So I needed a coat. Happily this coincided with my fannish love of BBC Sherlock.
After studying pictures very carefully (read: obsessively), I drafted and tailored my own.
---Wool coat, inspired from Sherlock’s Belstaff coat.---
Well, a year and a bit ago, I made The Coat out of fan-love and need for a new winter coat. People seemed to like it and this post is for those wild ones who are not afraid of a challenge. So - to begin.
It’s the time of year when people are thinking variations on the following:
“Hey, it’s getting cold, I should really get working on that Sherlock coat I’ve always wanted!”
“Hey, it’s getting cold, time to browbeat my friend/sister/mom/boyfriend/grandma into making me that Sherlock coat I’ve always wanted!”
“Hey, that bitch jessamy says she won’t make another coat, how unreasonable, maybe I’d better learn what it takes to get a Sherlock coat!”
“Hey, make a coat? Please. I gots money, my name is Mycroft Holmes, point me in the direction to throw it!”
If you fall into any or all of the categories, and decide to walk the path of fandom madness and make your own after much obsessive research and multiple viewings of the show and pics, here’s links and some thoughts on patterns and purveyors of Sherlock coats. Read on!
Part one - ‘I can sew and don’t mind if the coat is a little different as long as it has the right shape. And I need a pattern to follow, otherwise it’s hopeless.’
You are a woman (I assume) and want to make a women’s coat (i.e. one that accommodates bust) and have some experience sewing. If you want one that is a reasonable facsimile in shape, the following patterns are good. NOTE: All patterns are womens’, so the coat buttons opposite to what a man’s coat does. If you want it to look more like the Belstaff Sherlock coat, you have to reverse the buttoning on the front.
Burda ankle length coat - www.burdastyle.com/pattern_sto…
Pros - Good length, has the patch pockets (minus the flaps), the upper back is fairly similar, as is the collar. You can look at the pattern instructions online to see what you are getting into. Cons: You have to download the pattern and assemble it, it’s an advanced pattern and the instructions are text only, no pictures. Also, the back skirt doesn’t have the pleats for that flare, there’s no upper back stretch/vent pleat, no welt breast pockets, no collar band and no cuffs.
Vogue 1266 - voguepatterns.mccall.com/v1266…
Pros - Good length, has nice flare, has an option for the same split-style cuff as the Sherlock coat, and the the double-breasted version has the right collar, minus the collar band. I like Vogue patterns, they tend to be well-done and have pretty thorough instructions with pics. Cons - doesn’t have back waist seam or pleats in the back skirt, no upper back stretch pleat, no patch pockets or welt pockets, no collar band.
Vogue 8346 - voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8346…
Pros - good length and a lot of flare, View A has good collar. Cons - doesn’t have back waist seam or pleats in the back skirt, no stretch pleat in upper back, no patch or welt pockets, no collar band. Also doesn’t have cuffs.
Burda 4127 - Pros - Has the length, cuffs, collar and a back-belt. Cons - Out of print, you have to get it from a private seller. No patch pockets, welt pockets, the back skirt pleats, upper back stretch pleat, yadda yadda.
Part Two - ‘I can sew pretty well and adapt patterns, if I know generally what the pattern shape for the Sherlock coat is.’
Weirdly, I was the first person on the internet to share my pattern sketches. SKETCHES - they are not graded patterns! They are not perfect, as I am sure you will see. I would always recommend doing a test coat up in cheap muslin to make sure that you or I didn’t make a hash of the patterning.
Go to my LiveJournal to this post [ jessamygriffin.livejournal.com…
] to see the pattern sketches. I haven’t edited it since making it, so also check comments for some further discussion. If you are interested in sporadic posts about my frustrations on the building of this, this is the master list of posts on the topic ( jessamygriffin.livejournal.com…
Alternatively, look at my Tumblr posts 1. jessamygriffin.tumblr.com/post…
, 3. And jessamygriffin.tumblr.com/post…
Part Three - 'Fuck that shit, I am going to make the best Sherlock coat EVAH, so I need ALL THE DETAILS I CAN GLEAN. This means I am NOT making a ladies’ coat, it will be a MANS’ coat, just like Benedict’s!!!'
So, good luck with that, I went that path, post Season One. Hence, my comment above that my pattern isn’t perfect - I got the collar band wrong, the belt slightly wrong. I was working from the moody lighting of screencaps from S1. S2 is much better for pics of The Coat! Also, I had to settle on an imperfect fabric and buttons too. The Coat passes as Sherlockian and Belstaffian from up three meters away, though, so can’t complain.
Making a working replica - This process will be lengthy and time consuming. It will be worth it, if you have the sewing chops and time.
Firstly, I highly recommend this book, Tailoring [ www.amazon.com/Tailoring-Class…
]. I wanted to try the techniques and materials and under-building a pro would to see if it made a difference in the final product. It does. This book was instrumental in teaching me how to do it. You learn how to press wool, how to build padding, how to do pad-stitching. It has all you need, if you are going to do this seriously and are not a fashion student already.
Secondly, again, check my LiveJournal [ jessamygriffin.livejournal.com…
] and be sure this is what you want to do. I never studied sewing formally, though I’ve done it for years, and this was one of my most challenging builds because I had to design and draft and sketch from the ground up. People who follow, please drink my sweet tears of agony over this project - at least you won’t be draping and flat-patterning yours completely afresh. Again, make a test coat. Always!
Thirdly - The Real Prop Forum has an excellent thread on the Sherlock coat [ www.therpf.com/f24/sherlock-co…
], and a gentleman named Ray actually bought a Belstaff and was kind enough to take some detailed photos of buttons, fabric, and the lining. Go. Read the whole damned thread. This is where the true devotees of authenticity gather to discuss things. Other people put up pics of coats, link to their blogs. It’s a good place, though not a lively one.
Part Four - 'Ya know, on second thought, I can’t be arsed. I’ll buy one from a costumer. Or just use your pattern sketches and go to a tailor, ‘cuz I am made of money, doncha know, just pick it off me.'
No problem, there are a couple out there.
Cosplaysky [ cosplaysky.com/sherlock-holmes…
] is making them in wool and linen, I hear mixed reviews, they seem good for cosplay purposes and some general wear but they need to correct some details. Though I understand that they will work with customers to tweak things. Pros: Cheapest you’ll likely find a Sherlock facsimile.
Abby-workshop [ www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SHERLOCK-HO…
] from this place on e-bay (costume-shop-2008 [ myworld.ebay.co.uk/costume-sho…
] ) also seems to have one. Again, though the hang of the coat seems to get good reviews, the details like button spacing, pocket size and button choice don’t seem quite right to my eyes. It’s close, though.
Denver Bespoke - from $785. No, it's not cheap, it's what you pay for real tailoring. It still doesn't look quite right, the back pleats. [ denverbespoke.com/?tag=sherloc…
Magnoli Clothiers - $925. Pretty good, based on a fan's measurements of a real Belstaff. The red buttonholes on the back belt are a mistake, and the belt looks a bit soft and the pleats need pressing. [ www.magnoliclothiers.com/sherl…
Celestial Toymaker [ www.facebook.com/media/set/?se…
] I know that this maker supposedly got the correct wool and is supposed to be offering them for sale this autumn of 2012, but the site isn’t up yet, so… who knows. Likely to be expensive.
Anyways, that’s the master post for links! Fire away any asks, though if it’s for deep-down sewing questions, I may just mention again how the Tailoring [ www.amazon.com/Tailoring-Class…
] book saved my ass and made The Coat look professionally done.
I did it. So can you.
I am so, so fucking happy with how it turned out, it beats the cosplaysky ones sold out of China hands down. Details, details. The cosplaysky ones are good, and one comes in linen so it’s nice and light, but the buttons on the back of the coat are too far apart, for one. The buttons are the wrong type, as well. STILL.
I am sorry - I do make costumes, but this piece was a work of obsessive love and therefore not worth any amount of money you could offer - the amount of time put in was horrendous. Not to mention the search for the best button, the hand-sewing, and the fact that I looked high and low, found the best wool at a good price and BOUGHT THE LAST PIECE.
But. I love it. *pets coat* We are very happy together.
Next project - the fur collar seen briefly, too briefly in The Great Game when Sherlock is in Minsk. Black fur. Pale skin. Hngh.