Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Knock off & Giveaway


You may have noticed a little- bitty ‘Pin It’ button over there on the right – Yes, I settled down one evening, put the brain in gear and got to grips with Flickr and Pinterest – all the rest can go to pot but I (think) am active on these platforms at least. I may not Pin too often and forget to upload to Flickr but I have the option now I suppose.

I’d rather have a direct interaction with my virtual friends and the following is an example of what I like…….

Marianna’s latest challenge is a Vivienne Westwood inspired item. I saw a check (plaid) in a local shop quite recently and this was the perfect excuse to go and buy it. I managed to get the end of roll – 4.5m for the price of 3! Can’t be bad. At the same time I bought 4m of poly-cotton for draping purposes.

I do like VW – she wears her own clothes for a start which is a good thing and although some designs are a bit weird, she makes clothes for real people who have curves and short legs and they always look fabulous. Her dresses make the stick thin Hollywood actors look like real women and the real curvy women look voluptuous and delicious. Just look at Nigella and Helena! Two style icons but totally different and they both rock in VW.

I like her because she’s a woman, she’s British, she’s stayed the pace – she just celebrated her 65th birthday, she’s not afraid of the big bad wolf or speaking her mind, and she has adapted and changed with the times.



Using my Christmas present to myself, because you have to be sure you get what you wantDraping The Complete Course,  and surfing for many hours of totally justified research on Goggle images, I have spent many a happy hour in the sewing room this week not actually sewing but draping, designing, pinning and generally having fun with fabric.



In the book – There is even a chapter in the book on VW! But I started with the bias drape camisole and worked from there.


The book comes with a DVD which has yet to be played! Yeah, I know it all….. heard that before?

My inspiration is this (yes, I know this where I’m supposed to link to my Pinterest board but I haven’t built one – the pics are here instead):


So I draped and cut and generally mucked about and this what happened……




The poly cotton was ripped into squares and pinned on Doris: drawn all over with a child’s felt-tip pen: hacked with scissors into a sort of shape: pinned together: removed and tidied up to use as a guide for cutting out the fabric.

Drapey sort of neckline; sleeveless (so far); full-ish skirt with asymmetrical hemline; off-centre bodice point; weird one-sided bodice dart. I’ll be going for a side zip and an in-seam pocket. And I wish I looked like Doris from the side – flat tummy and no sway back!

No pattern, no instructions, no rules – anarchy! Vivienne would be so proud!

The fabric? Cotton/linen blend in muted greys and air-force blue with white and neutral highlights. Here are the bits cut out and pinned onto Doris to get a general idea of the finished dress.



OK, that bit about no rules is maybe wrong…. there is a glaring mistake – can you spot it?

I have some patterns that remain uncut, haven’t even been taken out of their envelopes so they’re up for grabs. You have to follow this blog to be in with a chance and in a random selection of old and new followers who come up with the correct answer in the comments section the winner(s) will be chosen. Will post globally.

DSCN3919 DSCN3920 DSCN3921 DSCN3922


Vogue 8499 – Marcy Tilton Pants and Skirt – size 14-20, Easy

Vogue 1022 – Issey Miyake Pants and long jacket – size sm-med (10 – 14), Average

Vogue 8932 – Jacket and Vest – size 12-20, Easy



Vogue 1312 – Lynn Mizono dress, size 16-24 , Easy

Vogue 1307 – Today’s Fit Sandra Betzina trousers, all sizes, Easy

StyleArc’s Rosie Top – size Aus 12

You can pick one or as many patterns, or even all of them – whatever you want! If there’s more than one person interested in a particular pattern there’ll be a ‘names-in-the-hat’ draw. The selections will be made on the 20th May 22.00 GMT. Please make sure you leave a trail with an e-mail address so I can contact you to get your postal address. 

Most of these patterns were bought in sales – yeah just like the bargains in RTW! Will I never learn? I’d love to able to wear Marcy Tilton because I love her unique style but I just don’t have the hips. Some of the patterns are duplicates and some are just in my stash for no apparent reason apart from the fact that I liked them. And so,one week in to Me-Made-Made ’14 and it’s making me review what’s good and what’s not for me.

What’s not good for me just might be good for you!

Good luck!









27 thoughts on “Knock off & Giveaway

  1. On the top edge of the skirt, none of the plaid strips line up with anything on the bodice and on your left (my right) side there are two dark grey stripes too close to each other running diagonally. I’m sure they can be nudged a little to line up and let the eye follow the strongest grey lines. It is a fabulous start!

  2. I love VW! I would love to be able to drape and pin and cut and copy her amazing garments. It’s looking good so far, and I wouldn’t even know where to start critiquing….

  3. Hello from Oklahoma! I would love to be put in the pot for drawing for the StyleArc Rosie top. What a wonderful idea. Love your candor, work ethics, and style. With anticipation I am, Melissa Brown

    Sent from my iPad


  4. BTW please Pinterest soon! Melissa

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Aha!!! The top and skirt are going in opposite directions. The white lines are above the grey in the top and below the grey in the skirt. I really fancy the stylearc rose top. And I really love your blog!

  6. one of them is upside down , ie the plaid in the bodice and skirt sections are opposite ways up. What a shame. The shape is fabulous, and the muslin looks wonderful. You are very brave to drape such a complicated style in plaid. Don’t give up on this, it could be spectacular. I would LOVE the Marcy Tilton pants

  7. Well Ruth, I didn’t spot it. Even when you pointed out that there was an issue! Maybe I need another morning coffee. I have never done draping and will be watching this journey of yours with great interest – I am sure that you will do beautifully. And can I please put my hand up for Vogue 1022 and Vogue 1307? If you are happy to post to Australia, that is!

  8. Plaid in the top of the bodice is mirror imaged of the plaid in the skirt. I’d love a chance at the Betzina pant and the Style Arc top.

  9. Great work on draping. I would love to be in the draw for the Issey Miyake pattern

  10. Longtime lurker coming out of the woodwork. I think the plaid is upside down for the skirt, as compared to the bodice. But I don’t know if I’d call that an error. I’d call it an intentional design feature!
    And as many others have already mentioned, the Style Arc pattern has caught my eye. I’ve always wanted to give their patterns a try.
    Thanks, Michelle

  11. Well, aren’t you just awesome! Love all the draping, creative work you are doing. enjoy!!

  12. The tartan on the skirt and the bodice are opposite ways up? But then, that could be a design feature…

  13. Yes I agree with everyone else, you have reversed the fabric by mistake for the lower half. Still it’s great, and hugely inspirational to me. I like the Mizono.

  14. Wow, you are really doing some homework Ruth! And you’re so clever to plan and experiment. I hope you have an amazing dress at the end of it and I’m sure you’ll look a star in it.

    P.S. I like the Rosie top

  15. I agree the top & skirt are opposite directions but that could be a deliberate design feature!! I rather fancy the Mizono as well

  16. Studied it for ages thinking I would have to wait for the answer. Like waiting for the for the answer to the times crossword and getting worked up .Only then saw the comments at the bottom of the blog. Phew. 0 out of 10 for my powers of observation.
    However if you spent ages draping the fabric without noticing it yourself then it can’t be all bad. Call it a deliberate design feature.
    So I say the mistake was telling everybody . Lol.
    Rosie top if poss. No postage necessary !

  17. There are no mistakes – just designer details. You are designing, therefore the dress is perfect.
    If no-one wants V1312 or V8499 I would be interested 🙂

  18. The only “obvious” thing I noticed is the plaid not matching. If your really want to part from that Issey Miyake pattern, I’ll take it 🙂

  19. Who wants to match the plaid?? I think it is much more interesting with the “mis- match” –
    Vivienne Westwood would be proud of you!

  20. Your experimentation is impressive- this whole draping thing with keeoing the grainlines straight seems too complicated for me. Re the giveaway I would like the 1022 Miyake pants pattern. Thank you!

  21. Pingback: MMM 2 Dress Week | corecouture

  22. hi, I loved your SWAP. So fun and colorful. I’d love to be in the draw for the Style Arc Rosie and for the Tilton pant and skirt pattern. I look forward to watching your projects.

  23. Pingback: A Day in the Life of a Dress | corecouture

  24. Who needs matching plaids with all the draping? I love it and you should definitely draft a pattern! I would like to be in the drawing
    for the Tilton pant and skirt. I’ve been looking for a pattern to make a simple linen capri and this would fit the bill!

  25. Pingback: Giveaway Winners | corecouture

  26. Pingback: The Reveal: Vivienne Westwood Challenge | Sew 2 Pro

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