custom made

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Some people put a smile on your dial in an instant. Samantha is one of those people!

She’s also a total babe.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

We met at The Very Vintage Day Out 2015, in the fruit smoothie queue – as ya do- and struck up a conversation over our outfits. Samantha’s enthusiasm and humour over the glories and pitfalls of pinup style was contagious, and I was thrilled when she contacted me about a custom dress.

Sam needed a dress for a family wedding. She was doing the flowers, so she needed to retain an easy range of movement, but still look amazing ( obviously).  Inspired by her vivacious nature, I designed something bright that showed off her stunning tattoos. I really wanted to make her feel special

The Dress

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.
Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

The resulting swing dress combined elements from the 50’s style gowns she loved, mixed with the modern comfort of a stretch cotton sateen. As always I tailored the dress to Sam’s shape for a perfect fit ( Well fitting clothes are so important but can be hard to find for our curvy pinups! ).

The bodice is fully boned for support and shaping, and while  bright floral print is colourful it doesn’t clash with her fiery red hair. Stretch mesh allows movement in the folded cowl around the wide neckline. A feminine bow and a line of sassy cobalt blue covered buttons finish the back.

For the Very Vintage Day Out 2016  Sam accessorised her dress with the most gorgeous jewel green hat, green shoes and a wide white belt.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer
Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

Sam was stoked with her dress and we’re excited be working on another gown later this year!

” Velvet is such a star! We bumped into each other at the very vintage day out in 2015 and early 2016 she finished off a beautiful custom dress for me! She was a dream to work with, a very clever lady and such a sweetheart. ”
– Samantha Keen

 

Photos of Samantha | Fran Robertson – Taken at VVDO 2016

 

If you’re interested in having your own dream garment made, you can contact me here for more information and to discuss your ideas. More happy clients and their stories can be found on my Fashion Design Page for your viewing pleasure!

With Style and Sass,

 

       Velvet DeCollete

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A Purple Freak with Tan Lines

A Purple Freak with Tan Lines

Okay honesty time: this photoset is oooold, as in November 2015 old. I shared the photos on Facebook but never blogged them because I hated my super obvious tan lines. But ya know what? I’m naturally olive skinned. It’s hard for me to stay this pale, especially in the summer. So here it is – tan-lined legs and all – because I love this purple and black ensemble.

Jaimee B (21)

Jaimee B (29)

Outfit Breakdown

Headress | Velvet DeCollete
Corset | Corset Story
Gloves | Looksharp (embellished by Velvet)
Knickers | Kmart (Embellished by Velvet)
Fishnet Pantyhose | Columbine
Shoes | Pulp Noir

Made for working the merch stall at Burlesquefest 2015 this outfit is all about the purple. The gloves and knickers are embellished with hand stitched fabric hydrangeas and irridescent sequins (hello sewing in front of the TV), while the headdress features large glitter coated roses, leaves and black feather trim with dangling glass beads and tassels. The whole shebang has a ‘gothic showgirl meets fairy’ kind of vibe to it, which I love.

I was working on costume commissions for clients leading up to the event so didn’t have time to make my own corset. I picked this one up on sale from Corset Story. It’s more of a fashion corset and doesn’t pull me in around the waist at all, but that’s fine when you’re working in it for hours!

Public safety warning – sequined knickers will get caught on fishnet tights. Caution is advised when crouching or bending over.

purple showgirl burlesque costumeblack rose headress 1black rose headress 2

I made the headdress in a few hours from supplies I had stashed away, the only thing I had to buy specifically for this was the base ( a plastic visor that I turned upright and covered with fabric ). Hairpieces and headdresses are one of those areas where you can really go crazy with contrasting textures and materials. The bigger the better!

Photos | Zandy J Photography

 

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The Orchid Dress | A Vintage Inspired Evening Gown

The Orchid Dress | A Vintage Inspired Evening Gown

Orchid Evening Dress | Beckon Couture

I’ve wanted to shoot in the Hamilton Gardens for over a year. The incredible themed areas are my dream location, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to run in with my Orchid dress as we passed by on the weekend.

I made this gown to wear to Dita Von Teese’s Sydney Strip Strip Hooray show. Thrown together in under a week of after-work evenings , it’s not perfect and needs some adjustments. All in all though it did the trick and I felt like a pinup diva!  Charlotte Cake and I were drenched in a post show storm before taking proper photos of our incredibly glam ensembles, giving me the perfect excuse to rope Duke Debonair into playing photographer.

Inspired by the elegant evening fashions of 1950’s Vogue Magazines the Orchid gown features a slim spiral skirt with gathered side and classic sweetheart bodice. Made in my signature olive green with vivid pink lining the gown boasts white and pink orchids to co-ordinate with white accessories. Vintage pink and white diamante costume jewellery ( a beautiful anniversary gift from Duke ) topped the outfit off perfectly.

Orchid Evening Dress | Beckon Couture

I Just adore how this shot in the mediation garden looks like an image from a 1950’s Vogue Magazine.

 

Orchid Evening Dress | Beckon CoutureOrchid Evening Dress | Beckon Couture

Outfit Breakdown

Dress | Bespoke gown made by me (Beckon Couture)
Gloves | Vintage
Necklace + Earrings | Tock Tick Vintage
Bracelet | Diva
Shoes | Number One Shoe Warehouse
Stockings | Pretty Polly

Hair and makeup by the wonderful Michelle of Debonair Dos, who worked her magic for the Classics Museum Calendar I modelled for just prior to this!

Photos by Duke Debonair

orchid dress6orchid dress8Orchid Evening Dress | Beckon CoutureOrchid Evening Dress | Beckon CoutureDue to our tight schedule we didn’t have time to see the whole garden. I’d love to return sometime with a whole wardrobe and a day put aside just to explore this absolute gem of a place!

Love,

            Velvet x

 

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Casually Glamorous | Michele’s Glittering Bridal Party

Casually Glamorous | Michele’s Glittering Bridal Party

Some things happen for a reason. In this case I’d say that reason is love. Michele and Rob were meant to be, and their wedding was one of the most joyous and emotional I’ve seen.

When it came to gowns Michele and her daughter Kathryn knew what they wanted. With reference pictures and (sparkling, enchanting, ocean-esque) fabrics in hand they arrived on my doorstep for Michele’s first consultation. By then end we had sketches for a glamorous wedding gown and three bridesmaids, each tailored to the individual body shape of the wearer.

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The custom design process always has ups and downs. Weight loss and a last minute bridesmaid swap due to pregnancy hit this time. Luckily creating dresses for happy people is a great motivator and a few late nights later we were back on schedule. Keeping calm when hiccups happen is part of my job as the designer – the bride has enough on her mind!

My favourite detail of Michele’s bridal gown? The beaded lace jacket. Designing around a specific lace pattern and hand stitching lace and beads is my specialty.

I carefully cut the jacket from the center length of the embellished lace, placing each pattern piece to ensure a symmetrical result. I then trimmed the wide scalloped border from the lace and hand applied it to the constructed jacket to line up with the existing motifs. Careful cutting and overlapping of the scalloped border created the right shape and fit around the hem of the garment. Any stray beads were then resewn into the design.

The result is a garment that looks like it’s made from one piece of specially designed lace, when in fact it’s made from many.

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All of the gowns are fully lined and boned to give flattering support and shape. This is essential when creating strapless dresses – there’s nothing worse than seeing a beautifully presented woman pulling up the bust of her dress!

 

 

 

 

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Why I Use Vintage Notions

Why I Use Vintage Notions

Notions are the decorative or functional trims and closings on your clothes. If you wear vintage clothing you may have noticed these tiny touches are a little different; A carved button, handwoven lace trim, that hook & eye kissing at the top of a metal zip, they’re all available new but vintage ones are just …. nicer.

So much nicer that I hunt them out to use in my reproduction garments. Not only do they add legitimate vintage elements to a design, but I find they are often better quality than their modern counterparts. ( I’ve never had a 1960’s hook and eye unbend but modern ones sure have! )

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Buttons are my biggest weakness. From the 1920’s through the 1960’s buttons were wonderfully inventive. Novelty buttons in glass, carved shell, molded plastics and wood displayed all shapes,designs and colours imaginable. The right buttons can instantly lift a dress from cute to oh-my-god-I-have-to-have-it, and I just adore them!

Some trims that are hard to find new because they simply aren’t used that often nowadays. All my circle skirts and full skirted dresses have a wide braid referred to as Horsehair in the hems to maintain shape and movement – not something you’d often see in a mainstream skirt. Leaded cord to help garments hang correctly was used by Coco Chanel, but isn’t stocked by many  modern haberdashers. Even seams were finished differently, with pinking shears leaving an attractive zig zag edge in place of unsightly overlocking.

The packaging on my old haberdashery is a nostalgic reminder of yesteryear and the importance of home sewing. Needles are meticulously packed in paper envelopes while Newey’s Hooks & Eyes claimed worldwide fame (really?). Sewing materials were salvaged, saved and re-used and notions were pricier than today’s common brands. I really enjoy the detailed packaging – complete with notes and prices scribbled by former owners – and I hope you’ll enjoy this very brief glimpse onto my sewing box…

vintage sewing supplies 1vintage sewing supplies 4vintage sewing supplies 3vintage sewing supplies 2

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Do? Voodoo! A 1920’s Voodoo Cabaret Costume

Who Do? Voodoo! A 1920’s Voodoo Cabaret Costume

Halloween darlings …. the best holiday of the year. 

Macabre temptress Bay of Bay Stagewear hosted a spooktacular pre-halloween shindig for those of us that feel one All Hallows Eve simply isn’t enough.
I was there with bells on.

Okay maybe not bells.
Or a shirt.
But there were definitely bones, feathers and a pair of green silk pasties.

voodoo priestess 193-s costume halloween

This is possibly my favourite last minute costume to date!

The Concept: I didn’t have a clear vision in mind when I started this costume, I just wanted something fun. Fun turned out to be a New Orleans Voodoo inspired 1920’s cabaret costume. I do believe it came out rather well.

The Makeup:  Influenced by stylized skull makeups and the lush greens of my headdress. I’m certainly no expert but I found a white eyeliner useful for mapping out the skull shape and mixing a little foundation with the facepaint helped it go on easier. Hit me up if you’d like a tutorial!

Scroll down for an Outfit Breakdown or click on the images to see the costume in more detail.

burlesque halloween costume tailcoat jacket aztec voodoo head dress bones spooky costume

skull, bones, feathers, aztec, voodoo, costume, halloween,

voodoo cabaret circus performer 1920s jazz new orleans style halloween costume

feather and skull custom made voodoo tribal headress hat

Outfit breakdown
Tailcoat | My amazing Mum made this for me ten years ago. I sewed skulls and chicken bones on to it two days before the party.
Headdress + Necklace + Pasties | Beckon Couture
Wig | Trademe – trimmed by me
High Waisted Underwear | Kmart
Stockings | Fiori Hosiery
Shoes | Op Shop find

Just one piece of advice dears; If you happen to be storing a large box of cleaned animal bones for an occasion such as this – make sure you seal them with resin first or you might retrieve them to find a box of dusty bone shaped chalk!

Happy Halloween, see you on the other side!

                                                                          Velvet x

 

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Patchwork Doll in Distress | A Burlesque Costume

Patchwork Doll in Distress | A Burlesque Costume

I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress, especially a pretty one. So when Pandora Cherie asked if I could make a Patchwork Doll costume on short notice I couldn’t leave her hanging. Or naked. Not that anyone would’ve complained.

The brief was simple(ish) : a patchwork dress worthy of Raggedy Ann, with a few cheeky removable panels at the hem. The sleeves needed to tear away and the dress had to withstand a 4 show run of contemporary burlesque.

The result: the sexy-cutest ragdoll you’ve ever seen.

ragdoll, burlesque, costume, bespoke, new zealand, raggedy ann, pandora cherie

ragdoll, burlesque, costume, bespoke, new zealand, raggedy ann, pandora cherie

ragdoll, burlesque, costume, bespoke, new zealand, raggedy ann, pandora cherie

ragdoll, burlesque, costume, bespoke, new zealand, raggedy ann, pandora cherie

 

Unfortunately I can’t find any photos with the sleeves and second detachable hem still on, but we can’t blame the photographers for getting distracted ;p

Photos | David Michael Photography (top 3) & James Bennet (bottom photo)
Performer | Pandora Cherie at “Life in the Toybox”
Costume | Beckon Couture

 

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‘Til Death Do Us Part | A Victorian Steampunk Wedding

‘Til Death Do Us Part | A Victorian Steampunk Wedding

Recieving photos from my clients is one of the most exciting parts of my job! Always accompanied by my squealing with delight and making my Ever Patient Husband look at every. single. photo. I gush over every detail, thankful that I get to be a part of your special events.

I shared some sneaky preview shots of Marshelle’s gown with you a few weeks ago, and now I can finally show you how fantastic she looked on her big day!Marshelle wed Reagan in a detail laden gothic ceremony at Auckland’s Hopetoun Alpha – a beautifully restored historic building. Their theme?                                                                                                                                                                               ‘Til Death Do Us Part. 

Lush Victorian styling, a generous serving of skulls and – wait for it – a cemetery on stage ensured their wedding was a theatrical start to a lifelong commitment.

gold and purple steampunk bride and groom
Marshelle dreamt of a lush Victorian inspired gown with a black, gold and purple colour scheme ( I spent a whole day trawling fabric stores for that specific shade of royal purple!). It had to incorporate an elaborate corset she had chosen, and she needed to dance in it. During the course of our meetings and fittings I designed and constructed this gown with bolero jacket to fulfill her dreams and flatter Marshelle’s bombshell curves.

offbeat black and purple alternative bride
This regal lace and taffeta gown has options – the dramatic train can be bustled to floor level, making it practical for dancing and enjoying your reception (in my mind this is a must. Those finger loops are super annoying, who wants to hold their dress up all night!?). The cropped jacket lends some extra coverage for the ceremony, and I just adore how the brocade pattern echoes the pointed cuffs! Even the wide lace straps I added to the corset can be removed at the brides whim.

I designed Reagan’s waistcoat to match the gold panels on Marshelle’s gown. There really is nothing better than a well dressed couple!

historical goth inspired bride in a top hat

Could that happy family be any cuter? Hades the dog looks very proud.
custom made metal wedding outifts

Black lace bustle steampunk wedding gown

 

Photos | Erin Currie
Bridal gown and jacket | Beckon Couture
Groom’s Waistcoat | Beckon Couture
Groom’s suit | Ebay

 

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A Mad Hatter’s Wedding

A Mad Hatter’s Wedding

Sometimes as a designer you get to work with people who light up a room. People who have effervescent personalities just bubbling over – Stacey, one of my brides this season, is one of those people!

As a bridal stylist I had the honour of helping select her gown and wedding jacket, an adorable ’50’s number for her Mad Hatter’s garden party wedding. As the details of the big day came together it sounded like so much fun – so I was thrilled when she commissioned me to make her bridal headpiece!

Stacey already had a fantastic pair of teal green shoes laced with velvet ribbons. A tiny snip and I had a velvet colour sample to work from. Stacey left Auckland, trusting me with the design of her hat. Not too big, not too small, sophisticated but still fun – it had to be just right.

Using traditional millinery techniques I crafted vibrant teal taffeta into a miniature top hat, embellished with a billowy peacock blue organza bow and fluttering peacock plumes for movement. A brooch belonging to Stacey’s grandmother would be delivered later, a final, sentimental touch.

Stacey's teal mad hatters mini top hat
Mad Hatters garden party wedding

Stacey wearing her Beckon Couture miniature bridal hat
The new standard dinosaur wedding photo!
Venue | Markovina Vineyard Estate
Stacey’s hat | Beckon Couture
1950’s style lace dress | Maggie Sottero

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 2 comments