Not so elementary, my dear Watson

(Edited with final pictures on 7/24….)

“You Look Like A Female Sherlock Holmes!”

That was the honest compliment from her little brother as she twirled through the house in her half-finished Mc Calls 6800, and he certainly could NOT have given her a more pleasing comment!

She did about half the work.  Which is fair, considering. She cut out the coat pieces, I cut out the lining.  I assembled the lining (because I jigsaw-puzzled the pattern pieces on to 2 meters of fabric while the pattern envelope called for 4…I really should have taken a picture of that…) and she assembled the garment. I pinned the sleeves, she basted and stitched.  I did one half of the collar, she did the other…and so the team effort went on.

She made this modification to the back, because she wanted a bit more of a steampunky feeling:

Because of my haphazard mixed-grain assemblage of the lining pieces we left the coat to hang for a few days so the lining could stretch all it liked before we attached it to the hem.

In all fairness…the lining does not hang perfectly right. I suppose that is because I did that jigsaw-puzzle thing: the grainline is OUT.

The collar was a gigantic disappointment, not because either of  us messed up our side of it, but the fabric was just simply too soft.  The pattern really could have suggested extra interfacing – only the under-collar and front facings got interfaced.  The picture on the left side was taken after I had added some interfacing (the woven fuseable kind) to the one lapel (post-construction.)  It made such a difference that I opened the whole collar to add interfacing to the upper collar piece as well:

Then we got to the hem.

This hem is about 4.3m long.

Hah. If The Daughter can not hand-sew a hem after this exercise, she will never be able to!

But the instructions made it difficult.  This was the hem – basted by her but sewn by me – done according to the instructions.  No hope there. Even on the straightest part of the hem it looked disappointing. (Left side photo:)

So instead of folding it over twice as per the instructions –  which made it impossibly warpy on this curve – I sewed 3 lines of straight stitching around the hemline and she slipstitched it down, and then we folded the lining over that (the instructions say to sew the lining over the downstitched hem anyway.) This was the enthusiastic amateur in about the tenth hour of working on the hem:


Oooh and before I forget: Big Son completed quilting and sewing his gambeson. Which he made from a pattern he drafted himself, I must stress.  I am no less proud of him than of her, but I do wish he would decide to sew something “useful” for a change {-;

(Click to enlarge:)


Worn under the 20kg chainmail he wound and wove by hand.  Muuuucccchhhh more comfortable, says Sir Sewalot!


10 thoughts on “Not so elementary, my dear Watson

  1. 4.6 metres of hem. 20kg of chain mail. The dress that was started in April. Wow, this is one hard-sewing family!

    I would love a coat like that and your son’s costume is cute!


  2. Ek is baie beindruk. Ek het al ‘n paar jasse gemaak en nog nooit kon ek die lining aan die jas se soom vaswerk nie, dit werk net nie. Ek het maar die lining los laat hang onder. Die probleem is ek dink nie jy kan dit doen met die jas wat sulke verskillende lengtes het nie 🙂 Sterkte.


  3. Pingback: Toasted chocolate and the quest for the perfect winter top | kloonpatrone

  4. What a lovely talented and determined family! I love those projects both turned out very well considering the hurdles. Sewing is so rarely straightforward anyway. Congratulations on wonderful sewing adventures with a couple of very cool kids!


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