Gertie’s Tiki Dress

By on June 18, 2013

I’m back with another sweetheart sundress from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing! This time it’s the tiki variation I made from some Marc Jacobs flowered cotton from my stash. This fabric was meant to be a tiki dress! I did another shirred back, because I’m obsessed now, and I draped a faux sarong piece that goes on top of the pencil skirt. I LOVE IT!

Read more on my blog ErikaMadeIt





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Dresses | Jumbo Ric Rac

Umbrella Sweetheart Sundress

By on June 10, 2013


I have another finished project from Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing, it’s the sweetheart sundress made up in this adorable umbrella print cotton.  I also did a shirred back, a vintage detail that I am now obsessed with, it gives the bodice such a snug feeling. I also added one of my favorite things Ric Rac, two rows of it at the hem. It’s a navy and white striped Ric Rac, what could be better?


For more details head on over to my blog : ErikaMadeIt



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Gertie’s shirtwaist dress

By on April 6, 2013

This is my first make from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, which I bought as soon as it was out but had yet to make anything from. I used a red cotton with a woven check pattern. For anyone considering making this but worried about fabric quantities, I got this out of 2.1m of 60″ wide when the requirements say 3m! The only pieces I missed out were the back yoke lining (I cut a small neck facing instead) and the pockets, which could easily be made from a different fabric anyway. So in all I would think you could easily get it out of 2.5m or less.



The only alteration I made was to the shoulder width. I took the excess off the back shoulder edge only, then gathered the front in to match it, creating an extra gathered detail at the shoulders.

I used little black buttons with a swirl pattern. I bought a ton of these in two sizes I love them that much! It can be hard to find new buttons with a vintage appropriate look sometimes.

All in all I love this dress, and will definitely make it again. It was quite quick and easy to put together and comfy to wear all day.

Hats off to my not yet three-year-old for taking the photos.


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1960s | Dresses | Mad Men Inspired

Mad Men Challenge – My Joan Dress

By on April 4, 2013

My Mad Men dress for the Mad Men Challenge. I had to copy Joan. Just about every episode I ogle something she has worn. I used the wiggle dress from Gertie’s Book and added arm flounces and drafted my own collar. I deviated from the original collar, making it a bit more mod, as I don’t have the strong bust to balance out the original collar (and, I will admit, couldn’t figure out how to get such ample ripples). I used Gertie’s suggested period construction by inserting a hand-picked zipper, sewing my hem by hand, and inserting the underarm gussets using a silk organza facing. The dolman sleeves, despite a couple rounds of fitting, still aren’t quite perfect over my strong shoulders. Check out my blog post for more details and photos.

Does anyone know how to get the ample ripples in the original dress?

Has anyone successfully fit tight dolman sleeves over strong square shoulders?

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Tattoo-print Sundress, Gertie-style

By on March 27, 2013

Hi again guys! I feel a bit spammy for the two posts within two days – sorry!

Here’s my version of Gertie’s 1950’s-inspired Sundress, in an Alexander Henry quilter’s cotton (I think its called ‘Tattoo’). I know her pattern’s arn’t strictly vintage, but the styling is pretty close. I’ve made four of her design so far and feel like i’m sewing my way through her book.
















 I love this pattern! Its super easy to sew once you’ve gotten the fit right (like all of her patterns). It also only took 3m of fabric!
















I made a couple of changes – tweaking the fit of the bodice  and adding in-seam pockets (complete details on the blog). If you’ve been contemplating making this one go for it, it looks much better in real life than in her book!

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1920s | Dresses

Candy Wrapper Dress

By on January 17, 2013

So inspired by the colours of the Clara Bow dress I went in search of the right colour fabric. Now problem is either it draped but wasn’t the right colour or the right colour but wrong pattern. So in the end I decided to use some cheap ‘silk’ haboutai and polycotton as this would act then as my ‘template’ I could later on make dresses in cotton out of, to the same pattern.

I used the portrait blouse pattern (from gertie’s ne book for better sewing) but changed the neck line and shortened it – as bottom half of the blouse would be my green fabric (so basically colour blocked it).

I made it first in polycotton to test out how it fitted. Then I started on the shiny material. Really should have underlined it coz it was so slippery and frayed a lot.

I then pleated the skirt and attached it to the lining…then folded the green band over and topstitched. Sewn up the skirt back and tacked closed where the zip would go.

Then I made green bias binding and finished the arms and hem. Inserted zip.

Made a matching headscarf and I was done. Took me about a week to sew entirely by hand. But I was working to a deadline.

As there was a retro dance approaching and I wanted my 20’s-ish dress to be ready for then.

For more info and pics see my blog.


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1940s | 1950s | Dresses

Gertie’s Sultry Sundress

By on January 1, 2013

While not true vintage or retro, I think Gertie’s patterns from ‘Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing’ are so close that most people wouldn’t know!

So here is my inspiration (a late 1940’s sundress)…















And here is my version!

Not sure why my dress looks so creased, as its not in real life!

I did a couple of different mods (like using a box pleat instead of a gathered dirndl) and changing the neckline a little bit. I whipped up a matching belt last night as well, and forgot to photograph it of course. Full details on the mods at my blog here.

Really happy with the result (this is the third pattern of her’s i’ve made, and they’re all good). Definitely recommend her book if you havent got it already!

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