The Reveal: Vivienne Westwood Challenge

Button1My apologies for posting the results of the Challenge weeks after I said I would!  Especially to Kate and Ruth who submitted their entries promptly. I was hoping that a few more entries might feed through by now.  If anyone is still working on their VW project, please do email me when you finish and I can update this post with your entry.

Kate embraced the challenge very bravely by making a version of a Vivienne Westwood jacket that she has from a self-drafted pattern.  The original is characterized by soft ‘waterfall’ lapels.  Kate’s own version is a gorgeous splash of blue (is it azure or cyan?!) which shows off the design better, I think, than had she used a busy check.  Kate’s design and construction details are in this post (including a picture Kate wearing the very lovely original jacket).  The finished jacket and pictures of are in this post.  Kate, you’re a mistress of skill and style!  Thanks for taking part.

1 Kate

And here’s the always-amazing Ruth.  Ruth chose to make a dress that incorporated favourite elements of different Vivienne Westwood dresses.  She too drafted her own pattern and used the challenge as an opportunity to learn from Draping: the Complete Course (this book has such good reviews – I reckon I know where my challenge is coming from!)   As if this wasn’t enough, she has made a very versatile dress that can be worn in different ways, including off- shoulder.  Clever and gorgeous, you bet!

1 Ruth

1 Ruth, back

Ruth has written several posts about her project: make sure you read the comments too and you’ll get to find out where to get some dangerously cute shoes 🙂

2 RuthThe back story and design experimentation blogged here.

Pictures of the different ways the dress can be worn: here.

Construction details and close-ups: here.

Thanks so much for taking part, Ruth.  You always embrace a challenge with such enthusiasm.

Now, for a little diversion: I found this thesis written by a designer who has worked as an intern for Vivienne Westwood – he describes his experiences in chapter 2.  It’s an enlightening read which might make you feel better if you’ve struggled with your own pattern drafting.  My conclusion is that talent or experience gets you so far but a team of experts, a living model at your disposal and the opportunity to create multiple drafts also play their part in the designers studios.

For my part in the challenge, I slightly changed a Burda Magazine Crossover Blazer pattern (06/2012/#121), aiming for an early 80s Pirate Collection look.  I struggled to find a tartan in the right colour as I cannot bear wearing red (nor orange nor yellow for some reason), whereas blue or green tartan looks great but it also looks like the local girl school kilt… so I ended up with a check, almost identical to Ruth’s, from Unique Fabrics (28 Goldhawk Road).  The inside is of  superfine pincord from Rashid.

Burda Crossover Blazer 06 2012 121 buttoned up 2

Burda Crossover Blazer 06 2012 121  4

This is my first ever jacket, buttonholes n’ all,  which I haven’t been able to wear as result of the freakishly warm weather we’ve been having for weeks 🙂  (Honestly, I’ve seen so much sun already this year that almost all the cellulite off my ass has melted away!)  So, you’re the first people to see this, if you don’t count the various kids that pass through the living room space I daren’t call “my studio”.  What do you think?  Personally I think it’s fine, but the collar is … lazy.  I shall post a dedicated pattern review soon though.Burda Crossover Blazer 06 2012 121  Sleeve buttonhole detailThanks so much for reading, for your helpful suggestions and for taking part.  As Ruth said, it was a difficult challenge, but I hope it’s pushed our skills up a notch and inspired us to try more!

15 thoughts on “The Reveal: Vivienne Westwood Challenge

  1. All brilliant makes from three talented women. I like that you all did such different things. It was a difficult challenge and maybe that deterred some people – such as me for instance – I can’t bear to even think about my recent escapades with tartan – but I think you all rose to it magnificently.

    • Aw, thanks Tialys, that’s very kind of you.

      I thought your tartan top was very lovely (ok, with cardie 😉 )Maybe next time, eh?

  2. Wonderful galery! I love VW style and was awaiting for the results of the challenge.. I love all 3 creations! It’s a pity that there are no more entries.. I would love to make something in VW style if I had more time and skill.. Well done ladies!

  3. These are great and all so different! So sorry to have missed this challenge, difficult to pin down a particular garment to make tho as I love all her design elements.

  4. Thanks for hosting this M. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for you. I love Ruth’s dress – very intriguing and impressive. Are you pleased with your jacket? I like the folded open expressive picture rather than the buttoned up look. I think the covered buttons are gorgeous – never tried that. And why have you banned three colours? I don’t do orange myself but it would look great on you.

    • Oh no, I won’t wear it buttoned up.

      I’ve nothing against the red side of the rainbow, honest, just don’t think the colours suit me. I never wear gold either.

      I make an exception for my 50 parkrun shirt though which is a ‘cold’ red.

    • Thanks, Kalliope, from all three of us! I love copying comments in a foreign language into Google translate. There’s always an exciting second when I’m wondering if the translation will turn out to be rude!!

  5. Love the jacket! When we meet I’ll let you borrow my dress for a day and then you can lend me your jacket!
    Thanks so much Marianna for pushing me (us) in this direction. It was truly inspirational of you and I’ve learned a lot as we went through it together albeit separated by physical geography. I really don’t think I would have attempted anything like this without your challenge. I owe you one large glass of Chardonnay

  6. Hi there,
    I rediscovered VW after very recently watching the documentary, Westwood. I had sort of forgotten how much I loved her as a teenager. Her corsets, I was obsessed!
    So I have a birthday/opening night in Melbourne to go to in two weeks and want to make a homage to her designs, one of which is the jacket you had in your challenge. I have three Butterick patterns: Jacket = 6604 because it has that cross over, a large collar I will change and a waist which I can manipulate. I always seem to buy patterns for their elements rather than the whole item. Dress = 5880 Retro because I love this style anyway and I think it could be a good base for applying a twisted top layer on the bodice or cutting on the bias. If this fails I have Butterick 6094 with the same theory and a twisted skirt. Got two weeks, one of which is school hols and my three kids are home…Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it! Love you blog. Great photos. Gots lots of reading and research to do now.

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