabric swatches. They generally cost $1 a swatch but I’ve seen shops on Etsy that offer free swatches. If the shop does not offer fabric swatches, ask! Some fabric shops online, such as Joann’s, do not give out fabric swatches at all but if you are unsure, an email is far less costly than buying fabric that is the wrong color.
  • When picking out a color, please keep in mind your skin tone. I look good in “cool” colors, such as blue, green, ect. but not in “warm” colors such as yellow, orange, ect. For my dress, I decided to use a fabric color that was darker than what I originally wanted because it didn’t look good with my skin tone. Although accuracy in cosplay is important, I’d personally rather wear a dress in a more flattering shade than one that is 100% accurate and looks bad against my skin tone.

If you are interested in purchasing fabric online, here are a few places I suggest looking at. These websites have the same or simmilar colored fabric I used for my dress and, although you may not want to/able to purchase fabric from them, they are good places to start looking for fabric for Clara’s dress…

  • Joann Fabric and Craft Store: I bought my dress fabric here in the color scarlet, but lately they do not offer scarlet chiffon, satin, or crepe in the casa collection like they used to. As of this post they do have the stretch velvet I used in scarlet. They do not offer swatches.
  • SY Fabrics: This was one of the online stores I searched through to find fabric for my dress, mostly because they offer swatches for $1 a swatch. I’ve had good experiences buying fabrics from them, but they do not ship outside the United States and Canada.
  • Etsy: If you live outside the United States, this is the best website to look for fabric. I’ve found shops on Etsy that offer swatches for sale and others state in their listings that they can provide swatches upon request. I will not post links to the shops I’ve found because I did not purchase fabric from them and I cannot attest to their customer service, fabric quality, ect. Although I’ve had good experiences purchasing fabric and more from various Etsy shops, always look at feedback prior to purchasing.

If anyone needs further clarification or has any questions, feel free to comment or contact me via the contact form here.

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