1930s Velvet Evening Gown Inspiration

To get right to it, I have about two weeks to make my Christmas Party dress.

This year it’s green and it’s velvet, and it’s all the fault of these shoes…

Miss L Fire "Gabrielle" 1940s Crystal Pumps from RoyalVintageShoes.com
“Gabrielle” 1940s suede and crystal pumps. Merciful heavens. $160

…the most beautiful shoes in the world. These are “Gabrielle” by Miss L Fire, a brand any vintage fashion enthusiast will have no doubt heard of. We carry a small selection of Miss L Fire at Royal Vintage, and while photographing these shoes for the shop, I fell madly in love and ended up buying my own product.

No regrets.

They’re so beautiful it hurts. Unfortunately I had/have absolutely nothing to wear them with, so off to Mill End I went to find a matching color fabric for an over-the-top evening gown mind-designing itself in my head.

Fabric acquired, time to figure out how to make the thing. The vision I have involved shirring, puff sleeves, and a bias-cut skirt, but I can’t find a pattern! That means drape-enstein-ing one together, and quickly. More on that later.

In the meantime, inspiration!

Antique Dress
Source unknown – this one has the same type of sleeves as the purple gown above it
Guermantes Vintage on Etsy
Dear Golden on Etsy
Dita Von Teese in stunning vintage velvet – Vogue
Valentina, 1939 – The Met
Molyneux, 1935 – Kyoto Costume Institute
Dear Golden Vintage on Etsy
Rococo Vintage on Etsy

For lots more vintage velvet inspiration, from the 1920s – 60s, check out my dedicated Vintage Velvet Fashions on Pinterest.

I guess I’d better get to work!


  • Esz

    November 24, 2015 at 7:08 AM

    You might have already seen this pattern – but its very much like the first two dresses you posted.

    Beccie from Sew Retro Rose has made it up twice at least. Its a pretty spectacular gown and would look amazing in velvet!

    I envy you folk in the northern hemisphere that get to wear velvet and furs during party season. In the Antipodes we swelter at the mere thought! And it means that the beautiful holiday outfits on Etsy are never of the right materials to be wearing in an Australian summer

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 24, 2015 at 10:25 PM

      I've been eyeballing that pattern. It's gorgeous but not quite what I had in mind (which may not exist, lol). I may have to get the pattern for the future, though. It really is stunning

  • PinhouseP

    November 24, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    Ooo, exciting! Love your inspiration. That green dress from Kyoto, and the two first images are my favorites. The shoes are such eyecandy, I would totally sew a dress just to have a reason to wear them 😀 Can't wait to see what you make!

  • Cate

    November 25, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has left this to the last minute. I have three weeks to make mine, thankfully I do have a pattern but need to make some changes to it to make it just how I want. Mine's going to be in burgundy velvet and your inspiration has made me wish I had more of the fabric to make it bias cut. I can't wait to see what you come up with to go with those absolutely stunning shoes. We know these shoes very well in the UK as they were featured in a national advertising campaign and everyone wanted a pair!

  • RLC

    November 26, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    How exciting. I love your inspiration gowns and I don't know if I could have said no to those shoes either. Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s is a great book on 1930s clothing that came out last year. The photos are total eye candy, if you like that period. Can't wait to see what you make. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading