Westwood homage

I have always been a great fan of the designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. I love how she manipulates and shapes fabric to contour the body. Her Red Label is her ready to wear, more accessible line, examples can be seen here. I also love what she does with plaid/check, tartan and tweeds, in particular the wonderful Harris Tweed for which she is an ambassador.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label - Floral print draped crepe skirt  Vivienne Westwood | Red Label AW12/13    Westwood Womenswear

This is my little attempt at the draping of a wrap skirt a la Westwood! The fabric is a remnant leftover from a make from many years ago, I had forgotten all about it, unfortunately there is not a lot of it. Challenge number one!

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Challenge number two was the fold placement on the waist and corresponding drape, (the extended folds on the waist would be chopped off and waistband added) if not done correctly this could add bulk to the waist and stomach region – not a good look! Matching the plaid of the over-lap to the side front – as seen in the first photograph, was a bit tricky but crucial for the finished garment to look professional. I will of course have to cut a front and back to allow for shaping at the side hips and waist and for seam allowance to be added, I think I have just about enough for that and a bit for a front facing on the overlap. I will incorporate a full lining and I have managed to source a lovely pale burgundy bemberg. I will finish the hem by hand blind stitching and not leave frayed as seen in the photo, as although not unattractive with it being a plaid/check its a bit too Braveheart. So an element of tailoring is called for.

I am unsure as to whether to have the back darts converted to folds, my worry is that it would draw attention to the derriere region, which I could do without. I am also toying with the idea of making the skirt sit lower down on the high hip as opposed to on the waist, for two reasons, firstly, I think it would work well and give a more relaxed look and also because I would have to find the fabric for the waistband from the piece. I think though this may move away from the Westwood aesthetic as her clothes, skirts in particular, emphasise the waist – she is after all a lover of the female form. More experimentation needed I think!

SONY DSCI made this skirt previously without a pattern by manipulating the fabric. With this one, there too were restrictions on the amount of fabric, this was a couple of bits of a curtain remnant. As a result there is no waistband and no hem but it doesn’t suffer because of it. I probably get more compliments on this skirt than any other I have made, which when you consider it cost almost next to nothing, that’s a real result.

Therefore this is an approach that can be quite successful and it is very satisfying, paradoxically because of the constraints when using up a left-over piece. A tailors dummy/dressform is a must though.

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21 thoughts on “Westwood homage

  1. Ooooh, I really like the idea of draping a lot. I enjoy the patternmaking I’ve been learning, but it lacks the spontaneity and visual creativity that the 3D draping will have. Although I have not attempted anything yet. Love the floral skirt you made! I can see why folks compliment it.

  2. I love your skirt made of remnants. That is a lovely piece of art. I, too, admire Westwood, and would love to know how to make my own version of her garments. Looking forward to seeing yours!

  3. This is going to be sensational! Even with the limit of fabric this is going to look stunning – matching the plaid is a wise move. Can’t wait to see it!

  4. My last completely draped garment was made at college decades ago! I really ought to make time to dust off old skills. I went to the VW exhibition when it was at the V&A in London. Wonderful, and very inspiring. Your skirt looks as though it could end up being this winters go-to skirt for you. I am looking forward to seeing the finished article!

  5. Great post! You’re very brave, and inspiring. You’ve just in fact given me an idea here.

    But I need to bake it a little first.

    I think the Westwood look is very you and can’t wait to see the finished article!

  6. So much thought and pinning and re-pinning goes into a great garment and you are certainly on your way to making a dynamite skirt! Remnants…we love them and only if they were just a bit longer!!!!! Your top should be simple so admirers can drool over your skirt once it is done. Can you use your plaid fabric as a pattern for future skirts? Being a plaid it already has straight of grain lines and can be easily traced unto paper.

    • Mrs Mole Thank you so much for your comment, I was just wondering about making a pattern from it. I have added the construction stitch lines and be looking now to actually make up. It’s the sort of situation where once I make it up. I’ll probably kick myself for not making a template – especially as, like you say the check/plaid will help with the grain-lines.

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