Vivienne Westwoodalike jacket – coming along!

posted in: WIP (work in progress) | 1

I mentioned I had an original Vivienne Westwood jacket in my wardrobe that I hoped to copy. And a deadline of 7 June.

Notting Hill Housing's 50th anniversary
Notting Hill Housing’s 50th anniversary

I love the print on this jacket, but what lifts it out of the ordinary is the pleated shoulder feature, and the unusual waterfall lapel.

Design and pattern drafting

I liked the fit and design of my existing jacket, but made a few changes. I decided on two buttons rather than one, and changed the rounded collar for a more angular look.

I created a pattern from my personal bodice block, changing the proportions marginally to re-create the silhouette. This meant reducing some of the ease and really tapering the torso/waist area to replicate the shape of the original close-fitting  jacket.  I closed the waist dart, transferring all the fullness to the shoulder dart. This was then folded into a large pleat that finishes about half and inch from the arm hole seam. Once folded I slashed the pattern from the bust point to the CF spreading the pieces to create additional length on the CF. This is what gives the cascade effect of the waterfall lapel.  I used my two piece sleeve block, unaltered.

Choosing the materials

My existing jacket is made of a light weight Viscose/wool blend, digitally printed to look like a monochrome tartan. It has minimal, at least imperceptible, interfacing (except for the collar). I didn’t want to unpick the lining to have a look – but that is what it feels like.

I had decided against using my best (£20m) blue and silver crepe wool for my first attempt, so purchased some turquoise green crepe wool for the toile (£6m at Simply Fabrics).  I don’t often use calico as it doesn’t behave like wool, preferring to make up a jacket in cheaper, but similar, fabric. This allows me to test the pattern, fit, button-hole placement etc, before re-working the item in a better quality cloth. It also means I usually get a wearable garment as well as learning from the dry run.

The drape was good but in the end I went a bit mad, interfacing the whole of the front of the jacket in order to create a proper tailored jacket. I think this was a mistake and plan to provide only the most minimal of support for my final version in blue and silver.

For the  lining I am planning to use a small amount of left over deep purple silk I have in my linings drawer. Even though this is small jacket and the front is self faced (and revealed in the design) I don’t think there is enough so may have to use something else for the sleeve lining.


No problems with sewing it up – it is actually a fairly straightforward design (nine pieces).  The under-stitched pockets worked well, the collar and stand, lapels and facings worked as intended. I like the length and the shaping. I initially thought about  bound button holes but forgot, and in the end machine-made them.  This work in progress photograph (one sleeve basted, one only pinned; sleeve head padding not yet added) shows that this version is a possibly a little stiff.  However what worked really well is the pleat – it forms a kind of shoulder pad and gives the jacket authority and a “V” shape in contrast with the almost corset like waist. In fact there are 12 layers of fabric in each pleat – no wonder it feels padded. I hope to get the sleeves in tonight and then I will cut out the lining.


Under the jacket is a blouse I was working on when the Sew2Pro Vivienne Westwood challenge came in. I will finish that later – maybe after the junior pirate outfit I have agreed to make for Ted. But I have also committed to making a pair of running shorts for Karen’s Sporty Summer Sewathon. Will I get a bit of time this weekend?

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