Waston Coat Investigation

‘There is nothing like first-hand evidence.’
– Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

Some sewing projects include so many unknown factors that I don’t feel comfortable starting until I have conducted a little background research.

In the case of the Watson Jacket by Papercut Patterns, I was faced with a new garment type (outerwear), a new-to-me pattern company, and a design flair (the caplet) that felt both out of character and a good fit for my romantic historian style story. Most RTW coats and jackets fit me too roomy in the bust and/or are too snug in the shoulders. I am anticipating at least one round of muslin fitting and pattern adjustments to ensure both my bust and shoulders fit comfortably.


So, I wanted to do a little research into this coat and see what others had to say about it, specifically if there were any common issues with the instructions or the general sizing.

What others think of Watson

FluffyStuffy looks super cute in her coat, and she beat me to the “Elementary…” quote as blog title. Sewists love puns. 🙂

She did not have to make any alterations to the size small she made, but she also notes that she usually doesn’t need to make any alterations to the Big 4 patterns (Simplicity, McCalls, etc.) and I usually do have to make some alterations to around my lower back and upper torso.

That isn’t to say she didn’t make tweaks to the design. She crossed the front facings a bit more than suggested, lining up the front double breast edges with the princess seams.  Jump over to her page and take a look. I like this detail and I will see if I can replicate it.

Thread Den offered some suggestions on the construction that I think will be most useful once I have the pattern in front of me. Like Fluffy Stuffy, they interfaced more pieces that the instructions suggested.

Tilly and the Buttons made a version of the jacket without the cape and one with the cape. Her color palette is much brighter than mine, but she did inspire me to look beyond the gray wool that I had been planning to use. Originally I was going to make this out of a gray wool I got from my grandmother’s stash. However, I am making two gray pants this year and perhaps another color would be better. (Navy?) deep burgundy? forest green? maybe a light color? Celadon? Olive? Something that goes with brown and gray?

Tilly did note that her adjustments were the usual ones she makes for fit, so that reassured me. Both she and Thread Den noted that the shoulder seam of the cape puckered a bit, so I will be sure to make a mockup of this first. Maybe my broad shoulders will suit this caplet just fine. 🙂 In her capeless version, she calls attention to some seam trimming that is needed if one uses thick wool.

The Watson Jacket made by 459km as the Crow Flies looks to be the right fit and weight of fabric for my vision of the coat.

The Watson Jacket is also “highly recommended” on the Sewing Pattern Review page by all five reviewers.

Styling Watson for Me

I might change the collar to stand up straight to offer more warmth around my neck, like one of these three options.

One of my concerns about the coat is its lack of a hood for someone living in a rainy city, but I think I have a solution:

My husband laughed at me when I said I wanted one of these umbrellas. But I like to see where I am going! There is a story we like to tell in the PNW, that “real” PNW residents don’t carry umbrellas. It is true that I am more likely to throw on a really good waterproof coat with an ample hood to run from the car to the shop, or between buildings on my lunch break. But if I have to walk long distances, I carry an umbrella on those really soggy days. I know I’ve gotten off-topic here, but there is something romantic about strolling through the city on a rainy day, window shopping and sampling food at the street market in a cute handmade coat and my see-through bubble umbrella.

I envision wearing this coat with fitted pants and jeans, pencil skirts, and pleated tapered trousers like those in the photo (I’m hoping my Lazo trousers will work.) It defintely is more in line with the Romantic Historian style story, though I think with the collar change and the right accessories it could be modernized a bit.

More thoughts on Watson – 3/20/17

So I’ve been looking at the versions of this coat, as well as wool coats with capes in RTW fashion, and I’ve decided a few things about the placement of the caplet.

The hem of the capelet should hit above the elbow joint and under the bust. What I see a lot of is capes that hide the elbow bend and mostly widen the body. In the RTW realm, capes either hit above the elbow or come down to the waist (and thus catch the arms when they rise up) which is a different garment entirely than what I am making here.

One of the reviewers on Sewing Pattern Review recommends cutting the cape on bias to i, but also noted it requires fit adjustments around the bust.

Honestly, I haven’t been loving the final makes I am seeing on other, real life sewists. It isn’t the silhouette I fell in love with. I know that the demo version on the model is like all marketing images – idealized and posed. In contrast, nearly every person who has made a pair of Ginger Jeans looks divine and reinforces my desire to make the pattern.

But Watson. Oh Watson. I want to be excited about you again.

Maybe you just aren’t my style. I thought you were. But I could have been wrong. The longer I stare at you, the less I am certain about you.

Forging ahead with Watson – 3/30/17

Ok, I’m excited about this again. Or…at least I’m committed to making the garment and seeing where it takes me.

After taking my lukewarm feelings and concerns to Instagram, Morgan noted that she had heard from others that Papercut Patterns run a little big and both she and Brooke noted that the weight of the fabric matters a lot here. Many of the examples have been made in coat-weight wool, losing the drape of the cape and giving a bulkier look to the coat.  I’ll use a lighter weight wool, which will mean this will be a spring/fall coat rather than a fall/winter coat.

But that is ok. I just discovered Pauline Alice patterns and there is a gorgeous trench coat pattern that I have to make for winter. More photos here and here.  (I also have a long wool coat from my grandmother that I look forward to updating a bit.)

So when will I start the Watson Jacket? Probably later in the summer, to have it ready for Autumn 2017. Stay tuned.

Have you made Watson? What was your experience? Did you blog about it?

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