WIP - Dave Lister's Motorcycle Jacket


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I became hooked on Red Dwarf back when it first ran on the Dallas PBS station in the late 80’s. I watched all of the episodes over and over, and then when the books came out, I snagged them and read them until the pages fell out. I never really bought anything other than the books, because (as many of you Smegheads know) they didn’t produce much in the line of merchandise for fans (especially the ones here in the states). So I turned my focus on other sci-fi shows, but forgot the misadventures of last slacker in the universe.

Throughout college I wore a used leather motorcycle jacket I picked up at the pawn show for a few bucks while I was looking for a camera for class. I thought many times how cool it would be to collect all of the patches and pins Lister had and make my own version to wear. But tracking down all of them would be difficult (since the internet wasn’t really popular at the time). It wasn’t until more recently (when I became interested in prop replicas) I decided it was time for me to start my Dave Lister leather jacket project.

This time it would be easier for me to build as I had not only the internet, but all of the episodes on disk so I could freeze frame and examine. So, with my wife (who I introduced Red Dwarf to 10 years ago) on the other side of the couch with note book in hand, we began our journey. We took notes through the first two series (remember British series usually consist of a lower number of shows than the US) when Dave really didn’t wear a leather jacket. But those episodes have helped in creating another set of costumes from the episode Parallel Universe (more on that in a different thread). When season 3 hit the screen my note book started to fill up with notes and placement sketches. That’s when it noticed that Lister’s jacket evolves through the episodes. It seemed like he was changing and rearranging his jacket because he was bored (more like the wardrobe was). But I continued taking notes so I could take my information and scour the internet for clues, images, and places to help out.

When I was ready to start, I decided that since his jacket seemed to be ever changing, it would give me free range in putting together a believable jacket. But, with me, I wanted something that was as close to what I saw on the small screen, so I needed to pick a certain episode to focus on. I noticed that throughout the series (the ones when he wore his motorcycle jacket), his patches seemed to look as if they were loose (and of course changed locations). I verified this by looking at numerous still shots and promotions pictures I found online. I came to the conclusion that the wardrobe dept ironed on the patches and as they fell off due to wear and the way that the leather sleeves fold when being used. When they started to loose their adhesive, they were moved elsewhere (or removed completely and replaced with a totally new patch). Considering all of the options I had, I decided that I would focus on the episode Sdrawkcab (Backwards) as a base for my project. This was the first episode we see Lister’s “new” jacket and something that had all of the elements that made his jacket.

I came across a few posts here on the RPF (by a Red Dwarf search) and a few over at a couple of Red Dwarf fan sites that helped me out immensely with verifying my speculations. Before I got over whelmed, I decided to start with the easy stuff first then work my way to the harder parts. I picked up the patches cheaper than I had expected and started to sew them on as I got them in the mail. Every night I double checked the placement and I would sit on the couch and sew my patches on while watching a movie. While I was waiting on patches, I started to tackle the pins that were used. I cross referenced photos again to see if I could find the exact (or very close) pin that was used. At the time of writing this, I’m still about 2-3 pins short. I found a pretty decent image of the Wilma Flintstone pin-up on the rocket from a camera test from the Back to Earth episodes that came out a few years ago. But I could not tell what is written on Dave’s right shoulder. I did read somewhere that there was a phrase “Ground control to Major Lister” on the jacket, but I could not find any photo proof or any screen time of the back of his jacket that sported the phrase in a legible manner. The episode Timeslides has a few good moments when Lister is walking into the photos where we clearly see his back. The only thing close to that are the words “Major Lister” on the leather vest Dave wears in the later seasons. The funny thing is that the type style looked very similar to the jacket… but the text doesn’t look anything like the phrase I had read. The text on the jacket looks more like someone’s name (Bill Wacker?). For now, unless I find out what it actually says, I will probably omit that part and focus on Wilma on the rocket.

Now let me pause for a moment and mention the jacket itself. The jacket I am using a standard classic style we have all seen around the US. The jacket that was used in Lister’s wardrobe is most likely a British motorcycle jacket (I actually have read what brand it was, but I don’t recall the name off the top of my head, I do remember it being hard to find on eBay). If you look good, his jacket has many features that aren’t found on a standard leather motorcycle jacket. One is the lack of a coin pocket, his jacket doesn’t have one, and the other is that the sides of his jacket lace up. True, you can find leather jackets here in the states that lace up the side, but for the purpose of my own collection, I was going to make do with what I had on hand.

Here’s my check list of all of the items you will need to create your own Dave Lister jacket. I will say that that on a few of the pins I’m not 100% on and will place a question mark next to it. I have already purchased all of these parts and find them acceptable for my project.

Jacket Checklist:

2. Skull Bones Motorcycle Pin
3. Gold Star Patch (2.5”)
4. Red Star Patch (2.5”)
5. STS-41G Challenger Mission Patch
6. Rolling Stones Patch (4”x5”)
7. Rolling Stones Pin (Black Background- 1”-2”)
8. YinYang Pin (1”)
9. 27TH CRS PATCH (3 5/8" x 4 1/8")
10. US Air Force Space Command Patch (3”x3”)
11. APOLLO XIII Patch (4”)
12. Prismatic Hologram Key Chain (Square)
14. Grumman F-14 Tomcat Patch (3" - 4")
15. Smiley (winking) face patch
16 .Honda gold wing pin?
17. Harley Eagle Pin?
18. Skull & Crossbones Pin
19. Russian military star burst Pin
20. “MACK” (text) name pin
21. Sheriff Badge
22. 5 Point Star Studs
23. Round, Flat Studs
24. Round, Pointed Studs

I would like to pause for a sec to touch on some of the pins. As mentioned in a previous thread, the “Prefect badge” (#1) can be found online for sale (I got mine on ebay). This pin will most likely come from the UK as I found no one here in the states who sell it. If you find someone, please post. The Honda Goldwing pin (#16) was a toss-up between it and a Kawasaki eagle pin. I could not find a good screen shot of the pin, but used deducted reasoning (and the price) to choose which pin I wanted to place on my jacket. I did the same for the Harley eagle pin (#17) as I found that the pin (with an eagle with its wings raised above its head) was used on dozens of designs ranging from Harley Davidson to Vespa. I couldn’t tell what the shield that the eagle sat on was, so I just grabbed a Harley pin (hey, this is an American version of the jacket). The “MACK” pin (#20) is more than likely going to be another “from the UK” pin. It is for the Mack truck company, so there could be a chance that someone in America carries it. This pin is usually seen on the right breast, sometimes snagged on the lapel corner. The Russian star pins (# 19) is a speculation as it “looks” like a Red star on top of a star burst, but the pics I have seen are very faint. The last thing on the list I want to mention is the holographic key chain. There had been speculation to what the subject was and I have found that it is indeed a comet/shooting star AND the planet Saturn. In the first few episodes the key chain was a shooting star (or comet) on both sides, but sometime during production it was changed to the planet Saturn. I think the reason why is that the key chain must have gotten broken or lost during a shoot and was replaced (since no one would actually see it on the TV screen). Since I couldn’t find either, I chose to get one that had the crew of Star Trek (TOS). I found it fitting since it was Sci-Fi as well. I will probably replace it when I find the proper one.

Below I created a rough diagram for the placement of the pins (or if the image is too big it will be thumb nailed at the bottom of this post).


As you can see, I attempted to point out the placements, but if you want proper placement spots, you may want to consult my final images or episodes from season three. If anyone wants my reference images, I would be happy to help out a fellow smeghead and forward them on. Just PM me.

The next image you’ll see is the placement for the studs that adorn the jacket and a few other modifications to the jacket. The stud placement is about as close as I could get. I hope my key isn’t too confusing, I tried to make it pretty straight forward. There are a few things you will to do to your jacket that you must be prepared to do and that’s a little destruction. Lister’s jacket has the sleeve on the left side cut and re-stitched with a whip-stitch. If you are going to cut your sleeve off and re stitch it, make sure you don’t cut through your sleeve lining as it doesn’t appear to be cut. I would also look into getting black eyelets (or grommets) to place around the cut areas if you are going to cut and sew back. This will help from keeping the leather from tearing from wear. On his right sleeve, it’s cut off at the shoulder stitching and re-sewn with a whip stitch. The effect looked great back in the 90’s when it the series was in production, but has not weathered with time (see Back to Earth). I have opted to not cut my sleeves (even though I will more likely be displaying this more than wearing it) and will just whip stitch the shoulder and omit the one around the elbow on the left side.


This last image is the three groups of items you’ll need to collect. I have grouped the pins, patches, and studs in the order I have bought them and labeled them on the previous images. I bought the majority of my items on eBay. Some came from the UK and Hong Kong, but the majority was found here in the US. The Winking smiley face shows up on eBay from time to time, but I snagged mine from a nice lady who runs a site called Purple Moon. The final touches will be adding a bandanna around the left arm close to where the sleeve is cut and sown together and adding the chain around the left shoulder strap.


All in all, I think with shipping on everything, and bidding on the lowest ones I could find, I probably spent about $110. Not shabby. I was also able to score a couple of hats like Lister’s, but will save that for another thread. I thank you guys for reading this and will be posting pics of my project soon. I will be painting the back last as I am waiting on the studs and looking for cleaner pics of the lettering. The last thing I want to mention before I hit the post button is that there is a mysterious piece on his back that’s right under his neckline in the center. It looks like a giant six sided star. Lister’s dreads cover this star up often and I think was later removed, probably due to its size and the appearance that it wasn’t fastened on well. The only thing I can speculate what it could be is half of a Christmas ornament or tree topper. I will most likely omit it from my final design and will keep an eye open for a suitable piece and add it later.
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Re: WIP - Dave Lister's Jacket

Thanks Talsiri!

Well with Halloween over, I can focus back on this jacket project.
I'm pretty darn close to finishing it up. Here's a few pictures to gander:



As you can see, I'm almost done. There are a few issues I'm having and it's more of the jacket than anything. See, on me, the jacket is a little too short, not because it's cut that way, but because of my broad shoulders. So the placement of the studs across the back look (to me) a little lower than they should. I'm sure I'm being nit-picky about it. The patches are in the closest proximity that I could muster on the jacket from the screen shots I had. I feel that some of the patches could be rotated more like some of the earlier still promo shots, but I noticed that some of them changed their orientation through the series. I think this was due to them being ironed on instead of sewn.

I still need to detach the flap on the right shoulder, but I'm debating what to do with the snap that's left behind. I do have an extra star stud that I could consider placing over it, or I could paint it black and ignore it. I would really hate to pry it off and have a hole in it. I'm unsure if a patch job would look good on it or not. I'm not sure how to do that, if anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

As for the studs, man they were a PITA! Particularly the pointed studs on the front. They worked great on the flap on the left shoulder as it was just a piece of leather and no quilting. They were also the right size for the flap, but I think I should have gotten a size larger so the prongs were easier to bend. Thankfully, I had zippers to work through, but the job on those were still a pain. The best way to attach them is place the on the leather and press them into the leather enough to give an impression. You might have to do this a few times per stud because after you make the impression, take an icepick (or something similar) and poke the hole through. This stretches the leather a bit, so you unpunched impressions might disappear (hence why you may need to push the stud into the leather a few times.

I also feel that the US Air Force Space Command Patch (#10) needs to be removed and moved closer to the snaps on the left lapel. The Rolling Stones patch (#7) needs to be rotated down a bit. I was concerned that the studs would have to be configured a certain way to accommodate the patch, but after getting them on, I feel that it needs to be redone.

The last thing is painting the image on the back. I am currently working on a vector image of Wilma Flintstone on the rocket. I have gathered enough images to help create that. When I get it finished, I will upload it to this thread for anyone who wants to make a jacket for themselves.

I do have something neat to mention. Last night my wife and I were watching Rocky Horror Picture Show and I noticed something familuar in the scene with Eddie. Eddie's motorcycle jacket has a few elements (Sherrif's badge, stars, chains, painted back) that seemed to have been echoed in Lister's jacket. This goes for Frank N Ferter's jacket (patches and pins, in abundance) he wears during the Medusa ray scene. Now, I'm not an expert in motorcycle jacket embellishments and their meanings (if any), but I wonder if there is a connection between RHPS and Red Dwarf when it comes to the wardrobe ideas. It could all be coincidental. I will note that both Red Dwarf and RHPS were filmed in the UK. So it could be something of the UK motorcycle culture. Anyways, I thought it was something interesting.

So I do have a few things to report. I found a better image showing pins #18 & #19. It's not the cleanest picture, but you can plainly see the two pins. I will say that the pin above (#19) is not identical, but was placed there more as a speculation until I could get this image up. If anyone knows what the red star pin is, please let us know.


I am still unsure what the pattern on his hat is. I'm speculating that it's small round pointed studs (#24) in a pattern. The 6 pointed star on the other side could possibly be a larger 6 pointed stud attached to the hat, like the smaller 5 pointed stars on the jacket. I'm still looking for it to prove that. I will create a separate thread for the hat so the info isn't lost in this thread.

I am having a problem identifying one last badge. I noticed it was brought up in another thread, but I wanted to post it here so that the info was together. If anyone has a clue what this pin is, please speak up. The closest I can think is that this pin/badge could be from a fireman's helmet (crossed axes), or another lesser known military shield. I have scoured the internet and eBay looking for eagle shields/badges/pins and haven't come up with anything. This might end up being something I create from scratch or leaving off the jacket until it's found.


Thanks for looking! :thumbsup
Re: WIP - Dave Lister's Jacket

It might just be me, but i see a skull in that badge with the axes crossed behind like crossbones.
Well, I did some more research on the design on the back and found a few interesting things. There's a screen test shot floating around the internet taken in 2009 when the series resumed with the three part Back to Earth episodes. Here's that pick:


Originally they were going to make the lady on the rocket look pretty close to Wilma Flintstone. But when they realized that there would possibly be a lawsuit (and that Wilma would never leave Fred), they changed the woman to look more generic. In the episode Timeslides we see a really good shot of Lister's back. Here you can see that the woman appears to be wearing a space suit:


So why was it changed from Wilma to space girl back to Wilma? Who knows really. Perhaps it's due to the back needing touched up since Back to Earth was shot with more modern and higher resolution and they decided to put it back to it's original look. From what I have read, there were only two jackets made, Craig Charles owns one (the one in the screen test pic) and the head of wardrobe from the series. I'm also trying to identify the large star on the back. I'm assuming it could have been a two piece xmas tree ornament or topper split in two.

I started working on my version of the back image. Seeing that my jacket it's 100% identical (the original jacket was possibly made by Lewis Leathers) I might get a little creative with Wilma. I cobbled this together yesterday and put it away for the night to look at it and decide on it. I know her leg's aren't positioned like the original one, so I'm still pondering a more identical version.


It kind of looks like a skull, but not very symmetrical. And what's the orange blob?

The bottom rocker might say 1st L D.

Since it has a top and bottom rocker it might be a motorcycle gang badge. The Flaming Skull Heads?
LOVE this project!

I'm pretty sure the "skull bones" pins are Totenkopf hat badges, FWIW.

Also, on your mystery shield, does the bottom banner say "IRELAND"?

ETA: Never mind. It definitely says "1st L-something." I'm hot on the trail...
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Red Dwarf was one of my favourite shows when I was a teenager. Great job identifying the patches and pins!
I don't know why, but I found myself obsessing over the skull badge and spent the better part of the past two days searching for it.


Here's what I can see: Jawless skull (Totenkopf), tilted to right (its left), against crossed (European?) battle axes. I think it has crossbones as well. Brown fedora? Banners at top and bottom. Top banner may have been scratched out; bottom looks like "1st L&D" (or some variation like LSD or LAD, which made me think it might be military) or maybe even "THE LAD." Maybe a frog at upper left? Looks like it has mounting holes at top and bottom. I thought it might be a bicycle head badge, but it's flat. It looks too small to be a fire helmet shield. (A lot of hazmat unit patches use a skull with crossed fire axes.) I tried music groups, I tried football clubs, I cast a wide net on eBay worldwide.

My Google fu is not good enough—or it's just not out there. I give up. Hope it helps.
Well, the suggestions about the unknown badge are great! It took me a while to see the jaw-less skull that many of you mentioned. I kept seeing an eagle's head (with the yellow part being the beak). I have broadened my search, but I wanted to let you all know about something i noticed. The bottom rocker might actually say "1st Lad" as in "1st Ladder". I have seen a few firefighter shields with "1st Ladder" on it, but not "1st Lad". These designs were also on the Maltese cross that we normally see here in the states. I'll keep looking though.

Everyone's suggestions and observations are awesome and I'm honestly having trouble deciding what the pin actually is. Perhaps I should track down the person from wardrobe who made the jacket to see if they could remember. LOL I doubt I'll get a response if I do find him/her. They will probably think I'm some smegged out fan. LOL

I also want to say that I have examined the episodes that show the back of the jacket further, and I think that the rocket I posted above is wrong. I think the rocket isn't a cartoon style rocket, but more of an artist rendition of a Saturn V rocket. I've found quite a few references that support that (color placements and shape), but haven't found a photograph in the exact angle. I have found a few that are close and I will be using them to draw up the new version.

I also reworked Wilma. While I'm going to keep the glasses on her for now, I didn't like the placement of her legs. I took some time and moved some lines around to make her leaning more like the one on his jacket. The only difference in mine and the one in the show (besides the glasses and wardrobe), I made her left leg laying down and her right leg (in the foreground) bent at the knee to give a little more "skin" around her rump.

Once I get the Satrun V rocket drawn up and vectored, I put her back together and post the image.
Very good work. I always loved Red Dwarf. Have been kicking around the idea of doing one. Excellent job on identifying the patches.
OK, fine. Let's assume that it is an eagle. Here. It's still not helping with Google.


I'm still seeing a skull, but the angle doesn't make sense, so it's either an unintentional illusion or a clever trick by the original artist.
Hey gang!

Well, I took a break from this project to work on a few other things through the holidays (then the site got hacked) and I'm ready to get back to working on this (I'm tired of it hanging on my chair since October). Although I have a few minor repairs to do on the studs, I think they are looking pretty good. I have found that the large stars on the back snag anything that gets too close, two have fallen off. I believe I will use a fabric glue my wife has used on leather products in the past.

Even though I haven't physically worked on this jacket, I have been working on the rocket that is on the back. Luckily this spring break, my wife and I took a trip to Alamogordo, NM and at the space museum, they had a rocket that was the correct design and length. I took a few pics in the perspective that I need and will be drawing them out soon. I tried to contact a well known local airbrush artist, this guy has not returned my emails, facebook messages, or answers his listed phone number. So I am going to give up on him and try drawing and painting the rocket myself. I;m fairly decent with a brush, but I was wanting something a little more detailed and "thinner" in texture. I have never airbrushed, and I would have to invest in one (which I need to do for modeling) but I'm afraid it would take me too long to learn how to paint the jacket with the quality I am expecting for this project.

I have worked on a few other accessories for this jacket. I created a JMC cigarette pack based on a few fuzzy screen shots and since I no longer smoke, I have worked on a plan to make fake smokes to go in the pack and a few in the hat. I have also been working on Season 2 "Parallel Universe" jacket for myself and the Mrs. (Dave and Deb Lister jackets) and a pair of Holly watches. By no means do we look like anyone from the Red Dwarf TV show, but if we have learned from the despair squid, it could all be a game. :lol

One last thing, there is a promo pic out for Red Dwarf X looks like I'll be making a new jacket when this one is complete. LOL
Smegtastic work on the jacket so far! I've only just come across your endeavours here after I did a Google image search in desperation looking for the mystery eagle badge! I'm afraid I have no further clues to offer on the eagle badge other than it is in my opinion an eagle's head with crossed axes behind it. The writing in the scrolls I'm not sure about, but the theory about "1st Lad" definately seems to fit the fireman's badge theme.

I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, especially for my first post, but as a life long Red Dwarf fan based in the UK I have been spending the last few months (and years before hand dreaming about it!) creating a Dave Lister jacket of my very own. I couldn't believe my luck it when I came across your thread and discovered all the effort you had already put in to this! I too am working from the Red Dwarf DVDs and have no insider information other than the extra features on the DVDs themselves which have been quite useful for detailed close ups. Even with that information I agree 100% with the patch choices so far - Great work!

That said, I've found what I think is a neat solution for the hologram keychain that you may be interested in - Have a search on ebay for "Space shots hologram" - Mounted in a transparent photo keychain it should look close to the "comet hologram" you see on screen.

Fantastic work on the "Wilma" too - Have you made any further progress on that front?

I hope what I have said has helped - Looking forward to hearing from you and looking forward to series X too! :)

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