Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Close -Up Westwood


DSCN3993Here’s the details on the Vivienne Westwood inspired dress. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that this was created for the Vivienne Westwood Challenge initiated by Sew2Pro and is running until June 7th – so it’s not too late for you to join in yet!

This was the starting point – all VW dresses…..Slide1


I liked the skirt of the black lace dress, the neckline of the black tartan one, the gathered bunched up hems and the checked/tartan fabric.

So this is what I came up with – a mish-mash of all the bits I liked.



So I got to draping directly onto to Doris (despite our slightly differing figures). I used my Christmas present to myself : Draping the Complete CourseUnknown-1 Unknown-2

Rectangles of cotton ripped (to get the straight of grain) and pinned onto the mannequin. Then using a felt-tip pen I drew in the straight grain, armholes, the waist and side seams etc.Unpinned the cotton and tidied up the edges. These pieces then became my pattern.




I had 4m of fabric. It’s a cotton/linen blend, fairly fluid but holds its own.

The skirt is near enough a full circle – made with 4 gores. The back is normal but the fronts have asymmetrical hemlines. The sides hang longer than the middle and they are not even, I even included a selvage edge at one point. There is also a right-hand in-seam pocket. there are two darts in the back for better fitting.

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The skirt is attached to a fitted bodice that has a slightly off-centre point,  a one-sided diagonal dart on the left, sleeveless and a draped cowl neck.


The join of bodice and skirt sits at the waist. The join is covered with a strip of selvage , hand-sewn in place on the top edge only and closed over the zip with a snap. I notice the zip has photographed very blue, but in real life it is pale grey and blends in very well with the fabric.


The secret to the multiple looks is simple hooks and eyes…..


Eyes sewn underneath the selvage waist band



And when folded back in place, the eyes are invisible

And sewn at the points of the skirt’s side seams are matching hooks.


Then you just hook up the hem to one of the eyes, adjust a few gathers and folds and there you have it – a new dress

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Off the shoulder look is obtained by having one shoulder fastening with a button and hole with an extra button sewn under the arm.

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As I’m not that keen on sleeveless tops, I made a little bolero from the leftover scraps.


This is really two raglan sleeves, a bit of a back to hold the sleeves together and a wide band to finish off.


I hope I have managed to answer some of your queries about this dress.

Thanks so much for being interested in the first place, that’s the real inspiration!



31 thoughts on “Close -Up Westwood

  1. Wow! I AM impressed. So many options and looks. Fabulous work!

  2. Wow, that is really impressive. Its beautiful

  3. Wow! Great job with this dress! I am always impressed with what you make, you really knocked it out of the ball park with this one! So many great potential looks.

  4. Well that is fantastic! You have a fabulous original. I think VW would be impressed!!

  5. This is a really remarkable and amazing garment Ruth. You haven’t just copied Vivienne
    but really used the exercise to push the boundaries. Thank you for revealing the secrets of your dress. It’s just so lovely, and I hope you will do more draping and pattern cutting and share it on your blog. Many thanks!

  6. Love it! Thanks for sharing the details!

  7. Ruth thanks for sharing the details – the dress is so sensational, no wonder they thought it was a genuine Westward in the shop.

  8. You’re so clever and have gone beyond the requirements of the challenge to think up something quite complex and very versatile. I have a feeling you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.

    The Draping Course book sounds like a must: I’ll put it on my self-gift list!

  9. How you managed making this dress in a plaid in beyond me, but you go girl! Outstanding 🙂

  10. Thanks for your generosity in sharing all the steps and details to this wonderful outfit. I hope VW sees it herself. I’m sure she’ll love the homage. I really love the shrug too. The outfit looks great on you and also looks like a lot of fun to wear, with all those variations. Bravissima!

  11. This dress has been a great showcase for your exceptional creativity and brilliant sewing skills. Thanks for sharing all the details. Inspirational work.

  12. Ingenious! And looks like you had loads of fun in the process, too!

    • Thanks Maris and because I didn’t have a pattern it sort of didn’t matter if it didn’t work out so there was no pressure – a very pleasant way to sew

  13. So many features and thinking time. Love the draping section and the grain lines…always my favorite! The selvedge strip is shear genius!

  14. COMPLETELY FABULOUS!! I am turning green with envy here.

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