Sewing Through Gertie’s New Book

by SeamstressErin on February 22, 2013 · 6 comments

in 1940s,1950s,Blouses,Dresses,Shirts

I’ve been having a fun time sewing my way through Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, and enjoying the vintage flair it’s adding to my wardrobe. I’ve found the construction fairly simple, although not suited to the absolute beginner. Her suggestions for vintage construction techniques are a great resource for knowing how to make true-to-period pieces, although you may want to look elsewhere for detailed technical instructions if said techniques are new to you.

I started with her basic high-waisted pencil skirt pattern to sew my autumnal wool pencil skirt. I followed all of her suggested construction techniques including boning the waistband and hand-picking the zipper. I’m madly in love with that skirt! I took the same pattern and added scallops to bottom and top to make my red scalloped pencil skirt. I’m wearing it with theĀ bow-neck-blouse, which I also quite like, although I futzed with the collar quite a bit to keep it from choking me. Finally, I’ve made the shirtwaist dress. Although there are several changes I want to make for the next time, I’m happy with the result. I’ll definitely continue to sew my way through book, so there will be more to come.

One of the best parts of the book, in my opinion, is how she has sized her patterns. She’s based them on her body type – an unassuming bust and noticeable hips – which is perfect for me. I’ve found that I need to do only minor modifications to make the patterns fit me well (other than adding on quite a bit of length, but I have to do that with everything). If you are busty, you will probably need to make full-bust-adjustments, and if you don’t have a rear, you’ll need to cut down on some of the shaping.

I’m always happy to share more opinions, so feel free to ask. I have tutorials planned for some of the construction techniques used on these pieces, so keep an eye on if you’re interested. Hearts! -e

This post was written by...

– who has written 5 posts on

SeamstressErin sews, knits, crafts, quilts, does needlework. She aspires to inspire and instruct on her blog at Drawing on influences modern and vintage, elegant and funky, not even she can predict what she will make next.

SeamstressErin's posts / SeamstressErin's website

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

A.J.A. February 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Such pretty garments! I love the first pencil skirt, and the red one with scallops was such a neat idea!


Sheila in Brussels February 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I’m so bad at leaving feedback!!! but I have to say that you have done a fabulous job!!!!!! AS ALWAYS!


Konstanze February 24, 2013 at 4:01 am

This is amazing! You did a great job. I LOVE the dress!


Gillian February 24, 2013 at 6:55 am

Wow love these well done, I’m just doing Gerties Shirtwaist dress now, yours looks fantastic I can’t wait to finish mine now too. My first time at bound buttonholes.


Katherine February 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Great photos :) I particularly like the shirtwaist.


ConstantlyAlice February 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

Amazing! I have this book as well and can’t wait to start on some of the patterns. LOVE the red skirt!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: