Handbags and Gladrags

Where did that summer go? Cold, wet and nasty here in the UK now… where I am at any rate. But tomorrow morning at some hideously early hour I start the 18 hour long trip that lands me in still warm and sunny southern New Mexico to visit my mum for two weeks. A very welcome break from work and crummy weather 🙂 So this post is a quicky Hi y’all with a free 50’s style dress pattern AND a cute bag to make. I did these two projects for the Christmas issue of Making Magazine that hit the newsstands yesterday. The patterns can be downloaded from my free stuff page. The dress pdf is 33  pages! I’ve put the full size A0 & A1 pattern pdfs up too for those of you with access to large format printers.  I expect to be making quite a number of the bags myself soon in tweed, fake leopard fur, sequin- fab to give as  Christmas presents I thought.

photo of brocade party dress
VeraVenus 1950’s party Dress

small black suede evening bag by Veravenus

I’ve got lots of other posts in the works too: “Waist Not, Want not” about, you guessed it,  ideas of what to do when that lovely vintage skirt/jacket/dress  fits you everywhere but the waist is just too tight. I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently doing alterations on my own wardrobe tackling  exactly this issue and I have a 40’s cocktail dress and a Tippi Hedron style 60’s suit waiting for me in NM that certainly will need some waistline adjustments (letting out in other words).  As if I’d let a little thing like a too small waistband stop me from wearing vintage  😉

Another post coming soon is titled “All That Glitters”.  It will mainly be about working with difficult fabrics like sequins and lamé since I seem to be making a number of sparkly things these days not the least of which is this sequin gown from a 1930 pattern. I added a back cowl drape to it and am making a matching cape as well. This is a personal project no less and I’m going to have to work very hard at where on earth I’ll wear it! Hmmm, maybe a Dinner At Eight themed birthday party in January? *sigh*  A girl can dream.

In the meantime I’d better pack for my trip. Hope you enjoy the dress and bag patterns, screenshot_259See you soon!

©VeraVenus1930sequin dress

20 thoughts on “Handbags and Gladrags

  1. I was so glad when I read your blog and saw that you are going to NM I have benen there two times sinne I was retired
    I live in Sweden and love to sew clothes
    And I like yout patterns and you creativity

    IngaLill Fridh

    1. Thank you for your comment IngaLill. Yes NM is a wonderful and interesting place. And it will be so nice just to be in warm sun there for a few weeks…. still pretty cool here in the UK.

  2. Hi Vera, I’m inspire by your beautiful designs! Like Terri, I too just got (on lay away) a brand new Bernina, and am dying to begin sewing your coat blanket. I’m slightly intimidated, however, by the idea of having to piece together pages of print out to create a full pattern! Any tips? Thanks again for your presence on the inter-web!

    1. Hi Caroline, a full size (A0) pattern for the coat exists, just send me an email via my contact form saying you’d like to have it and I’ll email it to you by return. You can then get it printed out at many print shops that do large size prints. I have posted a few suggestions of ones in various countries that can do it over on the right side bar of the blog.

      If you do want to go the tape it together way a map of how the pages get laid out is included in the tiled pdf. A large table or floor space, scissors and enough tape and patience are really all thats needed to put it together. Perhaps tape together each row across first and then tape full row to full row. Each page has trim lines and notches to help with the lining up.

      And enjoy your new Bernina…. I’m sure you’ll put it to good use!

  3. Hi, Vera…I hope this blog is still an active one. What an awesome seamstress you are! I love your creativity. Wow! I can’t wait to see what else you have on your site. I used to sew – many, many moons ago, in a galaxy far far away. My husband recently spent quite a bit of money getting me two Bernina sewing machines and everything else I need to pick it back up again now that I’ve retired (early). You have inspired me! Thanks. 🙂

    1. Hi Terri, wow-2 Berninas, how fab!
      Yes my blog is still active…. I’ve never been a frequent blogger at any rate but do lurk and manage a post and a new pattern every so often.
      Good luck on your re-entry into the wonderful world of sewing, glad you stopped by and said ‘Hi’ 🙂

  4. HI Jeanne! I always know when you’re quiet that something must be on the boil…and such lovely patterns! I love the box pleats on the dress, a great way to get volume without having to hem a circle skirt. Though, a bit disappointed in the machined hem in the magazine pictures. Oh how much nicer a blind hem looks, but it seems to be the norm now even in high-end stores to machine-hem. I don’t really understand that, as with the blind hem stitch on your sewing machine (the one that looks like a cardiogram) its not even that hard…Anyway, enough of that, have a wonderful time in sunny NM! And thanks again for sharing your lovely gowns, I hope you find an event for that gold number. I can picture you in a photo shoot among the cactuses and desert landscapes…

    1. Hi Melanie, lol, I wondered if someone would take me to task on not doing an invisible hem… well I just didn’t have time! Also have never actually blind hemmed by machine though I’ve seen how its done. The dress was returned to me after the photo shoot and I already did take the machine stitching out as I want it that couple of inches longer and do intend to re-hem invisibly… at some point. On some garments I do like the way blatant machine sewing looks but I agree on this fabric it will look nicer not. So it may be a good idea to practice blind hemming by machine ready for the next time I’m on a tight deadline 🙂

  5. Oh my LOVE the bag!! The dress is fab as well, but I seem to have a thing for bags…don’t have to worry about fit!!! Is there ANY chance you would do the pattern for the dress you just teased us with (the one you added the back cowl to)??? pretty please?? I would LOVE to make that for daughters prom dress.

    1. Hi sara, if you click the underlined 1930 in the post it should take you to the Vintage Pattern Lending library which is where I got the pattern from. The cowl addition is simply cut as a wide but not deep triangle. Your daughter would be very lucky indeed if you made that dress for her prom! Its a nice pattern and not difficult to put together.

  6. Thanks for sharing these fabulous patterns. I’ll try this lovely bag soon! Have a nice time with your mum1

  7. Wow! That dress is incredible – I adore the fabric – it would be great to know what kind of fabric it is and where you got it from. The gold slinky dress is also incredibly glamorous and I would love to own this, if only I had somewhere to to go to justify wearing such a gorgeous thing. 🙂


    1. The fabric came from a little fabric shop called New fabric Fair in Brighton that sells a real ‘bit of this,bit of that’ selection of fabrics… I never know what gems I might find there. It’s a kind of textured brocade, almost a bit puffy. It’s a silk and synthetic mix it think. The cut edges frayed like mad so all the seams are bound and the dress is unlined. Easy to line if you wanted to though.

  8. Now, this dress is perfect for some fabric I picked up this week in a charity shop, I’m printing it off right now!
    Looking forward to uour future posts, especially the waist adjustment one. I recently bought a beautiful 1950’s vintage dress and the only bit that doesn’t fit is the waist.

  9. Love the dresses.
    we have just had a vintage clothing weekend near us. What outfits from the 40s and 50s . So inspiring to get sewing for our summer coming up soon

  10. Thank you! They’re both gorgeous. The bag is on my list as of right now.

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