The Vivienne Westwood Challenge

Vivienne Westwood Challenge

Today is Vivienne Westwood’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Dame V!

Actually, I don’t think Vivienne Westwood will read this.  So with any luck, she won’t find out that I’m about to blatantly invite you fellow sewists to copy her formidable, subversive style and make the kind of garment that will invite raised eyebrows when you wear it, along with the question, “Is it Vivienne Westwood?”

So that you can reply, “Oh no, just my homage.”

It needn’t be a difficult challenge.  Imagination, a sense of fun and boldness are more important than overwrought patterns and precise stitching.  If in doubt, find the most interestingly coloured tartan you can, use it to make up your favourite T’n’T pattern and voilà!  But if you’re daunted, I’ll try to tempt you over the next five weeks with ideas, tutorials and hopefully a guest post to help you decide on the characteristic Westwood touches that would perfectly suit your project.  On 20th May, I’ll post your submitted creations in a blog fashion show where we can reveal our tweeds, plaid, clinched womanly waists, drapery or big curvy lapels.  Ooh, and some bondage trousers too, I hope!

What do you think?  Pretentious?  Well, just slightly.  But I think Dame V would approve.

What now:

  • Tell your friends, copy the button code into the widget area of your blog if you have one.  Ask for fabric or pattern suggestions.
  • Tell me.  I hate doing this alone.  Leave me a comment below if you want to play, or if you have thoughts on Vivienne Westwood or favourite creations.
  • Do some reading (and window shopping) for now and check back in a week for an update.


UPDATE:  Some home-type upheaval has caused me to postpone the deadline to 7th June which I hope will help some of you who are joining later on.


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23 thoughts on “The Vivienne Westwood Challenge

  1. Love, love , love VW. I have some old Issey Miyake patterns in my stash that could possibly be tweaked. An Issey/VW mash-up!

  2. Well, I have got some plaid fabric which is a failed attempt at a Zinnia skirt and I was wondering what to do with it. It might not be showy enough for a VW but I’ll be checking back to see what’s going on and for some inspiration.

  3. I really admire Vivienne Westwood – sh’s an eco-warrior:
    “She has vowed to shrink her fashion empire despite enjoying a recent surge in profits. Dame Vivienne Westwood, 72, has said she will integrate her environmental beliefs with her business ethics by reducing her contribution to mass production – something which she says is directly linked with climate change.”

  4. I’m so glad that I found your website! Vivienne Westwood is my favourite designer. I was just looking at my Vivienne Westwood Swatch watches the other day for wardrobe inspiration.

    I have been out of sewing for quite a while, but I’d love to at least try. A seamstress once told me that I was too heavy for V.W. style clothing and that I would get negative attention. True, but ouch! I am very, very heavy, but I’ll see what I can do. :D))

    • Great, Laura!
      Thanks for following my board. I enjoyed your Antique pinterest and think VW must get a lot of her inspiration from similar.
      I always think the worst thing you can do if large is to sink into the anonymity of M&S, Next, etc clothing. Let’s celebrate what we’ve got and our differences.

      • Hi! I am sorry that it took so long to respond. I have two books on Vivienne Westwood and one of them said that she studied the construction of 17th and 18th century garments for techniques to use.

        I particularly am enraptured by her pieces with images of antique art on them. I hope to find an image of my own to use – I found an artist on Spoonflower will make custom order fabric designs fabric.

        I am sorry, but I don’t think that I will be able to make anything for this, though. I haven’t sewn in too long. I am still excited about it though and I will try to come up with something so I have it for the future.

      • Thank you for your response. 😀

        I think that curvy women look great in Vivienne Westwood, too, but the seamstress who said that to me was right in that I am not curvy, I am beyond fat (these are my words not hers) and now I weigh even more. I think that she was worried that I would draw negative attention to myself. Goodness knows that I couldn’t even garden or walk without getting derogatory comments. Still, it was my decision to make and I shouldn’t have been such a wimp.

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  6. Oh what am I signing myself up for now?????
    Actually, I’ve just seen a fab tartan/check and need an idea for something to make with it so that gives me an excuse to buy it – so you’re to blame – it wasn’t me m’lord.

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  8. Hi ladies, this sounds a great idea. I stumbled across this blog whilst ‘googling’ to see if there were any VW patterns out there and will be following with interest. My best friend is getting married in August and has failed miserably to find six of us bridesmaids dresses that she liked or suited our varied shapes (from tall and willowy to short and curvy and everything inbetween). In the end end we did a desperation buy of a £20 H&M sale bridesmaid dress…its great on two people and I think we all lost our minds and tried to smile :/. However, to stop rambling, basically the bride and quite a few of us actually are massive Vivienne Westwood fans and me being the amateur seamstress amongst us has agreed to make a sample, today, of a westwoodesque dress…wish me luck. I will send in pics although it wont be tartan in afraid

    • Oh, good luck: it’s an awful amount of pressure both in terms of time and occasion 😯

      Really really look forward to the pics!

      And another reminder we NEED VW sewing patterns.

  9. I’m in – I’ve just made the shirt from the only VW pattern I can find, from her Anglomania website. With a bit of tweaking, it only took six hours from printing to done, and I’m now spending time with some hook & eyes getting the nipped-in ruched waist going on… Think I’ll need to invest in a dress form, though, for more complicated things?

    • Oh wow I had no idea she’d published patterns herself! It’s the sort of thing she’d be into, since she’s really got on eco and ethical production issues (hooray!)

      Could you link the pattern please?

      I’d recommend the Vogue pattern 8385 as it’s very VW style – I’ve made it up a couple of times, very successful. I also made my own pattern from an ebay’d VW top (is that copyright infringement??? Hmmm… best not to think about it).

      Anyway, this challenge looks awesome – looking forward to seeing the results!

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