Vintage Couture for modern times (guest blog).

What better time to think about dressing up in fancy clothes and costumes than in October, right before Halloween?  So, what better time to feature my new guest blogger, UK fashion designer Deborah Ashworth and her gorgeous garments?  So, in her own words, here’s information on her artistic clothing creations and what inspires her:

For years I have been a magpie when it comes to textiles, often buying a meter or so of something that I’ve fallen in love, whether for it’s pattern, its tones or its embellishments. I knew at some point it could become a new dress or soft furnishing. It was my little addiction, I have a cupboard full to prove it!

I also adored the 50’s glamour with exquisite figure enhancing dresses and felt that there was a real gap in the market for something which meant that women could flatter their figure, no matter what their shape was, that there is beauty in every one and this should be embraced.

However for years I was unable to fulfill my full passion as I previously worked in banking and accounting as I was unable to follow my dream of going to art college when I left school at 16 as I needed to go to work. However 2 years ago, I decided the only person who could change the fact I sat at a desk, on the phone asking why a customer hadn’t paid rather than making a living doing what I wanted to creatively, was me.

The business I had run for 15 years was put up for sale and I started a degree in textile design with fashion, whilst I had always painted for people or sewn in my spare time, university opened up a new wealth of invaluable skills which has meant my work is now transformed.

My work is predominately couture sewing based however I love to fuse together the traditional needlecraft skills with more contemporary techniques. I often incorporate CAD in my work, either to cut detailed edgings by laser or to design a surface pattern, which can be printed onto fabric to create a truly unique piece. I make my own felt from natural materials to ensure the correct tones for each piece and then work in wire, embroidery and beads to bring depth and surface texture to my work, harmonizing the natural materials with organic designs to give visual impact to a piece.

I take inspiration from many areas. My latest project looks at reflection, using the sea surrounding Venice as the mirror to see into a bygone era of Renaissance architecture. I aim also to look at the tide line details, which draw reference to the passage of time and highlights the environmental elements Venice is facing.

About the red poppy covered gown…

This gown is dedicated to those involved in WW2. The gown was inspired by a 1940’s evening dress with the remembrance flower, the Poppy trailing around the body of the dress, nature again reclaiming. The grey panel is a piece I designed, using an acrylic and quink painting as base, I used CAD to layer in images, photographs of barbed wire, watercolors’ of Poppies I had painted, silhouettes of planes and some of Robert Capa’s D Day landing pictures and parachute images to complete the detail. The panel is framed in Crimson satin which I have laser cut Poppy petal shapes from again to show the growth of the beautiful flowers around where such horrors had taken place. The poppies are hand made from laser cut silk petals, hand embroidered with intricate beadwork. Some are made from felt, each tone used to enhance the natural pigments of petals.

You can contact Deborah and see more of her beautiful work on