Wild Card Prize - A challenging cut and some challenging fabrics, which she's taken in her stride.

Partners In Crime



Jessica Storey


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographers Catrina Richards and Dilen Storey

Outline the story …

At the time the competition and theme were announced, I was actively planning to make a historically inspired holiday gown for myself. I also was reading Agatha Christie's "Partners In Crime." This particular book was published in 1929 and stars two of her recurring crime solving characters, Tommy and Tuppence. Tuppence is witty, delightful, and smart. She even uses her fashion sense to solve a murder. Married to Tommy, she lives an upperclass life, but in this book, she needs to pretend to be his secretary at a fake detective agency whose purpose is root out a Russian spy ring.

The stars seemed to be aligning for my holiday look. So, I contemplated what Tuppence would wear for an evening out while on the case. Given her status, she would have been very aware of the beautiful bias draped designs of Madeleine Vionnet from the late 20s, but playing a secretary would require a little less high fashion. I found that commercial patterns in the style of Vionnet were readily available for home sewists by 1930. Tuppence is understated yet still glamorous as a secretary. I chose to make a complete outfit beginning with proper foundations: underwear, corselet, slip, and gown. I planned for all the materials to come from my own stash.

Outline the construction…

This project was full of firsts in addition to being my first sewing competition. This is the first time I have sewn garments from vintage one size patterns and drafted my own from vintage magazine diagrams. I also learned to sew and finish several new fiddly fabrics. The pale pink rayon step-in combinations are a vintage pattern from 1929 made available by Mrs Depew, #2029. This went together easily and I only had to make adjustments for my torso length.

The corselet was drafted by me from a diagram in a 1931 French magazine also made available by Mrs Depew, #3006. With only a small picture diagram and sparse instructions translated from French, this was quite the challenge. I studied other corsets of the era to make my own changes. The biggest being using a busk instead of buttons. It is made out of coutil and a tight cotton twill from my stash. It is minimally boned and very comfortable.

The 1931 Magic Bias Slip, a diagram in the public domain, was the biggest challenge. Fitting took the longest along with the hand felling all the wiggly silk crepe edges. The steely blue stretch velvet gown, a one size 1931 pattern from Vintage Pattern Lending Library #T5846, required fitting and lengthening the bodice and reworking the skirt pieces as they didn't fit well together and were too large. It required hand stitching the skirt pieces, shirring, and hems. The belt is made/added by me with vintage buckle and shoulder clips.




  1. Avatar Retro Claude on March 11, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Oh wow just gorgeous! The shimmer of that velvet is beautiful,

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on March 12, 2021 at 12:16 am

      Thank you so much!

  2. Avatar Leora Wambach on March 11, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I love Agatha Christie’s work, and this is SO awesome!! I love the fabrics you chose and how you made all the layers, and it all just -works-! Great job!

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on March 12, 2021 at 12:17 am

      Many thanks!

  3. Avatar TERRI BLEN PARKER on March 11, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    The fabrics deserve the degree of craft(wo)manship that was invested in these vintage-style pieces. I appreciate the work that went into these designs. DELICIOUS!

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on March 12, 2021 at 12:18 am

      Thank you! I really appreciate that.

  4. Avatar Kathleen Davies on March 12, 2021 at 8:28 am

    To do something so elegant and flawless with stretch, bias, slippery fabrics deserves enormous praise! And you look so good in it, too!

  5. Avatar Anaïs on March 12, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    It looks so soft and very precise in the finish. Also, I love early XXth century fashion.

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on March 12, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Thank You. And me, too!

  6. Avatar Samanthalovestosew on March 12, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I love this costume so much! Everything about it – the era, that you did all the foundation garments, that you made the bias slip dual coloured, and of course the gorgeous velvet dress. I also did a bias-cut dress but from much-easier taffeta!

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on March 12, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you! I will have to go find your dress. I’m sure it is amazing. What category is it in? I love taffeta!

  7. Avatar Laura Sullivan on March 12, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    I am DYING! So beautifully made and with such detail. Love it, Jessica!

  8. Avatar Gail Stangeland on March 13, 2021 at 2:01 am

    What a beautiful story now I see the connection it’s stunning the under garment s the lovely dress such a glimpse of the past so wonderful good luck!!

  9. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 14, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    This is a lovely outfit and perfect for your character. I really love the slip. Such a nice addition to the whole combination.

    • Avatar Jessica on March 15, 2021 at 2:42 am

      Thank you! I think the slip is my favorite part as well.

  10. Avatar Laurie on March 19, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    Elegant. Definitely evokes the era. Very well done.

  11. Avatar Giorgio Ronchi on March 26, 2021 at 12:08 am

    This dress is wondeful. Perfect roaring twenties look.

  12. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 28, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I have a soft spot for vintage fashions, so your dress just makes me so happy! As many people have already said, it’s evident how much craftsmanship went into making this, it is beautifully finished, and really displays the drape of the fabric in its best light, very beautiful work, well done!!

  13. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    That dress is beaaauuuutiful!! 🥰🥰 All those slinky fabrics make me so stressed just thinking about sewing them haha. You’ve done an amazing job on the whole outfit! The slip is super cool.

    • Avatar Jessica Storey on April 1, 2021 at 10:25 pm

      Thank you so very much! There were quite a few time I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew.

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