19 Mar 2013
in 1940's, Patterns
Tags: give-away winner
I’m currently checking through the pattern for any corrections needed and will be mailing her copy out next week.
Thank you all who participated in the Bloggin’ Blues dress pattern give-away! I’m intending to release this pattern later in the year as a commercial pattern, multi-sized UK 10-20 along with some other lovely patterns. But don’t worry, there will be more nice free things coming too
31 Jan 2013
in 1940's, Accessories, Inspiration, sewing, shoes, vintage reproductions
Tags: 40's beret pattern, french beret, sewing a beret
I actually haven’t sewn anything since before Christmas which for me is almost like not breathing but a break every now and then is good even I admit. Instead over the hols I baked like crazy (umpteen batches of biscotti and a Baked Alaska) and just this past Monday returned to the UK from a couple of weeks in southern New Mexico- though I did finish a blouse while I was there but that doesn’t really count and it still needs buttonholes. So yesterday, after tidying up my workroom which suffered from family invasion while I was away, I wanted to make something simple that wouldn’t tax my jet-lagged brain and would get me back in the sewing groove.
This little 1948 French beret pattern from Mrs. Depew was just the ticket.
The pdf contains the instructions for drawing out the pattern for the simple, nicely proportioned small beret and the cute bird ornament. Sewing instructions are very minimal but really it isn’t hard to construct.
The two things I changed were making the head opening a few centimetres larger (maybe french women had little heads in ’48 or maybe I just have a big one) and I shortened the length of the birds body by 1-1/2 cm so to my eye at least it had more of the same proportion as the illustration. I also lined my beret. The birds wings are two layers of suede fused together so not to be floppy and I wish I’d done that for the tail too. If you make this hat yourself doubling up the bird fabric is something to bear in mind depending on what you use. The edge stitching is also something I decided to add just to make it a little more tailored in feel to go with my newest Miss L Fire shoes ( on sale)
Now my suede-trimmed tweed suit (a version of a vintage late 40′s suit which I had to copy for a film in November and that just happened to fit me too- occasional perks of my job) that I made just before all the baking started is accessorised and ready to go … just as soon as my Christmas waist goes away and I can button the skirt again that is.
Will I make this beret again?
Most certainly. This first one took about four hours to make with my messing about some but will take half that in the future. I have some red velvet lined up for a loopy bow one and some turquoise suede to make a second bird beret in. A black felt one with a sequinned or beaded bird could be fab too I think. All in all a successful make.
Now I’m going to whizz up a little black satin dress based on my 30′s PJ top free pattern to wear tomorrow night to a White Mink evening…. because of course I haven’t got a single frock to wear!
12 Nov 2012
in 1940's, Inspiration, It's in the Details, random, sewing, vintage reproductions
Tags: 1940's, applique, dressmaking, shirring, vintage dress, vintage inspired
Had a bad case of the blogging blues these last couple of months and had to just walk away and think for a while. Blogging was supposed to be an enjoyable thing but became a stress and an obsession instead. I have enough of those already. It got so I couldn’t make anything without thinking about whether or not I ought to be photographing my progress, jotting down the steps and writing a tutorial. And how often did I check my stats?? Sheesh, talk about a creativity killer. Can’t say I’ve come to an understanding with myself about what I’m doing here on WP or why or for whom… but hey I didn’t hit ‘delete this site’ so even if not exactly back in the saddle at least I’m walking alongside the horse. And I have been sewin’ up a storm while singin’ those blues and at the end of the day making clothes is my passion and I just have to keep sight of that.
A while ago while idly perusing vintage dress sites looking at pix of dresses hoping for some inspiration I came across this red beauty on FabGabs.com (site now under reconstruction) and it was love at first sight!
photos by FabGabs.com
So I made a version for myself. It’s made from a heavy silk crepe I’ve been hoarding for years just waiting for the perfect moment to use it and has a velvet yoke, sleeves and pockets. The embroidery is cut out from an upholstery sample, first BondaWeb-ed to stabilise it and help stick it in place on the velvet and then blanket stitched with silk buttonhole thread all around the edges. The pattern itself is a cobbled together job- draped bias sleeves from a 1940′s style evening dress I made a private client a couple of years ago, skirt, also bias is a lengthened version from the 30′s pj top I put a pattern up for (DIY page) and the bodice was adapted from a fitted shirt block. The 4 rows of shirring at the top and bottom of the bodice to control the fullness is a technique I really like and don’t use enough. In a panic I discovered I was down to my last fabric buckle covering kit and they are so hard to find these days… Vogue Fabric site has them in USA and Amazon.com. But they won’t ship them to the UK for some reason so had to warn my Mum in New Mexico a packet of a dozen is headed her way which I’ll collect in January. Phew, panic over
I’ve used the cut-out embroidery technique before on this georgette and velvet kimono I did for Making Magazine (a UK craft mag I do sewing projects for quite a lot)
That’s a pic of one of the 18″ square upholstery fabric swatches a friend who works in a posh interior design shop gave me and the image below shows how I machine stitched it on. Going around all the edges with blanket stitch is somewhere on my to-do list….. someday. Anyway I think it’s a good cheat for adding embroidery onto clothes for those of us who don’t embroider.
09 Sep 2012
in 1940's, How To, It's in the Details, lingerie, Sew-along, sewing, Vintage Lingerie
Tags: 1940's, French knickers, how to sew vintage style french knickers, Making vintage style lingerie, sewing lingerie
So diving straight back in where yesterday left off todays post covers attaching the waistband, hemming your knickers with and without lace and (with reservations, you’ll see why) how to do a hand made button-hole as well showing a thread-loop. (By the way any picture will open full size in a separate window when clicked) More
08 Sep 2012
in 1940's, How To, It's in the Details, Sew-along, sewing, vintage reproductions, Vintage style
Tags: 1940's, how to sew vintage style french knickers, lingerie, Making vintage style lingerie
Day 1- today covers cutting out, hand sewing on lace motifs, sewing french seams and how to attach a continuos side seam placket with either a hand or machine finish.
Day 2- tomorrows post covers adding a waistband with either a fabric or elastic (ha, didn’t expect that did you!), machine appliquéd lace hems and motifs, machine pin-hemming, hand-made button-holes and other closing options. More
27 Aug 2012
in 1940's, Free pattern, How To, Sew-along, sewing, Vintage Lingerie
Tags: 1940's, French knickers, sew-along, sewing french knickers, sewing vintage lingerie
Over the weekend of September 8 & 9 I’ll be hosting the first ever VeraVenus sew-along on making 1940′s style french knickers! More
23 Aug 2012
in 1940's, dressmaking, How To, It's in the Details, sewing
Tags: clothing, sewing skirts, skirt darts, skirt detail
In the post before this one Holly commented that she’d love to know how I put the bows into the darts on the skirt I made for myself a few weeks ago (and as I’m always ready to avoid what I am really meant to be doing) here is a mini how-to do just that.
1940′s style silk crepe Bow Skirt
-Basically the ‘bows’ are sewn into pair of parallel darts creating a centre strap effect. If you only have one front dart divide it into two darts. They can be very shallow. (when I do a more in-depth tutorial on drafting the complete skirt, I’ll show how to divide one dart into two) The darts on my skirt are 2cm apart and finish parallel to the centre front skirt seam.
- Stay-stitch a fraction inside the dart ‘legs’ and iron on a 2.5cm strip of light weight interfacing from the top edge to 2/3rds of the way down in the ‘strap’ area between each pair of darts. It will cover the stay-stitching you just did and be caught in with the final dart stitching.
- Make 2 pairs of bow ’ears’. These are simply strips of fabric bagged-out into a tube. No interfacing was used as they would probably have been too thick. The finished dimensions of my ‘ears’ are 4cm wide and 4.5cm extending out from the darts. I coaxed each into a centre box pleat with some hand stitching. More
14 Aug 2012
in 1940's, DIY, How To, lingerie, patternmaking, Vintage Lingerie
Tags: 1940's, free french knicker drafting tutorial, French Knicker pattern, Making vintage style lingerie, vintage lingerie
DIY French Knicker Draft ….
10 page ( don’t panic, it’s because of pics and largish print ) PDF takes you through the drafting process… no diploma in pattern-making needed.
Includes information on fitting and a brief sewing guide.
Slightly flared 1940′s style French Knicker
A couple of weeks ago when some nice weather arrived I decided I had Absolutely Nothing To Wear
and fixated on making 3 new skirts as the solution. Of course couldn’t find my custom skirt block anywhere so did a quickie draft and after I’d made a 30′s, a40′s and a 50′s style skirt…
04 Feb 2012
in 1940's, dressmaking, lingerie, sewing, Vintage Lingerie, vintage reproductions
Tags: 1940's bra pattern, lingerie, vintage inspired, vintage style bra
This morning I faced the fact that I had to just stop making samples, doing fittings, planning, thinking, what-if-ing (aka procrastinating) and just get this give-away (first blogged about here) going.
So here’s the deal: More
19 Jan 2012
in 1930's, 1940's, Accessories, shoes, vintage reproductions
Tags: shoe heaven, vintage inspired, vintage styled shoes
I have found my absolute shoe heaven!
Sadly for me it’s in L.A….. but they ship internationally
I’m having palpitations…
and those San Miguel sandals are on sale…
16 Jan 2012
in 1930's, 1940's, dressmaking, How To, sewing, vintage reproductions
Tags: 1930's caplet, dressmaking, free pattern, short cape
Halfway through January already…. so hows that New Years Resolution working out for ya?
The papers have been merrily trumpeting the fact that most of us, if we even made one, will have given it up by the end of this month!
Well I made two and so far so good:
1st: Don’t Over Complicate Things aka Keepin’ It Simple
This can be applied to just about everything in life from sewing to relationships.
2nd: Finish What I’ve Started….. This applies particularly to the backlog of projects I started last year- that rouleaux shouldered dress (still love it and really want it to be ready for Spring), still more lace needing hand-whipping onto this black satin kimono and My Big Project: SewVeraVenus Lingerie. Yup, really fell behind on that one…. my apologies to all of you patiently waiting for the1940′s bra pattern I mentioned in the Autumn. Anyway I now have graded sizes from 30A-DD through 36A-DD and will be running a Birthday Give-Away of five patterns at the end of January to celebrate both a year of (very sporadic) blogging and another year of my life. If you are a subscriber you will be the first to know
2011 wasn’t all unfinished business though: in November I moved all my working equipment down from a London studio into my home. A major undertaking as I hadn’t realised quite how much stuff I had amassed. Anyway took a month to settle in but all put away now and a nice work-room to be in. I think my husand has just about gotten over losing his study… and now I have the option of working either home or away and it’s a huge improvement when working on my personal projects as the kitchen table really wasn’t great for sewing especially when family was making cups of tea around me.
Also VeraVenus™ is now officially trademarked so I can add the little™ letters after it, woohoo!
But back to sewing matters: the day before New Years Eve I decided I needed a new dress and whipped up this one:
New Years Eve dress
It’s based on the 1930′s bridal dress I made last spring and a project that had been lurking in my mind for some time and I had to get it in before that ‘finish the old before starting the new’ resolution kicked in. Setting a tight time deadline usually gives me the needed shot of adrenaline to stop messing about and get on with things. I had some pale lavender-grey fur scraps leftover from a costume job which I pieced together to make the square shouldered 30′s/40′s style shoulder cape to wear with it… just what the velvet needed.
Blue felt 1930'3-1940's style capelet
Lastly for now, as a Happy New Years gift to SewVeraVenus readers this other cape pattern, as seen in this blue felt version, can be downloaded by clicking on the picture. It could look great made in wools, felt, fake fur, even linen or heavier cottons… leave it plain or embellish like mad.
(NB:It is a pattern only, no instructions are included… but easy to make!)
Happy 2012 sewing!
09 Sep 2011
in 1940's, dressmaking, vintage
Tags: 1940's, Vintage Festivals, vintage inspired, vintage patterns
Not much better in my book!
That’s what it was like at the Twinwood-Glenn Miller Festival two weekends ago.
Fab outfits, brilliant music, tons of dancing, great people-watching and a fair amount of rain.
Day 1- I wore the raincoat I made from McCall 5760 over Vogue 5757 wool gabardine slacks I very recently made. The ground wasn’t too muddy yet so I could still wear my nice brogues.
My hair was really acting up in the damp windy weather …so I just ignored it.
27 Jun 2011
in 1940's, Coats, sewing, vintage, vintage reproductions
Tags: 1940's coat, dressmaking, vintage
Circa late 30′s or very early 40′s I think…
The original coat doesn’t look all that fab here but it was just one of those things that you try on and go Wow! So over two months last Autumn I made a version for myself.
-First step was a re-drape of one side of the coat in muslin directly on top of the original to give me the basic shape and style lines. There was a lot more shaping under the arm than you can see in this photo and some tricky cutting near the pocket and I wouldn’t get that accurately if I worked on the flat from a modern coat block. Re-draping is fun anyway and I always learn something new when copying old garments with this method.
-Second step I transferred the muslin pattern onto paper and made corrections from measurements I’d taken from the coat then sewed up a toile from the corrected pattern. After fitting it on myself I decided to add an extra pleat on each side of the centre back pleat and to have them start right at the waist instead of a bit below the belt.
Third step etc- All seemed good enough to get on with my real fabric finally, a sturdy wool cavalry twill. The body went together reasonably easily though the curved dart that goes into a little horizontal seam at the top of the pocket was a real fiddle to do. The sleeves were a twisted disaster however… never did quite figure out what went wrong but had enough fabric (phew!!) to recut them. To get them correct I did finally use one of my own modern basic sleeve patterns altered to the proportions of the original coat sleeves.
I like a snazzy lining in a coat and found this silk twill fabric that still makes me smile on the grimmest of days.
To build up big enough shoulder pads I used one and a half of a mens suit pad in each side.
I didn’t like where the top two buttons hit my chest so left them off as well as leaving off the arrows on the end of the front darts.
The waist buttons holes are self-welted and though the sleeves are done with a proper button vent on the back seam I never actually did the buttonholes on them… and have been roundly told off for laziness by a tailor friend. I will do them …some day. All the under stitching on lapels and fronts was done by hand . I am lucky to have the use of an industrial steam iron as the cavalry twill is tough stuff to press and don’t think I could have managed with my home iron.
Just as a last note on the pleats: the back of each pleat is a seam which though making for a lot more pieces to cut out and sew together really helps the back of the coat keep its shape. The lining is not pleated however, it is just an A-line shape in the back.
I absolutely love this coat and consider it one of my most successful makes to date. I’ve worn it a few times this June even, can you believe it? Not the warmest summer here so far…
07 May 2011
in 1940's, Inspiration, sewing, Swimsuits
Tags: 1940's, retro style swimsuit, sewing, vintage
For me the ultimate beach-babe is not off Baywatch and isn’t remotely like Bo Derek .
No, I’ve always held Dorothy Lamour as being the ultimate queen of Glamour Beach.
(Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable do figure in there too as style consultants).
So I got the Dorothy hair style down but the swim suit was missing.
But no longer…
(sound of a fanfare here and a ta-da!)
Move over Dorothy, Vera’s gonna kick some sand in your face.
This is the most recent proto-type: I’m on version 2 of the pants and version 6 of the bra. It still has pins holding the straps on and a couple of construction issues to iron out but basically it’s the swimsuit of my dreams come to life.
The lycra is swimwear quality (apparently not all lycra is made equal? … something I need to find out more about) and I lined the bottoms in power-net so don’t even have to remember to hold my tum in all the time- the suit does it for me. The bra cups are backed with a seamed cotton cup for better shaping than lycra alone would give though I’m going to try them in the power-net too just to see how that works… that would make the whole suit stretchy and more modern in construction.
There’s light nylon bones in the sides of the top so it doesn’t crumple and plastic swimwear clasps to close the back band and neck strap. The bottom cut is a little shorter than the one Dorothy is wearing but is still proper ‘big pants’ and I’m loving the modesty panel. Possibly the most flattering suit I’ve put on in recent years.
And a 1 piece version in the works too.
I’ll have a red one, a black one, more print ones, a stretchy lace one, a gold one… one for every day of the week!
24 Apr 2011
in 1940's, dressmaking, sewing, Swimsuits, vintage
Tags: 1940's, dressmaking, sewing, swimsuit, vintage patterns
Project ‘Swimsuit’ is finally under way.
All last summer I talked about making some retro styled beachwear for myself, daughter and friends.
Did I actually get around to it ? weeelll, I sketched ideas, collected some 1940′s and 1950′s patterns and original garments for reference… and then suddenly last summer was over.
But amazing early warm sunny weather has hit the south coast of England this last week and my thoughts turned once again to sun and sea.
I saw this 1940′s pattern at the Vintage Pattern Lending Library and decided it was the answer to my annual beachwear problems.
The cotton fabric is from a French Connection skirt I bought 6 years ago. I always loved the print but finally the waist just became too tight so the skirt landed in my scrap bag only to be recently rediscovered and recycled into this swimsuit.
The top is bagged out with a lightweight black cotton poplin and that is what I used to make the shorts that attach under the skirt as well.As the fabric was limited cutting out was tight. The waistband is pieced from 3 scraps and I narrowed the band on the bottom of the bodice to be the same width as the waistband. My skirt finishes 1&1/2″ shorter than the pattern which was just too long for my 5’4″ height and I saved a bit more on the cutting layout by not including the 2″ hems allowed for on the pattern. The fit was perfect and the pattern for the shorts underneath could make a great pair of flat front wide legged trousers at a later date.
A cotton swimsuit will be quite a different experience from a lycra one especially in terms of drying out time after a dip. I’m ready to put up with some dampness in exchange for style though.
All in all I’m really pleased with the outcome and full sail ahead.