Familiar Faces at The Summer of Vintage Festival

Vintage Gal - yellow school bus

At last I’ve finally got around to putting together my promised post about the main reason we headed up to Derbyshire, The Summer of Vintage Festival. This fantastic annual festival at Uttoxeter racecourse is put together by the gorgeous Gemma Miller, the brains behind The Vintage Suitcase.

I really wanted to go last year but didn’t get myself organised in time, but I was absolutely determined to make it there in 2016. Gemma was one of the first vintage types that I met on Twitter, so had spent a few years getting envious of photos from her events. (She organises others throughout the year, but the summer one is the big one!). I also got to know several of her friends through social media and, of course, they always attended. So I was well aware I would bump into one or two familiar faces when I finally went.

Kitty Lou Vintage

The first, and possibly the one I was most excited about, was the fabulous Kitty from Kitty Lou Vintage. Kitty is an amazing seamstress and produces incredible bespoke garments for her many enthusiastic customers, all taken from original vintage patterns. She’s also a big lover of the 1930s, so a lady after my own heart. We have mutual admiration and respect for each other’s work. I absolutely love what she does and it’s fantastic to see someone so talented doing something like this and making a real success of it. She’s always incredibly busy and I do know she’s already booked up throughout 2016 and the first four months of 2017!

On the day we had a long chat about sewing, clothes, fabrics, how we learnt etc etc and it was so good to talk to someone as passionate as I am about it all. She’s also really, really lovely! We’ve already chatted online since the festival and I’m so glad we finally got to meet in person.

1930s sewing patterns

Kitty was obviously advertising what she does at the show and she also had a small selection of vintage sewing patterns and haberdashery bits on sale. Of course, it would’ve been impolite not to have a look at them whilst I was there and it’ll come as no surprise to you all that I did end up buying some!

The Home Chat magazine is from October 1930, a year I find really interesting as it’s that move away from the typical Flapper look but hasn’t quite got to the classic mid 1930s style. This miraculously still has the original pattern of the dress tucked inside it! It’s absolutely stunning and I am already visualising it in dark blue (not quite navy) crepe-de-chine and emerald green.

The one on the bottom left was also from Kitty and is a beautifully classic suit, which can be made either for the summer or winter. This one is going to take a little bit more planning before I decide what fabrics to use.

The other two patterns were from another seller and I really wish I’d got her name because she had one serious stash. The one on the top left is unbelievably elegant and I already know I want to make it in a purple textured crepe with highlights in grey. The chemise from 1939 (top right) is cut on the bias and ticks two boxes for future sewing challenges, lingerie and bias cut as both terrify me.

Vintage Best Dressed - Kitty Lou Vintage design

This lovely lady is one of Kitty’s very satisfied customers. Doesn’t she look amazing in this gorgeous yellow and black 1940s two piece? The yellow actually looks more like luminous green in this photo but trust me it’s yellow! I love how she styled it, especially those amazing shoes!

Vintage Best Dressed - Essbdee

The lovely lady on the left in the photo above is Sarah, although I know her better as Essbdee on Instgram. She’s another fabulous vintage seamstress and makes the majority of her pieces from original vintage fabrics, and even the odd vintage duvet! She made the beautiful black dress she’s wearing here using a 1950s Vogue pattern and teamed it with emerald green Rocket Original shoes, a Laura Ashley handbag and a modern refashioned hat. I love the way she’s altered the direction of the fabric to give a real interest to the stripe pattern.

The equally lovely lady on the right is Kiki DeVille, probably best known in the non-vintage world as being a singer on The Voice. However, in the vintage world she’s better known as a Burlesque performer, both compering and singing. She compered the whole festival and also did a fabulous talk on how to brand and market yourself online. She was so down to earth and logical about it, whilst throwing in her classic Australian wit.

In the photo here she’s compering the end of day fashion show, and Sarah came third! (No, I didn’t enter. I’ve done it once before and absolutely hated it!)

Death by Deco

The stunning lady who came first, however, was Sam Swift, or as she’s better known on Instagram, Death by Deco. It’s not hard to see why. Seriously that outfit is incredible. Her dress is an original 1940s one from Jumblelaya on Etsy and the beautiful hat that goes just perfectly with it is from one of my favourite hat sellers, High Hat Couture. What you can’t see are her fabulous yellow suede Betty shoes from Miss L Fire. I sooooo want those shoes! I absolutely love my white ones but the yellow ones are just incredible.

Rachael from Vintage Life magazine

And I’m sure many of you recognise this gorgeous lady. Yes, it’s Rachel Egglestone-Evans, the Editor of Vintage Life Magazine! She had a prime spot just as you walked into the main shopping hall for anything 1960s – 1990s, so it was hard not to notice her. She was ever the professional when I asked to take her photo and instantly assumed the pinup stance. She’s clearly very used to it!

Lola Lamour

On stage was the incredibly enigmatic Lola Lamour, a face that many may recognise as she’s been in the vintage scene for years. I’ve often seen her pop up in modelling jobs over the years and I vaguely remember her modelling for The House of Foxy and Heyday! many moons ago. However, her focus now is truly on the singing and oh my word, she’s is amazing! This woman can seriously move and look totally elegant doing it. If you get a chance to see her, make sure you do.

The Pin Up Curl

The next familiar face was another friend of Gemma’s, Sarah Bloor, better known as the Pin Up Curl. Some of you may recognise her from the BBC Two hairstyling competition Hair. She was on site to provide hair makeovers for anyone who wanted a truly fab vintage updo. From what I saw she was very busy indeed! And on hand behind her was The Pin Up Academy to do your make up and you could have a professional photo taken to remember the occasion.

Vintage Gal & The Vintage Suitcase

And last but by certainly no means least is the lady herself, Miss Gemma Miller! When I first spotted her in the morning, just after the gates had opened, she looked really stressed. I felt so sorry for her, but seriously, it must be insane to organise something like this. I certainly wouldn’t want to do it, so hats off to her. When I bumped into her later she’d managed to change and reapply her lippy and was much calmer. Bless her!

Of course, I couldn’t leave without having a quick photo taken of the two of us together. Doesn’t she look fab? That’s yet another of Kitty’s masterpieces! It really, really suits Gemma, it’s the absolutely perfect colour for her.

I had a truly amazing time at the Summer of Vintage Festival. It was so great to meet so many people I’d either become friends with or followed on social media. Everyone was just so lovely and friendly.

The shopping was awesome and there were more familiar faces amongst some of the sellers. The ever-knowledgeable Vintage Keeley was selling both mid-century and early 20th Century homewares, as well as a large range of vintage clothes. I bought the most gorgeous mustard yellow 1940s handbag from her, which I’m sure will make an appearance on her soon. Miss Bamboo was directly opposite and I totally fell in love with her own brand range. Each piece is made in a vintage style rayon and looks really authentic. I have to say the photos on the website doesn’t do them justice so if you spot her at event go and have a look.

If you’d like to see more of what I found at the Summer of Vintage Festival why not check out my report on The Vintage News. There’s tons more photos on there, especially some of the fabulous pieces that I didn’t buy! 🙂


Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. I find lingerie to be one of my favorite things to work on. You can make it crazy over the top, or plain-jane. You can work with fabrics you’re not used to working with (silk chiffon, I’m looking at you! with honorable mention to cotton jersey), or stick to standards. But! No matter how it turns out, you’re the only one that HAS to see it, as it’ll always be underclothing. 🙂

    But the fair sounds like a lot of fun! I should get around to doing more things like that — although my wallet would not love me doing that! 😛

    • I’m sure I’ll be fine once I get started, it’s just getting started that terrifies me. I do like the thought process of you’re the only one that HAS to see it, I hadn’t thought of that before!

  2. It looks like it was a lot of fun! So many pretty things and people. I especially love your yellow dress!

  3. I would love to visit something like this, I know I would spend hours browsing the stuff for sale. I love your dress and I’m so sad that I don’t sew after seeing those fabulous patterns; it looks like a really fun day out.

    • It was a really great day Dawn and yes, the shopping was so amazing. I spent a fortune but could’ve spent much, much more. It’s always hard saying no to such beautiful and rare pieces but sometimes you’ve just got to be strict with yourself! 🙂 xx

  4. That looks like a really super day. I love Kitty Lou’s stuff – if she had any fatgirl 1960s patterns I’d commission her in an instant. I love the way when you buy patterns you already have ideas of the colours and fabrics you want to use. Very focussed!

    (And now I have new IGers to follow…)

    • She’s fab, isn’t she? You should have a look through her 1950s & 60s pattern section on Facebook as there’s quite a few 60s patterns in there. If there isn’t one that doesn’t quite fit you I’m sure she’d be up for having a chat.
      Yes, whenever I buy a sewing patten my mind goes into fabric hyperdrive! xx

  5. oh my all those lovely outfits. Gorgeous! This sounded like a fantastic event, thanks so much for sharing it with us 🙂

    • Doesn’t everyone look amazing? It was so fun to see so many vintage lovers all dressed up in their finest regalia. xx

    • Oh you should go to one, it was fabulous! I’ve been coveting all the photos of everyone’s visit to Twinwood over the weekend and I think I may have to plan a trip there next year. xx

  6. I lapped up every word – and lovely photo – of this delightful post. Soooo many of these beautiful folks are indeed familiar (through the web) faces and it was a joy to see them all, meet a couple of new people, and put faces to a couple of others whose names I’d heard, but who I hadn’t seen snaps of before.

    It’s so sweet and lovely of you to link to each of them and to share so many of the highlights from this super fun event with us.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

    • It was so lovely to meet so many people I’d only ever talked to online, and all in one place too! I love that blogging has allowed me to connect with so many like-minded people and eventually meet them in person. xx

  7. What a fantastic event! I really must get out ang go to some of the incredible vintage events. Everyone’s outfits look amazing!!

    • Oh, you should, I know you’d love it! Twinwood looked amazing over the weekend, so many familiar faces were popping up in everyone’s photos on IG. I must consider going there next year. xx

  8. This looks like an amazing event – I must try to get to it next year. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with your new patterns!

    • Oh yes, you should. It’s such a fun day and the shopping is die for! You would’ve loved the lady’s stall that I bought two of the patterns from. She had a huge amount of vintage patterns all separated into the different eras, as well as vintage fabrics and haberdashery bits and pieces. xx

  9. What a lovely event! I would have loved to browse there. As far as I know, there isn’t anything like it here in Belgium. xxx

    • Oh, that’s a shame Ann. There’s loads of events in the UK, especially in the summer. It often seems like there’s one on every weekend, looking at everyone’s photos on social media. My last one of the year will be in October and it’s a vintage textiles event which I’m, of course, saving lots of pennies for. xx

  10. Wow! It must great meeting al those people and attending such a lovely event!!

  11. It seems that anyone who’s anyone was there!! What a fab looking day out. You look gorgeous in that frock Cate, lovely for you to have another suitable occasion to wear it. xx

    • Yes, I love to make sure I wear my vintage pieces. I’m not the type to just buy or make something and wear it just once, although it did seem weird featuring it on the blog again. xx

  12. You look fabulous Miss Cate i like your dressing and your choice. you are beautifull but if you more dresses like 1940,1950,1970 so you should come here .. seriouslly you are awesome miss cate 🙂 i am feeling happy to post comment on your post 🙂 <3

  13. It was lovely to see all these photos. I’m so sad that I couldn’t make it as it looks like loads of fun and it would have been fab to meet up. I do like seeing Kitty Lou’s creations, she makes lovely outfits. I went to a vintage choir workshop with Kiki Deville a few years ago, she was great and what a stunning voice!

    • It would’ve been so fab if I’d met up with you too, that would’ve been the icing and the cherry on of the cake! Wow, a vintage choir workshop, that sounds intriguing. xx

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