Capital ‘V’ Vintage, A Bias LBD & A 2yr Blogoversary!

Chestnut Satin & velvet 30's dress
Chestnut brown satin & velveteen 30’s dress

This past wet and cold Sunday morning seemed a good day for mooching around antique markets so the Mister and I headed to Lewes, East Sussex.Lewes shops Brighton has some good ones too but the grass is always greener in Lewes. I got to choose where to start and it was straight to my fave, May’s Antiques, where a small but great selection of mostly pre 50’s clothes, is always to be found. I do buy and wear some 60s/70s clothes but sometimes I just want something older than I am- and that’s what I call Capital ‘V’ Vintage. Within minutes I saw this wonderful 1930’s chestnut brown bias cut full length gown and just knew we were made for each other. The main fabric is slinky rayon satin and the upper bodice is a dense cotton velvet. The winged sleeves have something stiff and slightly crunchy in them to make them stand up… I’m thinking probably a wide horsehair braid. The panels are pieced in lovely curved lines but it was the back detail that was the deal maker. It’s in pretty good shape, only a couple of small mends and a dry-clean needed. I really rarely make such a flash decision- and do sometimes regret it when I do but not this time. I consider the dress a ‘study piece’ however it does fit me well and could certainly be worn if the right occasion arises. ‘Dinner at Eight’ anyone?

Just as I was leaving I spotted these four French magazines. I almost didn’t look at them because I thought they were the same vintage Marie Claire magazines that I’d already bought a few of a while back and boy oh boy I’m so glad I took a second look! The earliest is from 1939 and the latest 1951.

Elegance covers

The cover illustrations are so gorgeous that I would have bought just those if that’s all there was to them but the insides are just packed with page after page of fabulous dress illustrations and a few more colour plates too. I’ll post a few scans from them at a later date, they are very inspirational if you are interested in details from this period.

Lewes Flea MarketMoving along to The Lewes Flea Market we admired a small 1834 painting of a Brighton Shrimp boy, pondered over pretty china, discussed the clock yet again, patted some sad taxidermy and finally arrived in front of this lovely art-deco convertible brooch.

deco convertible brooch

A while ago I read a great post on Oh For The Love Of Vintage all about dress clips and then realised a little clip I already had was actually half of a convertible brooch. Then I received a complete convertible brooch this Christmas and as of Sunday I have three ( two and a half really) convertible brooches. And that’s how a collection begins!


If you saw my Birdy Beret pattern review post last week I mentioned I was going to a White Mink “speakeasy” night and aimed to make a new dress in a day.

This LBD (Little Black Dress or Little Bias Dress, take your pick) was the result, made in record time!Bias LBD

8:30 am-9 drink coffee.

9-10:30 make the pattern.

10:30-11:30 cut out.

11:30-12 drink coffee.

12-5 sew as fast as possible.

5-6 take a break & say hi to family.

6-7 try on and decide a black organza flower brooch decoration is desperately needed and make one.

7-8:30 bath, hair, make-up and wolf some dinner down.

9pm-2am dance, dance, dance!

Saturday – lie on a sofa and don’t move much.

Now, I know for a fact a lot of other sewers get that awful compulsion to make something new at the last minute rather than wear something already in the closet. Confess that you’ve gone out with a raw edge hem or a waist pinned together – or what is the most unfinished state you’ve ever worn a dress in?? Tell me, I won’t tell, I promise!


And shame on me as I forgot VeraVenus’s blogoversary on January 11th….will she ever forgive me ?!

To belatedly celebrate and show my heart-felt thanks to all you SewVeraVenus readers and followers for your ongoing interest and encouragement I’ll be posting a new free downloadable pattern quite soon: I thought I’d do that new LBD pattern in two sizes and also a give-away draw for one printed and mailed to anywhere copy of this dress pattern. Plum 40's copycat dressStay tuned for the announcement. I hesitate to say how ‘soon’ is quite soon… as I need to digitize and redraw it, but I’ll try for not too long a ‘soon’. Meanwhile I leave you with this swinging clip from White Mink.


19 thoughts on “Capital ‘V’ Vintage, A Bias LBD & A 2yr Blogoversary!

  1. I’m so jealous that you could draw up a pattern, cut out and make a dress and wear it all in one day. Well done.

    1. 🙂 I doesn’t happen all that often- only worked this time because the dress was based on that pj top, the seams are all simply pinked and there’s no zip.

  2. You are awesome! Love the brown satin (thanks for showing it off), looove the LBD (and I was thinking, want the pattern, want the pattern, and then what do you do? Offer us the pattern!).
    I made my first silk slip last week, cut on the bias. It was a little tricky, but I used your tips – spanking new sharp needle and put paper under the silk when I sewed the lace to the bottom…worked ok for a first try. Think I might have stretched the side seams a little as they are a bit bubbly. Pressing them improved it, perhaps that will drop out?
    Anyway, all good practice for your LBD, which looks divinely sinuous!

    1. I like ‘awesome’! thank you 🙂

      Re-bias seams bubbling, it is often a problem to some degree. Tons of vintage pieces bubble a bit too and many modern high-street bias dresses bubble terribly. I find a hand washing can help pull any stretched bits back into line on things like slips or french knickers. Wish I had a one-shot answer for it but patience and just gaining more bias sewing experience helps. Even though I’ve sewn a lot of bias I feel it’s a perpetual learning curve.

      Paper under the lace is someone elses tip I think, but did it help keep the bias hem from distorting? I may have to try that out. I use paper for tissue paper-sandwich cutting-out for slippy fabrics but hardly ever for sewing…the picking it out of stitches tests my patience! How did you find that to do?

      1. I have to admit the paper is still in there! Well I used it under the lace which I was zigzagging into the silk hem, around the lace designs. It was slipping all over so I just grabbed a sheet of copy paper and it stabilised everything, but I hadn’t really thought how to get it out after! I got the excess away easy enough, but I’m hoping with a hand wash it will melt away, hmmm wishful thinking? The bubbled seams have settled now after a few wearings, thanks for your encouragement and tips as always!

  3. Ooh those magazines look gorgeous. I have a small collection of old reading material have never found anything in good condition from as early as 1939!! Miss B xoxo

  4. So envious of your Vintage finds. I love those magazines! And, the Bloggin Blues dress is a favorite. Would you ever consider making the pattern available to all or is this a one off?

    1. It was a good day for finds! Many are not but the search is always enjoyable. A few French dealers bring stuff to sell in Lewes these days which makes for some interesting and different things to see.
      As to the Bloggin Blues dress, yes, for now just a one off copy as I’ll be hand drawing that one out. When I get it digitized it may be a different story.

  5. love the dress what a wonderful shop wish we had something here is SA like that

  6. Oh I would love a copy of your purple dress pattern! I will have to keep an eye out for that! Your ’30’s dress is stunning, I hope you do get a chance to wear it,

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