Stripy Westwood Wannabe T

Moving swiftly on, here’s my self-drafted Vivienne Westwood Wannabe 3/4-sleeved cowl-neck T made from the same bamboo striped jersey.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Burda 2011-08-121 pencil skirt; 2 TopShop mullet skirt; 3 TopShop Martha jeans; 4 Refashioned RTW mullet skirt;

The Inspiration & Pattern


I had enough of this limp & not-fit-for-a-Breton-T stripe jersey left to make another garment. As I wasn’t inspired, I just went for a long sleeve variation of the same old cowl neck fitted top idea. Figuring out how to add sleeves to Vogue 1282 would be more effort than I want to spend. So I picked another Vivienne Westwood design that looked easily achievable using any fitted Knit Blocks:

Vivinne Westwood stripy T

Vivinne Westwood stripy T

Block Used:

0 ease Fitted Darted0-ease Stable Knits Darted Fitted Top Block (Bodice & Sleeve)

Design Changes Made


  • Front Cowl:
    • Pivoted side bust dart to shoulder so the dart allowance could be incorporated into the cowl drape.
    • Cut & spread the Front Bodice to create cowl drapes. I chose to do this from underbust up & to split the amount into separate rows of cut-n-spread because I thought this will give me cowl drape while retaining a fitted silhouette.
    • For more exaggerated drapes I added pleats to the shoulder seam & to minimise the risk of boob exposure I tapered the neckline back to a narrower width. For a more natural looking drape, I prefer to cut extra fabric & drape the cowl on Q, my dress form. I don’t like it when such drapes are too even / symmetrical. The extra fabric extends up from shoulder-armscye points, then across a bit above the shoulder-neck points. After draping the pleats I wanted, the excess fabric was trimmed to pleated shoulder seam + seam allowance.
    • Back neckline I was going to lower & maintain the neck curve. But I got lazy & went for straight line with cut on facing…because the Vogue 1282 top I was sewing at the same time had the same back neckline treatment. In retrospect, I should have used a binding like in my Burda 2013-12-119 top. It would have been cleaner & less chance of a facing flipping out on me.
  • Front bottom drape: This is essentially an unstitched dart.
    • After deciding where the bottom of the drape will be on the right side seam (ie the dart point), I folded the paper across to form one leg of the dart, then bring this up to where the top of the drape will be on the left side seam (ie the other leg of the dart). Across because you can see in the original design the fold line is almost parallel to a line of stripe.
    • Then I trace the rest of the Block below the fold.
  • Shorten to desired lengths:
    • Bodice to a couple inches above full hip, Sleeves to 3/4 length.
    • I made the hems straight to make it easier to sew a wider hem. But this meant the hem at the side seam could look weirdly pointy. So I reshaped the back side seams slightly to get closer to a right angle to the hemline. This also helps with the right side steam stripe matching as the unstitched dart modified the angle of the side seam blow the “dart point”.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • Stripe-matching: See previous post about how I dealt with stripe matching in this PITA wiggly stripe fabric. It wasn’t possible to match the stripes 100% because of my pattern’s uneven front & back side seam heights. So I sacrificed the matching near the armpits – even going as far as letting the sleeve-bodice seam intersections not match. Somehow I managed to get a stripe going from the bodice to the sleeve in one armpit which I thought was rather neat. Too bad the other side was off a little bit. At the bodice hem, the left side seam draped area was never going to match. But on the right side I ended up trimming a bit of width off the hem & got the stripes to match pretty well.
  • Stablisation: Again, the back neckline & the armholes were stablised with fusible interfacing to fight the gravity-compliant tendency of this viscose jersey. As this is long-sleeved, the shoulder seams were also stablised so the extra weight of the sleeves won’t stretch out the shoulder seams over time.
  • Cowl: I’ve used the same technique on another VW inspired top. But this time it wasn’t so successful. The difference was the other top had a fitted lining which controlled the cowl drape. This top is unlined. So the extra width just wanted to spread & droop all over the place & get in the way of my forward arm movement, especially as my armscyes were all stablised & not stretchy. I ended up having to tack the drapes in place to maintain the folds. While the drapes still look a bit messy, at least the armsyces now feel comfortable & unrestrictive.

The Verdict

It’s an OK top. It’s one to slouch in rather than dress up in. It has just enough caffeine kick to keep me awake, but not enough to shout about.

There may be a little bit too much drape. My thin & droopy fabric doesn’t help. So it looks more sloppy than the VW original. I probably should have removed some width from the unstitched dart’s fold  so that it hugs the body there & are less likely to spread open. But I just wasn’t interested enough to want to fix this in the top since it already looks sloppy in the cowl area.

So a caffeinated slouchy top it shall remain. And no doubt get more wear than its dressier siblings!

Westwoodesque Stripy DK V1282

So let’s start with the Vivienne Westwoodesque top inspired by blogger Tia Dia’s vavavoom stripy dress version of Donna Karan Vogue Pattern 1282.

The Pattern

Tia Dia's vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s decision to stick with the pattern’s grainline instruction while working with her stripes was genius. It’s so simple, yet the result is so much more interesting than even the Donna Karan original.

I also liked her idea of swapping the armhole facing/binding for an extended armhole edging/band/sleeve. I wanted mine even more extended, but wasn’t sure it’d be comfortable with extra fabric in the armpit. So I adapted the armhole band style of another designer Vogue Pattern – Vena Cava V1258 (which seems to have totally disappeared from the Vogue Patterns website!?!).


I actually made V1282 before, but I didn’t like how the result looked on me with my short-waisted inverted triangle shape, gravity compliant boobs, & age-compliant spreading middle. I think DK’s design would look better on the small busted or the hour-glass shape (which Tia Dia has). So this time I went back to the original pattern & made different adjustments to it. (So glad I trace pattern nowadays rather than wantonly chopped them up with the very first make!)

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap pencil skirt; 2 Style Arc Antoinette trousers3 Self-drafted princess pencil skirt; 4 Refashioned A-line skirt5 Self-drafted pleated skirt

vs my previous V1282

Size Used

Size 4 again – instead of the recommended size 12 & my current norm of FBA’ed size 8.

Changes Made

It’s rather hard to figure out how to assess & adjust these non-standard patterns that DK is so fond of. So there was a fair bit of making it up as I go along…

Fitting changes
  1. Forward Shoulder & Neck + Small Arm Joints (???): shortened front at cross-front level, made back shoulder more square (move shoulder-armscye point up/forward).
  2. Tweaked Center Back seam to better fit my shape: caved in at the top for rounded upper back, caved in at lower back, add with at hem for larger (than size 4) hip.
  3. Shorter Torso: shortened at the hem.
Design changes
  1. Removed design ease from Center Front & raised cowl neckline in the process. I initially used the waist width as my guideline – I wanted the top to be fitted here – but ended up removing more at the top (neckline) & less at the hem. I was worried the hem would be too tight, but I didn’t mind removing more from the top because there were so much ease to begin with, plus doing so raised the cowl neckline further to minimise the risk of wardrobe malfunctioning! 🙂
  2. Widen shoulder for a cap sleeve rather than sleeveless look. Added strips of double-layered armhole bands except for about 3″ at the underarm, which was finished with facing/binding per V1282 instruction.

I originally wanted to incorporate some sort of asymmetrical side peplum as well by cutting a wedge off the right back below waist & somehow extending the left back below waist to form a peplum on the right hip. But my brain could not compute the pattern needed for this, especially when factoring in how this might affect the stripes. I was going to wing it during cutting out. And of course I totally forgot WHEN cutting out. Oh well, never mind.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • See previous post about how I dealt with stripe matching in this PITA wiggly stripe fabric.
  • Worried that this viscose will stretch lengthwise over time like other viscose knit I’ve worked with, I stablised the back neckline & the armholes with fusible interfacing.
  • 2-sew-armhole-finishingFor the armhole, after stitching & turning the bands right-side out, the band was sewn right-sides together to the upper portion of the armhole first, then the facing/binding was sewn right-sides together to the underarm portion of the armhole – overlapping the bands slightly, the band is then pressed out while the facing/binding is pressed to the inside, the whole armhole is then top-stitched to secure the band seam allowance & facing/binding.
  • 2-sew-boneStayI replaced the weight at CF cowl tip with a boning stay that gets tucked into the bra to keep the cowl from gaping if I lean forward. This is just a short piece of plastic boning encased by self-fabric & one end sewn to the CF cowl tip. I read about this trick in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques. Some other blogger also used this trick but I can’t remember who it was damnit.

The Verdict

Much MUCH happier with this tweak of V1282! Feel much less dowdy in this version. And I like the mini-wings. Cute top. But still not sold on the B&W stripes as my aesthetic has become much more Crayola with age 🙂

Designer Love Child Wannabe Python peplum top

With pretension to be the Love Child of Vivienne Westwood & COMME des GARÇONS it’s no wonder this last snake was a Diva from the very start. After the first few seams it all became a blur. So forgive me for just jutting down what I remember & not making much sense.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1-3 Burda 2011-08-121 skirt; 4 Altered drindl skirt; 5 TopShop skirt.

The Design & Pattern

So here are the inspirations…

I’ve always loved Vivienne Westwood’s adaptation of historical costumes & traditional tailoring with a twist of punk. I had this top bookmarked in a book on VW I own for ages. I thought the drape might be a great way to feature the New World Snake. Forgive my ignorance about the different types of corset…Is this 18th century corset style? Anyway, I was hoping it’ll give me some cleavage along with ever enticing cowl drape. Sleeveless wouldn’t be so practical for me since I’m a tropical baby. And waist length again would leave too much cold inducing belly airing. So I decided to add this side peplum detail from my early love – Comme des Garcons S/S 1987 collection. I had attempted a Wannabe before (shown by the sketch, the very wearable result long lost in the move across the Pond). I like how the peplum emphasizes the waist where it’s most visible – at the sides when viewed from the front/back. And I like the extra kinks of drape on either side of the center panels.

For the pattern, I adapted the instruction in Waisted Efforts: An Illustrated Guide to Corset Making for a 1690 style corset. The reviews for the book on Amazon weren’t great. But I bought the book in a bookshop way before Amazon. And I’m glad I did. I like the fact that it’s written for theatrical costume designer / patternmaker & focuses on pattern-drafting. I like that while it covers historical info it’s practical, taking into account that actors need to be comfortable enough to move & perform. And that actors come in different sizes & shapes. So creating a custom “French Block” (looks exactly the same as a Moulage!) is key. The patterns are derived from the “French Block” so again customized. I don’t think French Block is the same as sloper drafting taught in fashion schools as one reviewer said because most sloper instructions include wearing ease and seem to be drafted for standard (ie idealized) shapes. The French Block shown is skin tight and designed to fit all shapes & sizes – eg there was one showing rounded upper back adjustment. The inclusion of the French Block also makes these gridded patterns different from those found in other historical costume pattern books I’ve seen. Those give only one size. Here if you put in the effort you can figure out how to draft your own custom fit patterns based on your French Block rather than just scale up the gridded pattern. And the heavily punctuated, phrasy style of writing does not bother me at all. In fact, I find it much easier to understand than very very long sentences with no punctuation marks. Different strokes I guess.

Block Used:

My Kenneth King Moulage of couse!

Design Changes Made

I think this is a case of pictures worth a thousand words. So have a couple!

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

Sorry, following are really just notes for myself & not intended as proper sewing instruction for you guys. The construction order for this was rather complicated to figure out.  So if I don’t write down what I do remember it’ll be a royal pain to recreate something like this again. If they happen to be useful to you too that’s great. The usual pressing, grading, neat seam finishing along the way applies if you want to try it yourself!

  1. Shell:
    1. Stabilize CB with interfacing. Sew CB invisible zipper, then CB seam above zipper.
    2. Sew & top-stitch Inner Front Princess seams, Back Princess seams.
    3. Sew Sleeve & Cuff Underarm seams, then Cuff right side to Sleeve wrong side. Turn cuff out & tack/stitch in the ditch at Underarm seam.
    4. Stabilize Front & Back necklines, Back shoulder seams with interfacing and/or Vilene bias tape.
  2. Lining: Overlock Inner Front Princess seams, Back Princess seams, CB seam above zipper.
  3. Back Neckline: Sew Back Neck Facing lower edge to Lining, then Facing-Lining neckline to Shell neckline right side together. Understitch SA to Facing-Lining.
  4. Front Neckline: Sew Feature Panel cowl facing edge right side to Lining right side to Shell wrong side, stretching cowl facing edge to match neckline especially at curves near bust. Understitch SA to Facing-Lining.
  5. Feature Panel: Turn Feature Panel out over the Shell Front. Baste Feature Panel shoulder pleats. Vertically ruch/gather Feature Panel between bust & waist on both princess seams. Baste Feature Panel to Shell at shoulder, armscye, outer front princess seams.
  6. Shoulder Seams: Sew continuous seam from Shell armscye edge to Lining armscye edge.
  7. Outer Front Princess Seams: Sew & top-stitch Shell Front to Side, overlock Lining Front to Side.
  8. Peplum: Baste Peplum to Shell right sides together, aligning Peplum upper edge corners with Front/Back Panels hemlines. The Peplum goes up the side of of Front Panel, then across the bottom of the Side Panel, then down the side of the Back Panel.
  9. Bagging Lining: Baste Lining to Shell right sides together from CB hemline, along the Peplum basting, across CF hemline, along the other Peplum basting, & finally the other half of the CB hemline – only CB zipper length is left open.

    Be careful not to baste the wrong way like I did initially! Test by turning the garment right side out. The wrong way looks enticingly tidy wrong side out, but is impossible to turn right side out! Go with the weirdly twisted right way. Sew along basting. Turn right side out. Top-stitch Side Panel waistline seam to CB hemline.

  10. Armscye: Overlock Sleeve to bodice armscye (Shell & Lining).
  11. Finishing up: Slip-stitch Lining CB to zipper tape. Understich CF & CB hem by hand (pick-stitch) to keep Lining from peaking out. All done!

The Verdict

What I like:

  • The cowl! I like the asymmetry. It looks more natural. I like that there’s a fair bit of drape, but from the side it doesn’t give me a middle heavy look, and the attachment to the fitted lining keeps it from exposing too much!
  • The peplum! Especially how it disguise my droopy bum by breaking up that long stretch of hollow small of the back.

What didn’t quite work:

  • The corset idea didn’t really work. The stretchy fabrics undid all the good work! (But makes the top much more comfortable to wear!) So no heaving bosom this time. Any cleavage will have to come from additional shapewear & chicken fillets beneath.
  • The top feels a bit too short. I can only wear it with high waisted skirts & pants if I don’t want to catch a cold. I think the negative ease might have caused the top to contract vertically while stretching side-ways. I still haven’t gotten my head around stretch fabric tension lines, hence this oversight. I think next time I will make it 0 ease (rather than negative ease) and/or add a tad more length.

Overall though I think it’s a good effort and a pretty top. So much more could have gone wrong! But taking the time to baste & try on saved my bacon even if it meant Ms Diva missed the Jungle January Party. I’ve been let off only after Photoshopping her into a lush Jungle with her her own pet snake. Phew.

Jungle Snake Pit The Origin

OK, this is what I would have brought to the Jungle January party if I had been more organized.


Yeah, it’s all fake. You would never find me near a real snake in this life time – too slimy looking. Damn you Pretty Grievances for enabling me to squander weeks on Jungle Makes & days on Photoshop Element Photomerge Compose instead of job hunting. I guess it’ll be pot noodles for the foreseeable future.

But I’m glad they’re all done now and The Stash is down 2 and a bit. I’m loving my Inner Scot and her mini-collection approach. I could never have squeezed 6 items out of these if I hadn’t done them as a batch to optimize cutting layout. I will go into more details about each later. But since they all use the same fabrics and the fabrics were the starting point for this lot let’s cover that off in one go shall we.

The Star: New World Python

cropped-2013-us-fabrics-93.jpgBefore I subscribed to Pretty Grievance’s blog I would not have had the courage for this mad print with a bit of everything: floral, damask, toile, paisley, and animal. But by her guiding light I now see how the craziest of prints can look great while having all the fun. So I took the plunge.

This mix reminds me of the Age of Discovery. All that heavy floral baroque prints, the conquistadors & their ladies. The Amazonian pythons sneaking up on them.

I got it thinking I’d make something like this Vivienne Westwood jersey dress I saw in the store.

c0e71f1a9d6c56c02259f36166b9709dI liked the asymmetric drape & sleeves (one side has drop shoulder with wider bodice). The fabric had similar drape & hand. But this catalog photo looks so unappealing that I was put off the idea. In any case I was too chicken to commit to a whole dress in this busy print. So I ended up using it mostly as feature panels. Plus one whole top as a compromise. Baby steps.

The fabric from NY Elegant is a wool / polyester / spandex mix according to my illegible notes (the NYC fabric stores aren’t so good with detailed descriptions). It has a really lovely hand similar to challis, and is warm & soft with not a bit of scratchiness. It stretches about 40% width- & length-wise, but sews easily with the aid of a walking foot. It does curl a little bit, so I also spray startched it before cutting & sewing. I bought this back in 9/2012, but it was still on display when I visited again in 10/2014.

Supporting Cast: Snake Bite Bandages

Now this light stone rayon/spandex “Morgan Crepe” from Tissu Fabrics was a bit of a disappointment when it arrived. I hadn’t intended to order yards of bandages. But that’s exactly what it looks & feels like. I was at a loss what to do with it.

So when I saw the Reiss bandage dress that Duchess of Cambridge wore to greet the Obamas I thought that was the answer. But being a more complicated pattern to draft it didn’t happen.

Then by chance it met the New World Python during one of my Get the Stash Out & Play Dress Up sessions. And it was opposites attract love at first sight.

vogue-floral-2 The cupid was this Dolce & Gabbana cardigan from a Vogue US clipping. Just the combination to tame the print while jazzing up the bandage. From there on the rest of the feature panel designs came tumbling out.

BTW, despite the humble look of the Snake Bite Bandages, like the New World Python it’s a pleasure to sew and wear. Equally soft, it’s heavier in weight, has the hand of ponte knit, and stretches about 30% width- & length-wise. And quite cheap too. I don’t think I will get any more, but I’m glad I managed to make something decent out of it.

So there you have it, the origin of this mini-collection of Jungle Snake Pit.

Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 3 designs

So while we have the green jersey leftover out, on the off chance that there’s more leftover after the green fake suede jacket, we have more designs that make use of it. I’m really going for it now – Stash busting that is. Three of the fabrics in this batch have been in the Stash since before I even moved to London. They must be over 20 years old now!

batch 3 designs
batch 3 inspirations

So step up candidate heather blue sweater / rib jersey, dark teal jersey, and whatever’s left of the apple green jersey. I think all three were from NY Elegant.

I’ve always wanted the rib one to be a cardigan. But I’m not sure if I could make it work. Normally cardigans have two sizes of knit – bigger ribs for the hem, cuffs, and maybe collar / front button band; and finer knit for the bodice & sleeves. It’s neigh on impossible to find such made-in-heaven pairs from fabric stores. (I’ve tried recently with plans for brown and black cardigans. So many different browns. So many shades of blacks!) I’m not sure yet how I’m going to solve this one. I might just cut the hem & cuffs smaller and ease in the bodice & sleeves. Or I might try this fake ribbing technique from an old Threads article which The Sewing Diva demonstrated here.

In any case, the inspiration is Vivienne Westwood (again!). Her orb logo cardigan and cardi-short (???) I’m obviously turning the cardi-short into a cardi-skirt. I highly doubt I’ll get much wear out of a cardi-short. The skirt I’m planning fake front opening. Don’t want any wardobe malfunctioning now do we.

The dark teal jersey I’m thinking a Sybilla F/W 1989 inspired tie-front jacket. And another shrug collar top which I might be able to wear under the matching jacket? And if I’m really lucky and have enough leftover, maybe this color-blocked zip-front top inspired by Peter Pilotto S/S 2012 and based on Burdastyle 2013-06-124 zip-up tank.

Going back to the fake suede theme, the last two in this batch is for the most heavenly fake suede like drapy fabric I found in NY Elegant. So soooooft. Not sure the designs I pick are right for it. The fabric might be too limp. On the other hand maybe a limp drapy fabric would be the best candidate for experimenting with blocky oversized top like this Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 drop-shoulder T inspiration. Maybe it’ll mold to the figure rather than box it. And I’ve been yearning for a fake suede or leather slim pants. The inspiration here is Patrone 325 #15. (I’ve been rather unlucky with my Patrone subscription. The year I subscribed they have hardly any that seem designery or editorial. Lots of casual wear which doesn’t really inspire me or suit my lifestyle. Where did all the designer knock-offs go!!!???) In any case, OMG, imagine the feel of this buttery fabric on my legs, OMG, will I be able to get anything done while wearing it? And isn’t it about time I face my fear of pants fitting?