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  1. Dave Ward's Avatar
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    Jun 14, 2011, 5:12 PM - Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #1

    Has anyone ever seen one of these up close? I'm trying to figure out the best material to use for the braiding/piping.

  2. YuriGagarin61's Avatar
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    Sep 23, 2011, 4:27 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #2

    I have not seen The Village "wear" costumes, however the Portmeirion "The Prisoner Shop" sells replica Number Six-style blazers, on their website. Regretably the largesr size which they stock is US Size 44...
  3. bendingoak's Avatar
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    Sep 23, 2011, 10:38 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #3

    I have one and they did a nice job. Im currently in a middle of a move. When I get settled in I'll post pics.
  4. Yorkie Fett's Avatar
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    Sep 23, 2011, 12:17 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #4

    I had a look at the prisoner shop, unfortunately they dont do an XL version which is what I would need.
    I notice the colour quoted for their blazer is black. I understood it was actually dark brown as mentioned in this link.

    Prisoner Costume
  5. Dave Ward's Avatar
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    Sep 24, 2011, 12:10 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #5

    I'm not a big fan of the "official" blazer - the lapels have a weird shape, and the braiding is unbroken...I know that McGoohan's did this in "Free for All", but I much prefer the notched braiding he wore the rest of the time. Plus, for a hundred and fifty quid, I dunno...
  6. Dondragmer's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2012, 8:24 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #6

    The blazers used on The Prisoner were custom-made regatta (or boating) blazers, dark brown in color with cream-colored braided trim. They were made from a fuzzy-textured material (probably melton wool) and had narrow lapels, three patch (not jetted) pockets, two front buttons, one button on each cuff, and no vents. The blazer used for the first location shoot in Portmeirion had continuous piping across the lapels, but for the rest of the production the blazers had a break in the piping at the lapel notch.

    Finding a suitable blazer in dark brown is almost impossible, but since the blazer was designed to "read" as black with white piping on film, I think you're fine using a black blazer -- it's what everyone expects to see, after all.

    As for the trim, I've found that using pure white comes off as a bit cartoonish, so I'd recommend going with something a bit off-white. I have a good close-up picture showing the texture of the trim on McGoohan's costume -- I'll scan and post it if anyone's interested.
  7. Dave Ward's Avatar
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    Mar 23, 2012, 8:26 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #7

    Dondragmer said: View Post
    The blazers used on The Prisoner were custom-made regatta (or boating) blazers, dark brown in color with cream-colored braided trim. They were made from a fuzzy-textured material (probably melton wool) and had narrow lapels, three patch (not jetted) pockets, two front buttons, one button on each cuff, and no vents. The blazer used for the first location shoot in Portmeirion had continuous piping across the lapels, but for the rest of the production the blazers had a break in the piping at the lapel notch.

    Finding a suitable blazer in dark brown is almost impossible, but since the blazer was designed to "read" as black with white piping on film, I think you're fine using a black blazer -- it's what everyone expects to see, after all.

    As for the trim, I've found that using pure white comes off as a bit cartoonish, so I'd recommend going with something a bit off-white. I have a good close-up picture showing the texture of the trim on McGoohan's costume -- I'll scan and post it if anyone's interested.
    This person is my new best friend!
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    Mar 24, 2012, 2:37 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #8

    Dondragmer said: View Post
    The blazers used on The Prisoner were custom-made regatta (or boating) blazers, dark brown in color with cream-colored braided trim. They were made from a fuzzy-textured material (probably melton wool) and had narrow lapels, three patch (not jetted) pockets, two front buttons, one button on each cuff, and no vents.
    Wow, thanks for the information! I had no idea the jacket was brown and cream.

    Normally, I'm all for being as accurate as possible to the original costume, but in this case, I've had the image of a black and white jacket in my mind for decades, I might have to make a black and white jacket when I eventually do this costume. I'm torn between reality and my memory! Oh, the dilemma.
  9. micdavis is offline micdavis
    Mar 24, 2012, 4:01 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #9

    A friend and I did these about 25 years ago.

  10. Dondragmer's Avatar
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    Apr 26, 2012, 4:48 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #10

    micdavis said: View Post
    A friend and I did these about 25 years ago.
    Wow, your costumes look great. Nice work!


    Finally got around to scanning that close-up pic, here it is:


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    Nov 20, 2012, 2:53 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #11

    As a fan of "The Prisoner," I have been following this thread about No. 6's blazer quite intently. Using the information that has been provided, I went down to a local thrift store and found a reasonable facsimile of the blazer. It is dark brown, appears to be wool, with narrow lapels. Only differences between this and the authentic version is it has 2 sleeve buttons, three front buttons, and a vent. Otherwise, it looks remarkably like the one worn by McGoohan. The jacket cost me only $6.99. So it is possible to find something similar to the classic Village jacket. I am now on the lookout for the braided piping. If anyone has any online hints as to where to find the material, please let me know.
  12. Dondragmer's Avatar
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    Nov 25, 2012, 5:32 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #12

    What you're looking for is called "foldover braid." I got mine here, but they no longer offer Ivory, the color I used -- I've found that pure white is a bit too bright. The beige color they offer is too dark, and the ecru is too shiny. If you can't find any off-white braid, I'd recommend getting some white braid and dying it down just bit to take the edge off it.

    The stuff frays like crazy, so buy extra and be careful to keep the ends taped at all times. (Also, be sure to wrap the braid with tape before cutting it.) If possible, I'd recommend closing the vent on your blazer. It'll make doing the back trim easier, and the rear of your jacket will look more screen-accurate.
    Last edited by Dondragmer; Nov 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM.
  13. Dave Ward's Avatar
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    Feb 21, 2013, 12:42 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #13

    Dondragmer said: View Post
    What you're looking for is called "foldover braid." I got mine here, but they no longer offer Ivory, the color I used -- I've found that pure white is a bit too bright. The beige color they offer is too dark, and the ecru is too shiny. If you can't find any off-white braid, I'd recommend getting some white braid and dying it down just bit to take the edge off it.

    The stuff frays like crazy, so buy extra and be careful to keep the ends taped at all times. (Also, be sure to wrap the braid with tape before cutting it.) If possible, I'd recommend closing the vent on your blazer. It'll make doing the back trim easier, and the rear of your jacket will look more screen-accurate.
    Thank you! Resurrecting this thread as we have bumped this project forward while waiting for another vendor to provide a pattern.

    Would not have thought to use melton wool, will go fabric shopping at the weekend.
  14. Dave Ward's Avatar
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    Dec 1, 2013, 12:12 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #14

    Just going to bump this as we're finally getting round to it. Found a great dark brown fabric with the appropriate texture from an independent fabric shop here in Baltimore, and Joanne's had a good braiding. Getting the angle of the lapels I think is going to be the biggest challenge.
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    Mar 30, 2014, 1:24 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #15

    Any movement on this...? I'd be interested in a near screen-accurate blazer.
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    Oct 16, 2014, 10:22 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #16

    Wonderful source of information here re the Blazer, but how about the rest of the outfit? Looks like cream chinos to me, and is that a navy t-shirt or sweater? I actually used to have a pair of runners (trainers) that were black with white shanks.
  17. Dondragmer's Avatar
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    Oct 17, 2014, 5:01 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #17

    The rest of the costume is easy: The trousers are tan with slightly angled front pockets (worn with a belt), and the jumper is a navy blue turtleneck. Shoes are lace-up navy blue deck shoes with white soles, white welts, and navy blue laces. Socks are brown or navy blue.
  18. Member Since
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    1 Week Ago  Aug 21, 2015, 6:45 PM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #18

    The Prisoner costume is black.

    Dondragmer's information is correct. Something that strikes me as very odd in many webpages dedicated to the Prisoner's blazer is that someone, somewhere, way back, introduced the idea that the melton wool blazer is a dark shade of brown. This is wrong. The blazer, which is typical of 1960's English school blazers, "Abbeygate" Blazers being one of the common brands from that time - identical to the Prisoner blazer, is black. ( Of course, there is no such thing as black in nature - black is a dark shade of grey which is itself a blend of all colors in the spectrum, but the shelf name for the blazer is indeed "black". Call it charcoal grey if you really want to, but that's getting very technical -- it is black.
    (Brown would never come off as blueish in night conditions but Black does, which is why some people actually also believed that the costume was dark blue).
    The warmer hues of film emulsion may occasionally have caused the color to appear as a lighter shade of black subjected to whatever environmental light but any photographer or cinematographer will tell you that black is always a tricky color on film. That said, BluRays now settle the matter easily enough.

    I work in film and I am used to seeing colors transformed through color grading - the jacket is definitely black - Black often reflects blueish hues or warmer greys which can appear under certain conditions as brownish. All colors read differently on film and are always greatly affected by light.
    It is not unusual for art directors and costume designers to modify their textures and colors after the cinematographer does a grading test. Clearly in the case of ITV, things were shot rather fast, and with little attention to grading details - the entire show The Prisoner suffers from mismatched color grading. And mismatched costumes.

    But there's more: while visiting a friend in the UK, I was introduced to a relatives of a man who'd been a stand-in for McGoohan during filming in Portmeirion, and who wore one such jacket, who confirmed that the principal jackets were indeed black and no other shade, as far as Prisoner's costume was concerned.

    It's a mystery to me why the Portmeirion shop strayed away from the correct materials and pockets - I can only assume that a careless person deemed the job 'good enough' for undiscriminating tourists. Part of the problem is that they focused on an auctioned artifact which they believe to be the real thing but whose origin is highly disputed aside from the fact that it is old.

    What appears to have happened is that a first jacket (with continuous piping) was used to shoot the Portmeirion exteriors of the pilot episode. all the interior shots in the pilot, which were shot later on the MGM lot, have a different "non-continuous piping). This alternating motif continues for a few episodes, suggesting that all the exteriors of the initial episodes were shot on one trip. What complicates the analysis is that several shots which appear to be "exteriors" are in fact studio shots in which small set pieces of village sections were reconstructed (sometimes with painted backgrounds - this is especially visible in the "old folks home "outdoor set" which is fake from the second episode onward. Prisoner's exterior apartment is also a set in many shots even though it is modeled perfectly after the Portmeirion exterior, which further complicates the identification of which costume was used where and when.
    They were clearly mismatched but to be fair, no one at that time paid any attention like we do today. And no one could stop or replay sequences ad-nauseum.
    Once one identifies the "fake" Portmeirion exteriors (which are in fact later segments shot on stage) it is easy to see how one jacket design was rethought and appears a bit later. After what seems to be a second trip to Portmeirion to shoot more exterior pick-ups, the "broken piping" jacket appears in the actual Village to replace the original design.

    Ironically, the best way to make a Prisoner costume is to use a blazer from that time period and place, and not try to remake it from scratch.
  19. Dondragmer's Avatar
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    1 Week Ago  Aug 24, 2015, 12:33 AM - Re: Prisoner (McGoohan) Blazer #19

    Aside from the conclusions about color (I am certain the blazer was actually brown), I’m in complete agreement with dustyroadz’s comments. To go into specifics:

    As production began for the first location shoot in Portmeirion, only four scripts were ready, at least to point where principal photography of exterior locations could begin: “The Arrival” (“Arrival”), “Free for All”, “The Queen’s Pawn” (“Checkmate”), and “Dance of the Dead”. At the very end of that shoot, the crew managed to squeeze in handful of exteriors for a fifth script, “Chimes of Big Ben”, but for the most part that episode made use of the studio mockups dustyroadz mentions, as did most of the later episodes. For the exterior sequences in those first four episodes you’ll see McGoohan wearing a blazer with continuous piping, but he wore a blazer with broken piping for everything photographed after that point in time (including interiors on those four episodes).

    The piped blazers were custom-made for McGoohan by John Michael of London, and conformed to the current fashion trend. As dustyroadz says, blazers of this precise style were extremely common in the 1960s, the only difference being that the blazers used on the production were exquisitely hand-tailored. They were not black, however, but a very dark shade of brown. Solid blacks and whites didn’t read well on 60s film stocks, so film and television productions tended to avoid using them. (That’s still true to a lesser extent today.) Another example is McGoohan’s “civilian” black suit from “Fall Out” – it was actually charcoal grey.

    Why am I so certain the blazer was brown? Jimmy Millar, Patrick McGoohan’s personal dresser, kept a number of costume pieces from the series, including one of the iconic blazers. It’s been publicly displayed several times over the years, most notably at conventions run by fans of the The Prisoner. While I’ve never seen the blazer in person myself, I’ve spoken to many who have, and they all describe it as dark brown in color. What’s more, Bonhams sold it at auction back in 2005, and their description of the item included the following:

    “The colour of this jacket is very dark brown rather than black.”

    But as I said earlier, it’s extremely difficult to find a dark brown blazer in the proper style, and since the costume was designed to appear black on screen, I concur with dustyroadz's recommendation to use a suitable black blazer.

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