Designing Lady Sherlock Holmes || Project Announcement!


Well it appears I rather ruined the big reveal
moment by unwisely titling this video, but if you are a master in the art of avoiding
spoilers and somehow managed not to look at the title before clicking this video, indeed
my next series of projects will focus around a historical recreation of a lady Sherlock
Holmes. If you’ve watched any of these videos you
probably know that I am trash for Sherlock Holmes and every ounce of aesthetic relating
to our favorite consulting detective, and so I only needed the littlest essence of suggestion
from my friend Noelle to agree to do a lady Holmes and Watson duo for Costume College
this year. Noelle, by the way, has just started up a
sewing channel of her own, which I’ll link down in the description below; I suspect she’ll
have some Lady Watson adventures happening over there if you’re curious about the other
half of this endeavor. This video by the way is most kindly sponsored
by a little detective mystery game entitled ‘June’s Journey’ which you can download
for yourself through the link in the description and which I shall tell you more about in just
a bit. The first step in design for all this was
to pick the period. Since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock
Holmes saga was published from 1887 to 1927, that’s a significant range of historical
styles to choose from. Noelle is all about the bustle life, so she
decided immediately to go with the 1887-88 look for Watson. I, however, will have to fly across the country
to get to Costume College, and do not fancy packing a bustle in my already doomed-to-be-overweight
luggage; in any case, I wasn’t entirely convinced that Sherlock, even in Lady form,
would have been much a fan of bustle life. She strikes me as more of a Rational Dress
kind of girl, no? Although I am personally extremely partial
to the turn of the century/ Edwardian period myself, I decided it would be nice if the
two of us were at least vaguely close in time period, so I decided to put Lady Sherlock
in something 1892-ish. This way I can get away with a nice, travel-friendly
bustle pad for silhouette. I also happen to have a republished booklet
of 1891 Butterick pattern engravings, in which one of the designs depicts a literal Lady
Sherlock outfit, so I decided it was destiny. Now if only that pattern still exists somewhere
in the world… So I’m just drawing out the completed outfit
here, with the deerstalker, ulster coat, waistcoat, and sensible walking skirt underneath—a
real one this time, no mere adaptation—but in order to achieve a convincing silhouette,
lots of additional layers will be involved. These will include, of course, a corset, bustle
pad, and a pair of combinations to go underneath it all, which you may be following along with
the process of over on my Instagram page currently. Yes, I will have video diaries for all of
these pieces, but these things do take time, so real-time anecdotes are over on the Instagram
if you care for that sort of thing. I will also need a shirtwaist and petticoat,
but I already have—not necessarily original practice—but reproductions in my wardrobe
that I can use, so I may forgo making new ones just to save a bit on time. Also, yes, technically I ought to make her
a jacket to go over her waistcoat, but as it probably won’t be seen under the coat—and
we’ll be indoors, in California, in the summer, again I think I’lll save that project
for a different time. As is my method, I’m going to attempt to
recreate all of the layers of this ensemble using the techniques that I think would have
been employed within the period. Usually, if you’re familiar with my work,
this means lots and lots of hand-stitched seams. However as this is the late 19th century,
I’m really excited to get to use my antique Singer, which the serial number dates to 1892:
exactly the period I’m working in, so again: it is destiny. Of course there will still probably be lots
of hand work involved; I’ve been reading loads of contemporary tailoring and needlework
manuals to try and work out which seams seem to have been done by machine and which by
hand, and what stitches they would have used. And the appropriate fabric widths. And how the pieces were cut. And precisely how to hold your hand whilst
you’re stitching. Basically there is so much contemporary research
available by this period and I’m so not used to historical sources actually giving
me instructions on how to do things, so needless to say I am thrilled. And I have a lot of research to share. So prepare thyself. And for those of you interested in the menswear
side of things—this isn’t pretending to be menswear in any way, but as there is a
lot of tailoring involved in these garments, a lot of the techniques for cutting and stitching
the clothes will be the same as those used on late 19th century menswear; in fact, one
of the sources I’ve been reading for the waistcoat and ulster coat is written by a
tailor on the subject of cutting these traditionally male garments for women, so that should maybe
provide some interesting insight until I can pick up a proper menswear project. Padded doublets, paned hose, Dandy tailcoats…one
day you shall be mine. Another thing I should touch upon is the issue
of corsetry. Obviously this is an essential part of any
period of dress in order to get anything to sit right. But for medical reasons I shall soon explain,
I’m unable to bend myself into a symmetrical corset, so there’s a bit of exploring and
experimenting with solving things historically, and I’ve just gotten x-rays involved, so
it’s gonna be a journey. So a little side-quest on adapting period
corsetry is also still to come. So I hope you are maybe as excited about all
this as I am; but if for any reason late 19th century isn’t your jam, I’ll also have
a couple of other projects and additional content that I’ll be working on intermittently
in the —probably months—that I will be working on this project. Also I have now thoroughly planned out my
Friday evening ensemble for Costume College but have yet to convince myself that my gala
gown plot is in any way a good idea. honestly at this rate I may just show up in
my combinations, but we shall see. Speaking of fierce lady detectives, our sponsor
for this video—and subsequently, this project—is just that. June’s Journey is a mobile app, a hidden
objects mystery game set in the late 1920s in my merry hometown of New York City, and
follows the story of June, who is embarking on a…journey…to figure out who killed
her sister. It’s part interactive story, and part puzzle
game that is both relaxing and engaging, and it’s free! Personally always like a good puzzle to keep
my mind occupied on stressful days or in particularly anxious situations such as long travel days,
so of course I was quite taken with this one, partly because of the historical setting—but
also because the artwork is just colorful and beautiful to look at. These observation-based activities are actually
also really good practice for what we like to call in dress history ‘slow looking’,
or learning to look deeply and carefully at the details of an object as well as the wider,
more general picture in order to more fully understand it. It’s all detective work, this business of
uncovering and reviving the past—or, at least, I like to think so because it makes
my job sound cool. I shall put a link to June’s Journey in
the description down below if you are also for a pleasant little diversion and would
like to join me on this journey, as well as some of the art supply things that I was using
in this video because I have a feeling there will be questions about that. So that’s all I’ve got for today, and
I think now a little trip to the garment district is in order. Fancy joining me on that?

100 comments

  1. Surprise arting! Character design and just humans in general are on my improvement to do list for 2019. Fluffy furry things are my comfort zone 😊

  2. Enjoy one of the lesser known Sherlock Holmes movies, which gives an interesting insight into costumes of the period. https://youtu.be/oS1aQQRZMDI

  3. Bernadette, have you seen this video on Victorian bicycle clothing for women? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FHObxGoBvA I can just imagine Lady Sherlock hiking up skirts in pursuit of clues!

  4. A lady Sherlock and Watson! What a cool idea! Yes, please stay safe with those corsets. 😳

    I love your passion for the work. Have a great week! 😃

  5. 'Slow looking' is a wonderful term! In art history there is a lot of discourse over the differences between looking and seeing (cough, John Berger, cough) – with 'seeing' meant to emphasise the need for careful, close examination/analysis. But I think slow looking defines that with much more clarity!!

    I've only just subscribed to your channel, but I'm looking forward to seeing this project unfold. I know absolutely nothing about sewing/dressmaking in a practical sense, but I adore the historical details and info you include, it's always such fun to have a fresh perspective on thinking about history and thinking about historical sources. (I'll be curating a small exhibition over the next few months about fairies in the Victorian (& Edwardian) eras, so this will be another fun way to situate myself back in the 19th century!) Also I'm just excited about the vast swathes of tweed to come lol.

  6. Hi, I'm really sorry, please don't be mad, but something about your painting was bugging me and I just wanted to let you know: Lady Sherlock's thumb should be on the other side of her pipe. When the human hand is palm up, the thumb faces away from the body. Again, I'm deeply apologetic, as I know that's an odd thing to get caught up on. Everything else is wonderful and I love how you used the burlap to achieve the pattern of the fabric! Anyway, I love your channel, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Lady Sherlock being made!

  7. on hand stitching vs machine stitching: iv herd it said that even when most people had a sewing machine in the home, all of the visible ones would've been done by hand although i cant remember where it said this it seams like something that would have been considered proper

  8. I love your videos! I am a new subscriber and have a channel myself. I do watercolor every once in awhile, so really enjoyed watching you paint this and then can't wait to watch you go on to sew your piece of art! Glad I found you, new friend! 🙂 Maria

  9. YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE ARTIST!
    I am blown away, so stunning!

    Also, a bit off topic, BUT, i have been curious some time now what exactly you wear on a day to day basis, what style you wear, and if maybe you could document on here or instagram like 10 of your daily outfits, or a few times a week take photos of your oufits, or everyday for a week or two.

    I am just so very curious, and love getting inspiration anywhere i can.
    Especially if you try to dress at least somewhat vintage, i know i would just adore it!

    WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    (And i know on your instagram you have some more everyday outfits on there, but i would love a more in depth look at you wardrobe, if its not too much to ask)

    Thank you for your videos, i am a huge fan of all your lovely work!

  10. +bernadettebanner The title actually intrigued me: Private investigator might have been a career choice for Alice Kingsley after the events of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, &c. How Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ DL might have incorporated a female understudy for Holmes and Watson in his novels is a quite speculative matter, as very few major professions were open to women at the time.

  11. It’s a beautiful drawing, the watercolor and proportioning is spot-on, but I feel compelled to mention her right hand is backwards… thumb goes on the outside in that position

  12. Love your illustration I can’t draw. How come you don’t paint the hands and face just use a bit of blush for the cheeks? Can’t wait to see the outfit x

  13. The title kind of made me hope that you got hired as a costume designer for a new “Lady Sherlock” tv show! Haha ahh still awesome!

  14. I have to say that you are so happy with your vintage Singer that this is actually the same style of sewing machine still used and manufactured in Pakistan. Even though I've grown up using modern day Singers and Pfaff machines I do enjoy using the vintage style machines from time to time. Most tailors use the foot pedal powered vintage style machines. These machines are great when load shedding last for hours and sewing needs to be done.

  15. Oh my goodness, we have nearly identical handwriting! I didn't think there was anyone else who still used that style regularly! I'm an amateur calligrapher, so I endeavor to recreate period handwriting whenever possible.

  16. I just cannot wait to see the preparation journey to make this wonderful garments. The pallet colour is well defined and the contrast between them is stunnig. 
    I think everyone in their life at one point dreamed to dress like sherlock holmes.

  17. I would absolutely love if you and Angela Clayton met. I believe she lives in NY as well. You both have such gentle, sweet personalities.

  18. This gives me so much nostalgia!!! I and my sisters used to write books on Lady Sherlock, making fanfics of the Holmes siblings. Ahh! Those were the days😊 I was around 8 and my sisters were 11 and 14

  19. Lovely watercolour and I am intrigued using the hessian to create the illusion of the check fabric, nice thing to remember 😀

  20. Hi! I just discovered your channel and am absolutely entranced! I am so happy I discovered your corner of the internet because your videos are so inspirational and creative. I am a huge Sherlock fan and cannot wait to see your progress in this creation. As a lover of historical fiction in terms of literature, historical dress is also very intriguing to me. I have slowly been working on my sewing skills but have taken a break for the last year and you're making me want to pick it back up again! I cannot wait to see what else you do!

  21. Would it be less expensive to overnight Fed ex your costumes to your hotel room rather than taking them on the plane?

  22. I guess you are going to build your own corset. But check out Romantasy Corsets, which I included a link to on another of your videos. They do custom designed corsets. ALSO: I have a friend from high school (I am long past that) and she participates in Civil War Reenactments. Yes, there were women camp followers, who cooked, washed & sewed clothes and followed their husbands. Of course there were also "professional" women who followed the armies. (Those who followed General Hooker's Union Army were known as . . . "Hookers!") Anyway, my friend learned to make Civil War era dresses & corsets & accessories for herself and friends so they could participate with their husbands in the Reenactments.

  23. BTW: Are you familiar with Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries? Produced by the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC) they are period pieces set in post Great War, Melbourne, Australia. You can find them on NetFlix.
    ALSO: Are you familiar with The Murdoch Mysteries? Constable William Murdoch uses "modern" forensic science to solve murder mysteries in Toronto, Canada, circa 1890 to 1910. You would love the costumes because they are all of the period. I especially love some of the women's (Lady's) elaborate & elegant costumes. Pretty sure the Murdoch Mysteries are on Hulu.
    Not that you would have much time for that, since you spend two months sewing a "combination." LOL!

  24. I really like your design and how you make the texture using the fabric! I don't know if this will interest you but when doing a paint wash for a background you'd benefit from stretching your paper before hand and then using gummed paper to hold it taut on a stiff board, this is to prevent the paper warping as it does in this video. (Though you can buy paper in a gummed block which does make life a lot easier!)

  25. You have a wonderful ability to draw, Bernadette. Not all fashion designers draw the way you do. Thanks for your videos, they are wonderful. Leonardo. www.leonardocuervo.com

  26. Yes! As a male viewer I would love to see your take on recreating period mens clothing. Ive always been interested in history, but only recently gotten into the clothing side of it and honestly im a little dismayed by the lack of Youtube coverage on the subject. Thanks!

  27. This is a very creative way to announce a project! I love it! I also thought it was very creative to use burlap(?) to add texture to her skirt and overcoat. Ingenious technique!

    I am so glad that I found your videos. I have toyed around with the idea of getting into sewing again, especially when it comes to making historically accurate costumes (I have going to Ren Faire two years in a row to thank for this). They are pretty inspiring, and I love how you have incorporated some styles into modern day. I also love how you incorporate your research in your discussions; I love hearing about the history behind it all!

    Keep sewing! I look forward to seeing a complete Lady Sherlock!

  28. I am so impressed, you have all the skills I could ever want and you have the most admirable vocabulary😊

  29. Oh how fun and I love June's Journey and just about anything about the World's Only Consulting Detective. This is going to be fun!

  30. I my friend and I just recently found your channel, and in talking about it we realized a very important fact: You are the Bob Ross of sewing. You're incredibly talented, sweet a candy, your videos are super relaxing to listen to, and my god have I learned a lot (I didn't know that the running back stitch was an option until I saw it in one of your videos, it made quick work of rehemming a linen skirt, bless). You are a treasure, thank you for doing what you do

  31. The Mary Russell book series is a great continuation of the Sherlock Holmes storyline, check it out!

  32. The outfit is great… BUT, the dearstalker hat and curved pipe are not book original. They were added by ilustrators and theatre actors to make him "instantly recognisable" and to make saying their line with a pipe easier. He smoked straight pipe and wore a dearstalker exactly once, while venturing out into the country. He was a sharp dresser according to the stories, so a lady Sherlock about town would opt, I think, for a version of the latest fashion hat. All that, however, only aplied to a book accurate Sherlock. Popular culture Sherlock is ALL about that dearstalker and cape. Honestly, I don't think most people would know who you were supposed to be without the dearstalker/curved pipe/cape combination.

  33. You could do a vlog JUST showing us how you create her beautiful artwork. You are an artist of paints as well as fabric/sewing! Wow!

  34. I am obsessed with your channel since I found it, you are so inspiring! But I am a little disappointed, that you use the deerstalker hat and pipe… you are being so accurate with your historic research otherwise. Sir Doyles Sherlock Holmes never actually smokes a pipe (unless it is opium) or wears a deerstalker hat, these were ideas of an illustrator, whose image of Holmes became very popular, although it is not in line with the character. It would be more accurate to paint Holmes with a cocaine needle… This bothers me every time I come across this depiction, because the stories are so dear to me.

  35. I loved seeing how you used the burlap bag for texture in the watercolor! As a watercolorist, I am always looking for new ideas and techniques and this is a fun one I am excited to try. Thanks for sharing this painting process video as you discussed your design process for a sewing project!

  36. Wow. Just wow. I absolutely can't wait to see the finished result!!! I long to wear tailored waistcoats, bustles, tailcoats, the works…. but I don't have the talent, or the patience, or the figure!

  37. Just found this in Peterson's Magazine and had to think of your lady Sherlock 🙂 https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101076520137&view=1up&seq=184

  38. My goodness! She sews! She draws beautifully! She can do water colour! Is there anything that Bernadette Banner cannot do? You are a marvel, my dear! ~Janet in Canada

  39. Hello! Since you like Sherlock Holmes, have you ever read Neil Gaiman's A Study In Emerald? It's a rather fun little short story, crossovering Sherlock Holmes with Cthulhu mythos (although no knowledge of Cthulhu mythos is actually required woth the way it's integrated into the story, I know nothing about Cthulhu stuff and like it anyway), you might like it 🙂

  40. Your antique Singer is beautiful. I live just a few miles away from where the Singer sewing machine factory was in Clydebank. To this day, there is a railway station in the town called 'Singer'. I don't know if its available in the US, but there is a documentary on the Singer Factory on the BBC iplayer. In the past, the BBC also did a documentary on the Coats Thread Mill in Paisley.

    I really enjoy your videos, I have long wanted to sew a garment, but found the whole prospect quite intimidating, so never have. Now, I am inspired to make an attempt, and possibly to hand sew it. Not because I want to be historically accurate, but, because dragging the electric sewing machine out, clearing a workspace (in a house with 3 children), threading the machine, finding an available socket, etc, just becomes rather irksome.

  41. Hi Bernadette, I just discovered your channel what is the cream/ivory paint called that you used on the illustration that peels of without damaging the drawing underneath. ? Thanks

  42. I too am a huge Sherlock buff! However, Holmes is rarely described or illustrated as wearing anything but the finest contemporary fashion: generally the typical 3-piece suit of the time. He is famously illustrated for the first time wearing a cap and coat in Silver Blaze, wear Conan Doyle describes it as simply a cloth cap and overcoat, if I remember correctly. The deerstalker and Inverness look took over with the cinematic versions.
    Would you consider doing the gentleman's/lady's look as well?
    Also, do you watch the Jeremy Brett adaptations? I find them BY FAR the most faithful!

  43. You talking about the menswear reminded me of this lovely gent and his amazing wardrobe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b01S7EBQztk

  44. lovely artwork as always and place me first in line for any menswear pieces you might attempt!! super looking forward to how they'd look like under your interpretation <333

  45. Sighs not only can u sew like an angel but u can also draw and paint waaaaaaah… back to my crochet and knitting and a few bits i dabble in but am nowhere as good at as u r in ur fields..

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