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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 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.
I create, therefore I am.
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 I adopted the name as my vintage/blogging alter-ego. All aboard the VeraVenus Express!