VV About


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 Ginger Rogers

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 while living on the South Coast of England with my husband, three dogs, three birds and a cat. From 2011-15  I  regularly designed contemporary sewing patterns and wrote 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 through my contact form

  • Jeanne

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!

BioBar2 copy

71 thoughts on “VV About

  1. Hi Denise, I really enjoyed reading your about page and you are one talented lady indeed! Your patterns are really lovely and I especially love the 50s dress and going full glamour with the stole. Thank you for sharing your wonderful site. If you or your readers would like to view my vintage indie store for some ideas https://vintagesewingpatterncompany.com/ I would be overjoyed! I will definitely be sending some of my customers over to you in the future and if you are interested I would be over the moon if you would like us to add you to our partners list on our website? Take care all of you wonderful sewers. Happy sewing !

  2. I absolutely love clothes from 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. What a treasure to have found your sitr.

  3. Enjoying your blog, suggested by Anna Depew of A Few Threads Loose. I belong to many vintage pattern facebook groups and know her from those too. I love the 30’s and 40’s, learning about their history and the patterns of course. Sewn since age 10 but not for myself in some time. This will change. Loved doing modern dance costume design and production in the late 80’s – one a production on the Life of Georgia O’Keeffe.

    Thank you sew much for the French Knickers download. Think I’ll make a practice pair first and then…is stretch lawn even a fabric?

    Take care,

    1. Hi Harriet,you are very welcome. Thank you for stopping in and saying ‘Hello’ too 🙂 I recognise your name from FB, sure we are in a couple of the same groups. Stretch lawn? Hmmmm, I don’t see why not. Sounds lovely at any rate. A practice pair is a good idea as the amount of ease and the crotch depth are a bit more generous than some modern makers expect. I do hope you enjoy getting back to making for yourself! All the best, Jeanne

  4. Hi Jeanne, thank you for the free patterns. It’s refreshing, when your site says ‘free’ , the patterns are actually free !
    My daughter loves the 50’s style, for her body type. So I’m going to try your 50’s style dress. Seems simple enough for me, haha. We’ll see
    Your designs are lovely and I appreciate your instructions on how to creat a pattern from personal body measurements.
    Thx again for your expertise, Jeanne
    Chris, Ontario, Canada

    1. Hi Chris, sorry for my slow reply, I’m away from home for a month and it’s tricky for me to log into the business end of my site. Anyway you are very welcome! I agree with you completely about the free means free aspect. I hope the dress for your daughter turns out well, send me a pic if you can. Happy sewing 🙂

    1. Thanks Denise, and I hope the patterns work well for you! You can always ask questions via my contact form if you need help with them.

    2. I’ve admired Vintage ’30’s & 40’s clothing since I first saw them on Jazz singers, actresses, dancers and musicans! Since I carry the name of Anita Page the American Actress Talkies actress of the 30’s it all kind of blends together. My basic Singer sewing experience can inspire my interest in bringing these fabulous styles of clothing back to be noted by new viewers and Fashionistas alike! This is my first time becoming acquainted with your blog and what a very pleasant introduction I have had! Thank-you for being a link to History that truly stays relevant through Classic fashion!

  5. Omg! I just fell in love with you, while reading your “about me” page. Found you via a link someone posted on FB for your French Tap Pants. Your word choice as well as your love of creating conspired to enchant me. You live the life I dreamed of during my youth and young adulthood. I have made stuttering attempts at that life myself, cultivating my love of fashion- sewing, knitting, buttons (Plus’s food and gardening and all things beautiful…) I have finally made peace with myself over the last couple of years, and love the life I have in Vermont with my wife and pets. I’m one of the few in my town who “dress”. It is totally fun and I do it for my own entertainment.

    I look forward to reading through your blog.
    FYI I have an Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LillysAtticAndGarden
    I sell mostly Buttons.
    You made my morning! ❤️

    1. Hi Lisa, nice to meet you 🙂 Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment ❤️. Your reasons for ‘dressing’ are certainly the two best there are! Vermont is so beautiful, especially in the Fall…. we just don’t get those fabulous leaf colours here in the UK. I miss that and envy you seeing that every day. I’ve faved your etsy shop. If you get an order being sent to NM it’s very likely me as I go there twice a year to visit family and pick up any US purchases I’ve made (international mail is so chancy…. I’ve been waiting almost 4 weeks for some buttons from Florida. They were sent to NM but arrived a day after I left, so were forwarded to me Priority Intl. Mail; I thought how long can a little packet of buttons take? Ha. According to tracking info they went to Amsterdam, then Helsinki (!?!) and sat there for over two weeks and are now supposedly on their final leg of the journey to the UK. I’ll believe it when I have them in my hands. Lol get me blathering on about my current button woes. Enjoy the autumn in Vermont!

  6. I’ve just found your site through Pinterest and am so pleased to find an interesting and practical site on vintage clothing. I’ve downloaded the Granny knickers and am dying to start them, but it’s 5am (sleepless night 🙁 ) and I think better wait til a bit later to get the machine going!

  7. First time visitor, and I already adore your blog! I’ve also fallen in love with the 1940s pleated coat.

  8. I have made the pussycat bow blouse and the keyhole neck blouse. Every time I wear them, I get loads of compliments. Thanks Vera Venus.

    1. Hi Deb, thanks so much for coming by to let me know! I’m very happy they worked so well for you 🙂

  9. Sorry you left the Upper West Side, Jeanne; i could have popped over for a pleasant chat about our shared love of well-designed and tailored vintage clothing.

    1. Hi Patricia, glad you popped in here! Are there any good vintage shops around the Upper West Side these days? It had changed so much last time I was in NYC I had no idea where to look for vintage clothes.

  10. 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

    1. 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!

  11. 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
    Melbourne, Australia

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. 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 !!

  14. 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

  15. 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 🙂

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

  16. 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

    1. 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:)

  17. 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 !!!

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