This week I had the pleasure of chatting to Lilyella, owner of The Wentworth Wardrobe, a gorgeous unique clothing brand inspired by all things vintage! Here we discuss her business journey so far, what inspires her, and some hints and tips for those sewers out there!
Hey Lilyella, tell us a bit about yourself first!
Hello! I am Lilyella from The Wentworth Wardrobe. I make vintage
inspired clothing for men, women and children with a modern twist using
beautiful and brightly coloured fabrics. I even make knitwear too!
Where did it all start?
From the age of about four, I was always tinkering and making things
from anything I could find. There has always been a deep desire to have
a shop or be a shop keeper; I remember making a till and paper money
to go inside of it! I think this desires stems from my 3rd Great Grandfather
Albert Simeon owning a Groceries and Provisions shop in Mumbles. So,
I would definitely say it’s in my blood! Once I had finished college in
2021, I felt no need to continue into higher education. So, I said to
myself ‘start what you love now or never do it’. The timing felt right and
so I gave myself an aim of launching this vision in January 2022. I
watched videos and did research to pursue my passion of making
Where does the name come from?
The Wentworth Wardrobe comes from my Great Grandfather’s name;
Albert Laurence Wentworth Baldwin. The Grocer’s and Provisions shop
was fittingly named Baldwin’s and Sons, so I decided to use Wentworth
as it sounded vintage and rolled perfectly with ‘wardrobe’. My Great
Grandfather died before I could meet him, so it felt special and important
to honour and include him in this way.
What was the first garment you made?
I had a 1940s blouse pattern which I decided to make for myself. I had
previously seen pictures of cropped work blouses from the era so I
decided to crop the pattern as an experiment and added gathering at the
hem to create the shaped waist then added a waistband to finish. It
turned out really well and is a style of blouse I wear frequently. Once I
felt happy with the design, I launched it on my Etsy shop as the ‘Betsy
Blouse' and so far it is my most popular blouse to sell.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on my Autumn/Winter collection ‘Olive and
Maude’ that was inspired by my Great Grandmother Olive and her best
friend Maude. I have a beautiful picture of Olive that was taken in the
1930s that very much encouraged me to make clothing pieces inspired
by that era. The collection will also include new styles of blouses and
dresses, Men’s shirts, ties and bow ties with more prominently fabrics
that have an Art Deco style and patterns from the 1930s.
What is your favourite thing to make?
Each sewing process is different for each garment that I make. Some
require more patience and a ‘trust the process' attitude and some take
more brain power to manage the fiddly bits. The fabric also plays a huge
part; if the excitement of a new fabric takes over then I struggle even
more to pick a favourite. Sometimes I’ll look at a garment and remember
what I was thinking or watching while making it – I think that’s quite
special. I do enjoy garments that include hand sewn sections as I get to
perfect my hand sewing skills. But I suppose if I must choose, I would
say the Betsy Blouse because it was the first style that I ever made. I
sometimes forget how to make it!
What is it you like so much about the vintage style?
I think my love of the vintage style probably came from watching the old
MGM Hollywood films as a child. I remember a lot of Doris Day and Judy
Garland because those are the films my mum enjoyed most as a child
herself. I love the land girl look of the 40’s plus the square shoulder
shaping of the dresses and blouses. Both the 30’s and 40’s styles are
great for any figure as they accentuate the shoulders and the waist
creating an hourglass look.
Where’s a good place to start if someone wanted to start looking more
Well, a good place to start would be taking a look at the Wentworth
Wardrobes’ vintage inspired blouses. When I search for inspiration, I
always see outfits comprised of a blouse and slacks (tailored wide leg
trousers) which I find so simple yet chic and obviously very easy to
recreate. Funnily enough, I saw a very lovely customer style our Eva
Maude blouse with some tailored trousers and knit cardigan and I was
just in awe at how beautifully she had styled the look. In the colder
months, I tend to gravitate to jeans which create a put together and
casual look with a pretty blouse. More frequently, I wear my dungarees
paired with a cropped jumper or long sleeved top. Recently, I bought a
belt to pair with the dungarees to create more of a 1940s land girl look
and to say I’m in love is an understatement. So to summarize, research
the styles that you like the most and collect pieces of clothing; modern,
vintage/second hand that fit with the chosen aesthetic – experiment with
styling those pieces and eventually you should create some staple
vintage inspired looks.
What would you wear with one of your blouses to show it off best?
I love pairing my Betsy blouses with some 1940’s wide legged slacks
I”ve made. It also looks great under dungarees and most frequently I
wear them with my ‘mom’ style wide leg jeans. A customer of The
Wentworth Wardrobe loves wearing her Betsy blouse as a jacket and
this inspired me to create the Gladys blouse/jacket which has the feel of
the Betsy but has a large pointed collar, an off centre double buttoned
And for all those sewers out there, do you have any tips for equipment,
tools or techniques?
Most importantly invest in good quality tools and especially for sewers,
scissors. I am left handed and so I have definitely had my fair share of
struggles with scissors. I found that the brand Fiskars had the best
quality of blade but most importantly, scissors specific to my dominant
hand – meaning that the handle curved to my thumb to be more
comfortable to cut precisely and confidently. For tips with techniques, I
would say the most critical one is to always press or iron your seams to
achieve a crisp finish. Not doing this causes seams to look quite frankly,
ugly and warped. For techniques such as hand sewing, make sure to
always find time to practice these skills. I find that you can improve
quicker by repetition to establish your own personal ways of executing
And finally, could you see a collaboration in our future?
I can definitely say yes I can see a collaboration in the future. When I
first met Tahlia at a craft fayre, I was intrigued and amazed by the fact
that she designs her own fabric patterns. I remember excitedly imagining
about the kind of patterns I would love to design with my most favourite
colours. This would be my first ever collaboration and I think it would be
the most creatively rewarding experience with such a talented and lovely
Thank you so much Tahlia for including me in this blog!