Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

A Day in the Life of a Dress


A little while ago, I clued you off on the Vivienne Westwood Challenge and my antics with draping.



Thanks to Marianna of Sew2Pro for starting the ball rolling and sending me down the rabbit hole on this one.


There’s a lot of skirt going on there



Got a pocket too

















but wait…. that’s not all it does…


Gathers at the front


A side split


Wrapped around the back


Bussle at the back


Short front


With matching shrug and wrapped skirt


Off the shoulder


Wrapped the other direction


Wrapped with pleats on one side


Half wrapped skirt with gathers at back


Shrug and straight skirt


I sewed a couple of hooks at the side seams on the hem and sewed four loops under the selvage edged waist – by hooking the hemline at various points around the waist I can change the shape and drape of the skirt. The left shoulder is secured with a button so it can be undone and buttoned under the arm for an off the shoulder look.

The skirt seams are Frenched so that when I lift the hem for gathers and changing shape there are no raw edges showing.

And the shoes…. Vivienne Westwood, of course… Lady Dragon Sky blue with shiny red lips.



And what’s the first thing my hairdresser said to me this morning?

“Is that a Vivienne Westwood dress?”

Made my day!



46 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Dress

  1. Brilliant work Ruth. I can’t quite believe what you have done there. What about producing it as a pattern?
    It’s marvellous.

  2. I don’t even understand this dress at all! But I want it! Can you at least draw a sketch?

  3. What I meant to say was, this is beautiful and clever work. Well done you.

  4. wow! it is a work of art. nearly a swap by itself, how versitie and it looks wonderful on you.

  5. Oh you’re sensational! I love the idea of opting in for an off the shoulder look (more please, more) and the versatility of wearing it makes me realize that VW and Pattern Magic are very closely related.

    As usual, you’re the queen of style and…. footwear! Love the shoes, love the boots. Thank you so much for joining in my challenge 🙂 I’m thrilled your hair dresser delivered!! It’s exactly what I was after.

    • I’m sorry I couldn’t wait for the official challenge, but I was kinda excited about this dress – and Alison (famed hairdresser) – what a star! Marianna, without you suggesting this I would never have tired the draping and designing – thank you ever so much.

  6. I love it and I’m seriously envious that your hairdresser knows who V Westwood is! Mine is really just familiar with Liz Claiborne……

  7. Very cool! Like Kate and Elizabeth I’d love a pattern!

  8. Wow Ruth, just wow! What a fabulous dress – and those shoes!!! You truly are an inspiration!

  9. Ruth, it is gorgeous and you are clever. And, it is driving me mad because I want to understand how you wrapped it to get so many looks. I’d be prepared to pay for a pattern, or maybe just a set of sketches. Mainly to understand the geometry because, at 5 foot 2 and nearly as broad, I can’t see myself rocking the look as you do. And, yes, I’d love a hairdresser who knows Vivienne Westwood and can talk about more than his next holiday.

    • Thank you so much Antonia. I’ll post some details soon about the construction and wrapping. As for a pattern, I wouldn’t know where to start….It’s one thing knocking something up for yourself but completely different when it’s for other people. I’ll take it as a compliment though, so thanks again.

  10. A dress for any and every mood. Perfect! And the shoes…

  11. Ohmigod, your dress is too too fantastic for words. I love absolutely everything about it, and I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve seen all year! You are so incredibly inspiring!

  12. Wonderful. You are so clever!

  13. This certainly is a fabulous dress. You are so clever…and stylish Ruth.

  14. Magnificent! Please may I borrow your magic wand?

    • Ah yes that thing – apparently sometimes I can read minds, know what other people are thinking and even know what they are going to do before they know themselves – Sorry Kim, it’s broken. But thanks for thinking I have these powers anyway

  15. Fantastic! And I love the shoes!

    • Shoes are what make the outfit – I’m convinced. Same dress, different shoes – different outlook on life and different attitude. Good advice I think – change your shoes!

  16. Love all the different looks you can get by changing the drape. So cool. And what a great unsolicitation you received!!!!

    • I know, I love Alison (said hairdresser) because she is my hairdresser but she just totally said the right thing. I couldn’t believe it when she did – I actually hugged her and I’m not a touchy-feely person by nature. I had a whole 5 mins demonstrating the dress while everyone in curlers, foil and half-pinned hair watched.
      You take care of yourself and son until things cool down a bit.

  17. I love your dress! I’m amazed that it looks fabulous in all its many forms. I bow before your greatness:)

  18. Congratulations on winning this year’s SWAP 🙂

  19. Hi Ruth. I’m totally gobsmacked. It’s looks fantastic. And you even managed to get the checks all going the same direction ,I think.
    And the bolero top!! Brilliant. I’ve been working on my jacket all weekend and it still isn’t finished ,but it’s looking promising. Will let you see it when I get it finished . But want to see your dress.

  20. OK! That puts you over the top! A good thing!
    Fantastic creativity!
    (As also demonstrated with your SWAP win!)
    Well-deserved recognition, by both your hairdresser and sewing peers at Artisans Square!

  21. Wow, I love it, especially with the straighter skirt. The shrug is also gorgeous and looks fab with the dress (and probably also with other things). That hairdresser is definitely a keeper!

  22. Ruth, you rock! That is an amazing dress. Love reading your blog. Sarah @ Sew Drastic!

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  24. That is one hell of a dress. I am so envious of your talent. Beautiful.

  25. Pingback: 2 Piece Leftover Skirt | corecouture

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