In 2017 I entered the bi-annual nationwide tailoring competition the Golden Shears.
The brief was to design, cut and make an outfit to the pre-defined measurements. Each competitor must enter a co-ordinating outfit of at least two garments in either menswear or ladieswear.
My favourite tailored ensemble is the white tie. This is the result of the elegance, the lines and the silhouette.
Marlene Dietrich in Morocco was my first insight into white tie on a woman, but I wanted to create a more feminine cut. To do this is used the female cutting formula and principle and built in the suppression and the bust shape as I created the garments.
The outfit consisted of 4 pieces; The dress coat, the Marcella waistcoat, dress trousers and a ‘swallow tail’ cape.
Each piece follows the traditional style, but with its own unique addition. The Marcella waistcoat used princess seams over the bust to emphasis the feminine form. Instead of the silk braid on the trousers, I created a box pleat down the outside seam and used the Marcella cotton to create a flash of white when the model walked. I used the traditional construction in the dress coat, by hand quilting the lining on the inside, and I used a shawl lapel and hand embroidered silver work into ivy leaves to give a nod to my Grandmother who was my inspiration and eye opener into the fashion and tailoring world. The final piece was the evening cape with a stand and fall collar and hand-stitched silver braiding.
The white tie featured hand stitched ivy vines in sterling silver wrapping themselves around the shoulders of the jacket. This was because my inspiration and the reason for the love of this trade was down to very special lady, my mothers’ mother; my Nanny. She was an extraordinary woman, with the ability to create the most beautiful wedding dresses. We’d sit hours making dresses for my dolls and toys as a small child, and she bought me my first sewing machine at 13. She was unfortunately taken away from us before I was able to enter the competition, but I know she would have given her right arm to be there watching the catwalk, and by using her ivy tattoo as inspiration for the embroidery it meant she could be with me on the night.