I am not a huge fan of The Great British Sewing Bee, mainly because it seems to revolve around speed sewing and making things from other things – ad nauseum. The characters – May Martin, the woman with the bangs and too much eye make up and Patrick are not that interesting. Of course the contestants are plucky, and generally great at making clothes, but I feel sorry for them. The pressure is relentless and it is hard to keep on churning out clothes, new ideas and perfect seams with the clock ticking. I have watched some episodes but I wouldn’t stay in for it.
So I was interested to get an email last week.
We are filming a short history film about the YSL Mondrian dress next week, as part of The Great British Sewing Bee for BBC.
I was wondering whether we might be able to borrow your YSL Mondrian pattern to film with! We would be filming in London Bridge on Monday.
Is this something you would consider? Any help you could give would be hugely appreciated.
Researcher, The Great British Sewing Bee, Love Productions
Regular readers will know I made a dress, using YSL dress pattern V1556. This simple shift featured as part of YSL’s Mondrian collection, and three patterns appeared as Vogue Paris Originals; 1556 with sleeves, 1557 with a red half yoke, and 1567 – a short sleeved black and white dress and coat. The catwalk collection included all these dresses, and a range of coats too, and the iconic five colour Mondrian dress. But the most famous of the lot was never released as a Vogue home sewing pattern.
When I decided to make my Mondrian dress I used V1556 (which I bought on the internet – V1557 wasn’t available). As you can above both V1556 and V1557 are based on the same shift dress block, with a yoke. The bust dart is cleverly concealed into the yoke seam. Simples. So I used this pattern to create my own “iconic” five colour dress by creating some style lines and working out the proportions.
I assumed that Helena was asking to borrow my dress.
I had been asked to lend it out before. I was flattered that Threads magazine wanted to feature it (after all Claire Shaeffer had admired it!) but I decided against sending my favourite dress to America. That summer I was wearing it frequently as I had made it to help celebrate Notting Hill’s 50th anniversary. Also I didn’t want to risk losing it in the post, despite promises to insure it and take it to the cleaners….
As the GBSB were making their film locally I agreed to help. I imagined Helena wearing my dress, skipping along London Bridge, as the cameras rolled. I responded:
Yes. I assume mean the dress I made. If you look after it, that would be fine.
Helena came back
Thank you – but I did actually mean the actual pattern! Do you have one? And if you do, would we be able to film with it?
Thanks again, Helena
I began to wonder why Helena would want to film my V1556 pattern. So I responded.
You just mean Vogue 1556? This is not a pattern for the classic dress.
GBSB Researcher Helena clearly hadn’t done much research.
Ah no, I meant the pattern for the original YSL Mondrian dress from ’65. Thank you anyway, Helena
I believe the programme will be broadcast in May. Now we know that YSL’s iconic dress is being featured it will be interesting to see how it is dealt with. So far all I have learned is that TV researchers use lots of exclamation marks in the hope of getting ordinary people to make an effort for them. In the meantime I continue to wear my unique and lovely dress, especially when I speak at events. It always makes an impact – whatever I have to say.