The “Case of the Melting Detective” Outfit
Fabric: 5 yds brushed wool tartan $34.95 (£22.13), purple duvet cover for lining from stash.
Pattern: Construction based on Simplicity 2517 ($1.99) but significantly altered for my big head, overall shape and (lack of) stature.
Notions: Black skull button $3.75, 8 cuff buttons $3.80, 8 Spectemur Acendo buttons $6.40, fusible interfacing & thread from stash.
Time to complete: 32 hours (this was a biggie).
First worn: 27th August 2012.
Wear again? Yep.
Total Cost: $48.90 oops my most expensive to date I think, but I console myself that’s only £30.98 so not too bad for a hat and coat.
I have a confession to make. I read the challenge brief wrongly. It was only last week when everyone started going on about looking forward to the Children’s Book Challenge that I realised that this week’s inspiration had to be taken from a kid’s book or novel rather than any book or novel….it’s a blooming good job I didn’t go with my original plan of Eustacia Vye gets consumed by Egdon Heath ensemble!
However, in my defence, I have been reading Sherlock Holmes tales since I was a young teenager and my love of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales has stayed with me ever since. I’ve also been delighted throughout the years with the various audiobook, radio plays, tv and film versions of the consulting detective. I am Sherlocked. He’s our British super hero (far better than James Bond…who frankly isn’t fit to kill the Speckled Band that slithers down Sherlock’s bell pull). Brainy is the new sexy.
So this week I’ve been having a complete Sherlockfest whilst sewing. I’ve watched 2 Basil Rathbone movies, the 2 latest Robert Downey Jr versions, the first series of BBC’s Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock, listened to numerous audiobooks from my library and watched the entire 4 series of Jeremy Brett’s The Adventures/Return/Case-Book/Memoires of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve been in heaven. All it leaves for me to do now is to tell you the tale of the Great Rat of Sumatra…..actually no, the world is not ready to hear this yet, I’ll leave that one up to Moffatt and Gatiss.
I nearly made this for the Reality Check Challenge as I don’t actually own a coat. I used to have a coat, back in the UK, but for some reason I seem to have mislaid it in my trip across the Pond. And now I live in Arizona there isn’t much use for coats (this could also be due to me growing up in Teesside and being ‘ard as nails….we never used to wear coats down t’disco).
But why I chose to make a double layered and lined wool inverness cape in the middle of August when the temperature today is 110F/43C I’ll never know. Dingbat.
And OK, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia would tell me this coat and hat are a bit costumey, but have you met me? I am Mrs. Costume, and honey you should see me in a crown. (Yes, I did just engineer that whole sentence so I could reference that, but seriously you should see ME in a crown).
So you see those ruddy red cheeks in these photos, that aint rouge…..that’s me, despite hiking the air con up whilst I took the photos, slowly melting in the heat of my wool deerstalker and inverness cape. Blimey I got hot. But no pain no gain when it comes to Sew Weekly!
I also had lots of plans for the photoshoot, but as you can tell if you spot the zapper remote in my hand again, I was taking my own photos again, so it took double the time and it was hot, so I didn’t track down my magnifying glass (which has to be somewhere around the house….unless it’s in my coat pocket in the Atlantic), chemistry books or rearrange the furniture in my study. I did start taking photos to fit a story that included an Edwardian wedding dress and parlour maid’s outfit I’d made previously, but it was too darn hot. You do get to see my bedroom though, it’s slightly London London London…please try not to notice the unmade bed.
I used a men’s pattern, Simplicity 2517 as the basis for my cape with quite a few amendments….decreasing the breath across the shoulders, increasing the hip width, shortening the arm length (though keeping enough to cover my hands because I like it like that), increasing the length of the cape by 3 inches because it seemed a bit weedy according to the pattern. Otherwise it was pretty straightforward to make. The only thing I wish I done differently was I forgot that the height/placement of the pockets would be the length of a bloke’s arms…..so the pockets feel a little far down for me.
I’ve added a few extra nerdy details to keep me happy. The buttons down the front of the coat bear a crest and the motto “Spectemur Agendo” (let us be judged by our conduct, or actions) which I thought pretty appropriate for Holmes. On the top of the deerstalker I opted for a black skull button instead of the recommended fabric covered one….just in case Mrs Hudson takes my skull…..again. And as a nod to my current favourite incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, I added a single red button hole on the collar.
Anyway, as you can see, by the end of the photo-taking, I melted.