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Dig for Victory – amazing vintage inspired dresses

dig for victory vintage inspired dresses

Browsing etsy for 1950s prom dresses, as I am wont to do in a rainy lunch break, I came across Dig for Victory, a shop selling the most amazing vintage-style dresses custom made from vintage fabrics. Sustainable and gorgeous! Eleanor, the designer behind Dig for Victory, kindly agreed to answer some questions:

Do you want to tell me a bit about yourself and your background? How did you come to be a designer?

I’ve always loved dressing up and I’ve always tried to make my own clothes, but untill I bought an old book on pattern cutting five years ago I hadn’t had much success! I taught myself from that book and found a great sense of freedom in pattern cutting in that if I could imagine something – a dress that I’d never seen anywhere else – then with a bit of trial and error I could actually make it. I was studying philosophy and at first I just made clothes for myself but I found that I really loved having something physical to show for my labours and in 2007 I set up Dig For Victory.

dig for victory vintage inspired dresses

Do you have a particular person in mind when you design the dresses? I’m asking because your designs are quite different from each other – some of them are very authentically vintage looking, while others are using the vintage elements in a much more contemporary and playful way.

I think the different styles come from designing in and for different moods – as everyone has times when they’re feeling playful and want to wear something fun and times when they’d rather feel elegant and grown up. I actually started out making clothes for myself to wear when performing with my band, The Bobby McGee’s, and so I began with the more theatrical stuff – the cartoon print romper suits and harlequin dresses. Then after a while it occured to me that, while I loved wearing those outfits on stage and on nights out, during the day I was still wearing vintage dresses from charity shops, so I thought, what if I could make the perfect vintage dress? The one that I was always looking for in the charity shops but could never find…

dig for victory vintage inspired dresses

I love the fabric cupboard section of your website! How do you manage to find such amazing fabrics in such quantities? What’s the best batch you ever found?

I think I’m just very lucky with the fabrics. I tend to meet people selling vintage fabric at markets and car boot sales and I get very excited and tell them about Dig For Victory and they say, ‘well… I actually have a whole warehouse/garage/attik full of this stuff’, and I go round and find the most amazing things. Just this weekend I met a lovely man in Brighton who had 8 rolls of original 1950’s silk taffeta, in olive greens and golds, still on the roll, that has somehow survived for 50 years unblemished. I’m very excited and also a bit nervous to start sewing with that. The stuff on the website is only a fraction of all the fabric I’ve collected over the years so come and visit my studio in Brighton if you want to see more!

dig for victory vintage inspired dresses

What are your plans for the future? what do you hope to be/do in ten years time?

I’m currently looking for a shop/studio space in Brighton where I can work but also where I can be open to the public, so people can come in and browse and try the dresses on but also see how they’re made and make custom orders. The internet is an amazing thing for small businesses, particularly sites like etsy and dawanda, but there’s also nothing quite like going into a boutique and feeling the ambience and trying the clothes on in person, and so I don’t know whether in ten years I want to have my own shop in Brighton or be living in a little cottage somewhere beautiful and just selling online!

dig for victory vintage inspired dresses

What are your current favourite independent designers, etsy sellers, artists or craftspeople etc?

There are some amazing artists and print makers on etsy, I particularly love the animal illustrations by ‘spinster summer’ on etsy and the ‘Being and Tim’ cartoons by Rebecca Dyer (http://www.beingandtim.com/). I would love to collarborate with an artist and have fabric printed up with illustrations like these for a special collection one day. My mum also makes really cool jewellery from recycled childrens toys – wooden jigsaw puzzles and dominoes – and I am trying to get her to set up an etsy shop but she is a technophobe!

Bobby mcgee

This has got nothing to do with the dresses, but I see from your etsy profile that you are in a band. I thought this might be a good opportunity for you to plug them as well!

I think I already plugged my band a little! But we’re great – check out our myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thebobbymcgees

Dig for Victory is UK-based, and as well as the etsy shop, there’s a website, which charges in pounds sterling and has a larger selection of styles, including some fun contemporary party dresses and romper suits. But it’s really the prom dresses that do it for me. I’m almost decided I’m going to get one, probably for my birthday in June, but I love all the shapes, I can’t actually decide which one I want most!

Which is your favourite?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sal 6 April 2010, 4:37 pm

    I'm in LOVE with those dresses. Thanks for the tip, Franca, and for the great interview!

  • Helen 6 April 2010, 5:00 pm

    wow i love them all! if i ever need a posh dress for a wedding or something i'll be sure to visit this website. lovely.

    re: the pill – i think that's why my skin's been so bad because i've just come off the pill after about 4 years. think i'll go back to the drs to see what they recommend though.

  • Make Do Style 6 April 2010, 5:47 pm

    Lovely dresses and so near me too! I love trip to Brighton, hope she finds a shop soon.

  • Kathryn 6 April 2010, 8:40 pm

    Lovely and inspirational as always. I just gave you an award over the thriftyschoolmarm.blogspot.com!

  • Joanna 6 April 2010, 9:08 pm

    I bought the first Dig for Victory dress on Etsy and promply went back for a second. I can highly recommend Eleanor and her designs…her dresses are beautifully made.

  • La Historiadora de Moda 7 April 2010, 2:21 am

    Those are some amazing dresses! The first one just takes my breath away!

  • Veronica Darling... 7 April 2010, 6:15 am

    This sounds like exactly where I'd like to be in 5 years! Vintage style and vintage fabrics. I adore it.

    Thanks babes for the linky dink!

  • Retro Chick 7 April 2010, 7:39 am

    Ah, those are my dream dresses!

    I am bookmarking that!

  • Andi B. Goode 7 April 2010, 7:43 am

    Wow, these are amazing! Thanks for sharing. =D
    -Andi x

  • sanjeet 7 April 2010, 10:11 am

    Thanks for the tip, Franca, and for the great interview!
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  • eva 8 April 2010, 7:47 pm

    i want to get one of each dress to wear every hour of the day! stunning!

    thanks for the great interview and inspiring pictures!

  • J E S S U 8 April 2010, 9:21 pm

    Love the royal blue one at the top!


  • simplysi 9 April 2010, 10:28 am

    I am the very proud owner of two of those frocks, and they are beautiful.

  • M 9 April 2010, 3:39 pm

    so many beautiful dresses, I recently got a really flirty full skirted beauty in a chocolate print that fit right in with a few trends for spring just changing the zipper and will wear it soon! exited!

  • Midnight Cowgirl 9 April 2010, 5:00 pm

    I love the dresses! They've been on my wish list for a while.

  • Kemi 15 April 2010, 11:23 pm

    These dresses are lovely!