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Behind the VeraVenus blog and patterns is me, Jeanne, a designer & costumier with over 40 years of pattern designing and sewing experience and a life long love of 30’s, 40’s & 50’s clothes.

The sewVeraVenus blog is my take on vintage-style dressmaking mainly through personal projects and some of my professional work too which often relates to vintage. I’ll be posting tutorials on pattern drafting and sewing, some free patterns and lots of inspiration. My aim is to share and encourage the pleasure of making beautiful clothes.

Jean HarlowKatharine Hepburn Annex - Rogers, Ginger_NRFPT_01

Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers are my style muses… I loved watching classic Hollywood films as a kid and as soon as I was old enough to buy my own clothes I headed straight to the vintage shops of NYC’s East Village and Upper West Side. I was taught to sew by my mother and an aunt at a young age and practiced on my vintage finds.  At 17 I had my ideal summer job in a tiny treasure trove of a vintage clothing shop on St. Marks Place called ‘Happily Ever After’.  My daily outfits were 20’s chiffons, 30’s silk velvets and 40’s crepes with a dash of Edwardian whites. I tottered about on glittery 3″ platform shoes with 6″heels – it was a lot of fun dressing up in the 1970’s.

Next came a Fashion degree from Parsons School of Design NYC , still wearing vintage of course and then a life-long career of design, illustrating, pattern-drafting and making for fashion, film, dance, theatre and private bridal clients began.

In 1986  I was offered a design assistant/pattern cutter position in a London fashion company which I accepted and have lived in the UK ever after.
Since ’91  I have been a freelance costumier mainly for the ‘Light Entertainment’ field ( tv, films, advertising and pop-music costuming ) while living on the South Coast of England with my husband, two dogs, three birds and a cat. From 2011-15 I  regularly designed contemporary sewing patterns and tutorials for a UK craft magazine.

My inclination to wear lovely yet impractical clothing has never really changed over the years though the heels of my shoes are significantly lower than they used to be. I collect special vintage pieces, particularly lingerie, and 30s-50s inspired styles are what I like to sew for myself.

Being creative is a compulsion; baking, gardening,  decorative furniture painting and the occasional (and always disastrous) knitting project. When not making things I like to read books about making things. I’m a terrible magpie of a collector too… bits of Japanese made lusterware china, vintage tins, old quilts, pre WWII kimonos, vintage sewing patterns and dressmaking books.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your look around my site.

If you’d like to get in touch you can contact me here.

  • Jeanne

I create, therefore I am.

P.S.

I often get asked about the name VeraVenus: It comes from an afternoon spent googling who knows what and I came across VeRa Venus : Venus Express Radio Science Experiment.  Something about that really fired my imagination and VeraVenus became the name.

All aboard the VeraVenus Express!

BioBar2 copy

51 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Osterbur
    Sep 05, 2016 @ 06:01:31

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your creative and lively history. I’m creative and never stop learning! I knit, crocheter, sew, and make jewelry.. I’m an interror decorator, semi-retired from 15 yrs as a custom drapery workroom, designing and fabricating custom window treatments and all soft furnishings as well as upholstery. Slowing down on that end of things has freed me up to do a lot more sewing. Susan

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Sep 06, 2016 @ 11:15:05

      Hi Susan, yes, so good to keep on learning. I still hope to learn upholstery some day…. I often see broken down old sofas and chairs with still beautiful wood frames and imagine how gorgeous they could be again. Some day. Enjoy your more sewing time!

      Reply

  2. Anna
    Jul 26, 2016 @ 12:30:38

    What beautiful patterns! Thank you for making this blog. I would love to make the little bias dress. Could you please send me the link for the pattern to be printed on A0?

    Thank you
    Anna
    Melbourne, Australia

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Jul 26, 2016 @ 16:44:29

      Hi Anna, if you send me a direct message using my Contact Form (in the drop-down menu below gallery & About) then I will email it directly to you!

      Reply

  3. andrea
    Jul 18, 2016 @ 12:29:40

    Will you be making your bra available in 38F at some point? According to the size chart, that would be a perfect fit. Thank you!

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Jul 18, 2016 @ 14:16:48

      Hi Andrea, I could hand grade it. I don’t often get asked for the 38 band range and so never bothered to finish the set. Give me a couple of days and then send me a message via my contact form if you are still interested, I’ll try and get it done for you.

      Reply

  4. Jennifer Marney
    Jul 11, 2016 @ 12:58:35

    I love vintage patterns I recently bought a 1960’s pattern for a trouser suit ! I usually stick to the 1940’s era but this one caught my eye ! I’ve finished the trousers which are both comfortable & chic !!

    Reply

  5. Robyne
    Jul 11, 2016 @ 03:46:08

    love your patterns and ideas. Keep it up.
    When my eldest sister passed away I ended up with all her material and patterns. I put the patterns in a box and forgot about them. As the weather has been dreadful here in Australia lately I decided to clean out some of the boxes I have in the corner and I found all her Enid Gilcerst patterns from the 50s. I have had fun looking at them can’t wait to draw out the patterns and make the clothes

    Reply

  6. Pam
    Jun 15, 2016 @ 03:00:04

    LOVE your site! LOVE your work! Love the same stuff you do… lol. 57 And been sewing 40 years… Oh how I wish the internet and Pinterest would have been around when I was 17 and really getting serious about sewing. Keep on creating! I’m loving what you’re sharing here…thank you 🙂

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Jun 15, 2016 @ 08:15:46

      Thank you Pam. Well if the internet had been around when we were 17 I doubt we’d have got as much done 😉

      Reply

  7. Esther
    Mar 06, 2016 @ 13:50:46

    Great blog you have! I stumbled upon it via a free pattern on pinterest 🙂 I’ll come and visit some times, thanks for all the sewing info that you share. Regards ,Esther

    Reply

  8. joyphilclare
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 15:31:07

    Thank you for sharing information about yourself and all you do. I remember the 50’s!

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Nov 30, 2015 @ 16:17:29

      My mum still had control of my wardrobe in the 50’s but I remember some of her clothes as they ended up in my dressing-up box, some good stuff! Thanks for stopping by Joy:)

      Reply

  9. Jenny Marney
    Sep 10, 2015 @ 12:34:26

    I love all your patterns but particularly the beautiful Lingery patterns which I struggle with because I find working with delicate silks & satins challenging & I share another passion Audley shoes !!!

    Reply

  10. Jennifer Marney
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 20:08:08

    Seconded !!!

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 21:50:41

      Hi Jennifer, and thank you too for stopping by.

      Reply

      • Jennifer Marney
        Sep 10, 2015 @ 12:49:45

        I love all your patterns particularly the lovely Lingery which I struggle with as I find working with silks & satins we also share another passion Audley shoes

        Reply

  11. Georgia
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:43:27

    Dear Jeanne, hi!
    I’m from Greece and a “rookie” in clothe making.In real life I’m a bank manager :D…I really admire your talent and inspiration which I find very encouraging and fascinating.The fashion decades you’re refering to are-in my opinion- of the most classy,refined and feminine.
    I wish you’re always as creative and as passionate!
    All the best,
    Georgia

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 21:47:15

      Thank you Georgia! I hope you persevere with your clothes making and become more than a rookie. It has to be one of the top most satisfying things to do in terms of creating something with your own hands. If you have a go with one of my patterns and want any advice just drop me a line, always happy to help!

      Reply

  12. Julia
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 07:35:43

    Hello Jeanne,
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing those incredibly beautiful patterns with everybody. I already sewed your french knickers and the kimono blouse, and they have a perfect fit! Also for not so experienced sewers -like me- its possible to get a good result 🙂 And yesterday i made my weekly visit in the textile shop for another kimono blouse 😉 your page is very inspiring and makes me get a tingle in my fingers to sew something new every time i visit it 🙂 (i hope the expression also makes sense in english.. i’m not a native speaker 😉 )
    I appreciate your work a lot, thumbs up !!

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Jun 13, 2015 @ 20:38:14

      Thank you Julia for commenting! It is wonderful to hear that you are finding my patterns work well, especially as a less experienced sewer. That is very good news for me 🙂

      Reply

  13. xoxlaurelei
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:25:48

    I think you are lovely, and your style is incredible. And oh my, Katharine Hepburn will always be my hero. Wasn’t she the most beautiful, willful, independent, brilliant roll model?

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Mar 25, 2015 @ 17:09:26

      Thank you laurelei and yes she really was! And on a frivolous note it always cheered me up immensely up to think her hair was actually quite curly even though it always looked so sleek in films and press photos, and when she was older she just let those curls out.

      Reply

  14. mkslcsw
    Feb 13, 2015 @ 11:09:22

    Jeanne, I somehow found my way to your site through Pinterest. Your work and blog are so inspirational, and I thank you for your generosity in sharing your patterns for free. If you don’t mind, I would like to share the information about your blog in my own blog and I will be subscribing to your site.

    As a former New Yorker myself, by way of Brooklyn, I enjoyed reading your bio. Best wishes to you in all that you do.
    Mary

    Reply

    • VeraVenus
      Feb 13, 2015 @ 19:34:13

      Hi Mary * insert fellow NY-er wave * thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate that you took the time!

      Reply

  15. sofia
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 17:40:16

    félicitation pour votre super site pleins d’idées d’avant à maintenant des modèles intemporels encore bravo de partager tout ça

    Reply

  16. Adrienne
    Dec 23, 2014 @ 15:12:08

    wow lucky you marvelous of you to share your blog with us. I love vintage too but have not worn too much of it. Thanks for the fabulous patterns

    Reply

  17. Amanda Johnson
    Oct 24, 2014 @ 16:28:03

    Wow !! Love your style and admire your knowledge and ability to make such beautiful things to wear!! I share ur passion and love of vintage style..lord knows they just don’t make things nowadays like they used to …sadly however I do not posses experience of sewing but it is a new goal! Thank you for taking the time to share not only the process but the patterns as well!! That in and of itself is a lot to do!! Thanks again sincerely, Amanda

    Reply

  18. Janina villafane
    Oct 16, 2014 @ 12:13:20

    Love these patterns. They make me so thrilled to start creating them. Thank you.

    Reply

  19. Ronda Fleming
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 07:17:29

    I just wanted to drop you a line and say How Much I Love you Patterns! I made a top and dress from your beautiful Sundress Bodice. I will be soon making the Bias Godet dress soon.. If you wanted to see some photos http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/im-blue-for-paris

    Reply

  20. JUDY
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:12:45

    Love, love, love!! Found your Pinterest boards too!!

    Reply

  21. JUDY
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:00:41

    Thank you for sharing these delightful patterns!

    Reply

  22. tamarabloom
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 18:34:20

    As a very beginner I’m a little nervous about having a go at some of these, but nothing ventured… Was delighted to hear you’re in the British South, where I grew up. Thanks for sharing such lovely stuff and a bit of yourself on here!

    Reply

  23. Gretchen Mastrogiannis
    Oct 13, 2013 @ 10:29:03

    I just read your bio. I think we may share similar DNA. Except for the job in England I felt like, “that is me!” Now I am so excited to stroll through your designs and inspiration. Thanks, nice to know I’m not alone in my obsessions.

    Reply

  24. Amanda
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 05:21:10

    You have a really fantastic blog. I loved scrolling down because every time it moved I kept thinking ” oh I love that” , ” oh and i love that too” . Everything you make is just beautiful and so elegant and you are obviously very talented.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply

  25. Erin
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 23:18:08

    Thank you for sharing, Gorgeous site! I have been a picker of vintage for many years. I have been influenced by the tailoring of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s to get into sewing. I am a late starter, but better late than never! I looked at a few of your post and you are such an inspiration!

    Reply

  26. Jennifer Marney
    May 21, 2013 @ 01:40:45

    Beautiful site & so informative & inspiring 🙂

    Reply

  27. CurlsnSkirls
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 20:52:22

    Hello!

    I’ve nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award, and hope you will accept.

    Your blog has been so interesting and inspiration, literally & figuratively helping me in sew many ways! One of my hopes this year is to start creating some of the great projects you’ve posted – they really inspire me.

    Rules, etc., are posted here.
    http://curlsnskirls.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/last-october/

    From a very grateful reader,
    D’ellis at CurlsnSkirls
    http://curlsnskirls.wordpress.com

    Reply

  28. Magical Effects of Thinking
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 04:03:50

    I create therefore I am. That’s perfect. Lovely About Page my dear.

    Reply

  29. Jeremias Tamayo Paz
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 01:42:55

    Just wanted to say you have a great site and thanks for posting!…

    Reply

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