Tag Archives: Mrs DePew

1932 vintage gown for Miss Clara Vale

I’ve been making another¬†vintage dress. This one is a 1932 inspired Chanel evening dress in teal Crepe Georgette. It was a challenging make, not least because the instructions on these vintage patterns are so sparse! That and they seemed to have very skinny arms back in those days (well that’s my excuse and I’m going to stick with it.) This is the dress that Miss Clara Vale will be wearing in book 4 in the series, Another Class of Murder. Meanwhile, I will give it a test run at Crime Fest in Bristol next week.

Fiona’s Whitley Bay dress – The Picture House Murders

Fiona shot a short ‘on location’ video at the Spanish City in Whitley Bay, near Newcastle, one of the key locations in The Picture House Murders.

Fiona made the dress she is wearing from a 1927 Mrs De Pew pattern. 

She loved the turquoise chiffon on the cover, but couldn’t find any suitable fabric (at a reasonable price!). So instead she chose a navy blue polyester silk. The trickiest part of the construction was the sash and flounce which are integrated with the dress and not just a draped scarf as it appears. The sash is made up of multiple pleats, a bit like a cumberbund. The draped scarf is threaded through a faux tortoiseshell buckle (found at a haberdashery shop) and sewn in place.

The hat is her own sunhat and she borrowed her daughter’s parasol. The gloves were bought a few years ago but were too sparkly white to look vintage. So she soaked them first in tea (which didn’t work well) then in strong coffee!

Hope you all agree she looked smashing!

Fiona’s ‘on location’ outfit

Fiona first started making 1920s clothes when her debut Golden Age crime novel, The Jazz Files, the first in the Poppy Denby Investigates series, came out in 2015. She made this outfit inspired by Lady Mary from Downton Abbey. (That’s Fiona in the photo, not Lady Mary!).

She made it from an original 1920s pattern, republished by Mrs De Pew. The hat and shoes aren’t vintage but were bought new. She started out using a vintage 1920s Singer Sewing Machine, but after much anguish and colourful language, switched to a modern machine (shhh don’t tell anyone).

She decided to wear the outfit again for her video shoots for the Clara on Location promo videos at Exhibition Park (here on the left) and at the Royal Station Hotel. To view the videos click on the video link on the top menu or visit Fiona’s YouTube channel here!